You wake to achy knees every day, or you’re struggling to move around because of hip arthritis. Joint pain is incredibly common in the United States — more than 92 million people have doctor-diagnosed arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms.
Arthritis is a catchall term for more than 100 different diseases that lead to joint pain and inflammation, and it’s the most common culprit behind joint pain, especially as you get older. Historically, the problem with arthritis is that there’s no cure, which leaves two options: managing the problem and slowing its progress.
Luckily, regenerative medicine excels in both areas, which is why Dr. Moisés Irizarry-Román and the team at No Mercy Sports Medicine are pleased to offer this innovative approach to joint health. Here’s a look at the incredibly valuable role that regenerative medicine can play in preserving your ability to move without pain.
The primary driver of poor joint health
While there are more than 100 different diseases that qualify as arthritis, we’re going to focus here on the most common one — osteoarthritis (OA).
Also called degenerative arthritis or wear-and-tear arthritis, OA occurs when cartilage inside your joint begins to deteriorate, leaving your bones to rub together without protection. Osteoarthritis often strikes as you get older, which makes sense given that the wear-and-tear on your joints begins to add up.
The primary reason OA is labeled as a degenerative disease is that your cartilage doesn’t readily repair itself. This is because it lacks vasculature, meaning it doesn’t have access to the resources it needs to rebuild.
As a result, your treatment options have often boiled down to either managing the pain and inflammation with injections or oral medications or replacing the joint entirely if the arthritis has caused too much damage within the joint.
Enter regenerative medicine
The reason the medical community is so excited about regenerative medicine is that this approach to joint health helps to rebuild your damaged tissue by supplying the necessary resources. At No Mercy Sports Medicine, we offer regenerative medicine services via two treatments:
Stem cell use in therapy
The stem cells in your body are referred to as undifferentiated cells, which means they aren’t devoted to one function. Instead, these cells have the incredible ability to transform into other cells and then continue to multiply as that cell. In fact, stem cells are the building blocks upon which all other cells are formed.
Through the use of stem cells, we use your own body’s elements to redirect them into your damaged tissues, where they can transform into the cells needed to restore your joint health.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
Another regenerative treatment for your joints is PRP therapy, which relies on the platelets found in your blood. The primary role of platelets is to clot your blood so you don’t bleed out, but its role in healing doesn’t end there. Platelets also release growth factors that trigger a healing response in your body that includes stem cells and anti-inflammatory agents.
With PRP therapy, we draw a sample of your blood and separate out the platelets with a centrifuge. We add a high concentration of platelets back to your plasma and then inject it into the joints that are giving you trouble.
Safe, natural healing
Not only do these two regenerative treatments supply your joints with critical healing agents, but they’re also incredibly safe because we’re using your body’s own resources.
Results when it comes to PRP and stem cells are gradual and take a little time — usually 6-8 weeks. And you may need a series of treatments, depending upon the extent of the damage in your joint. Your patience is rewarded, however, as the soft tissues in your joint become stronger and your inflammation subsides, allowing you to get back to pain-free movement.
If you want to get on the road to improved joint health through regenerative medicine, contact our office in Miami, Florida, to set up a consultation.