Joint pain is notoriously hard to treat and manage. Depending on what is causing your pain, the discomfort can range from mild to debilitating. While there are various treatment options for chronic joint pain, they are not always effective. When joint pain becomes unbearable and unmanageable for patients, they often resort to finding a better way to treat their joint pain.
At Midwest Regenerative Health and Pain Clinic, we use regenerative medicine to help people’s bodies heal themselves in a process called stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is a groundbreaking treatment option for many different ailments, including many joint conditions such as arthritis.
What Are the Causes of Joint Pain?
Before treating joint pain, it is important to know what causes it. Joint pain is most commonly associated with arthritis. There are three types of arthritis: rheumatoid, psoriatic, and osteoarthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation in the joints as well as in other areas of the body. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may eventually experience bone erosion and joint deformity.
- Psoriatic arthritis occurs in patients who have psoriasis, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage between the bones and joints wear down. This type of arthritis is associated with aging.
In addition to arthritis, you may experience joint pain from another chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, or other injuries.
While these conditions are often associated with joint pain, they are not necessarily the cause. Instead, joint pain is a symptom or side effect of most of these conditions. The root cause of joint pain is inflammation, which is often caused by a chronic joint disorder. Visible signs of inflammation include swelling and redness. However, when you feel pain in a joint, it is likely due to inflammation of the tissue, cartilage, and ligaments surrounding the joint.
What Are Traditional Treatments for Joint Pain?
Joint pain is often chronic, especially when associated with a condition like arthritis. Although there is no cure for conditions like this one, there are various treatment options that can help reduce pain and manage symptoms. Let’s first take a look at some of the traditional treatment options for joint pain.
Joint pain and inflammation are typically treated by anti-inflammatory medications, whether they are prescription drugs or over the counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. Patients with mild pain may find relief from acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. However, these medications aren’t always effective.
In severe cases of joint pain, doctors may prescribe opioid medications. However, these medications are highly addictive, so patients must be careful when taking these drugs. Patients can also receive steroid injections if they do not feel relief from medications.
Physical therapy is another traditional treatment option that can help limit joint pain by strengthening the muscles around the affected joint and improving your range of motion. Particular exercises and stretches can help relieve stress on the painful joint. Joint pain can also occur in people who are overweight because the excess weight puts stress on the joint. Physical therapy can help reduce this pain.
Other Treatment Options
Many people will find at-home remedies that allow them to manage their pain better. R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is a common practice for sprains, but these treatments can also help if you are experiencing joint pain. Braces and wraps can help support the affected area will adding pressure to help alleviate inflammation. While ice is well known for reducing swelling, heating pads can help reduce joint pain, as well.
While medications, physical therapy, and at-home remedies can help treat joint pain, many people continue to suffer from severe discomfort, stiffness, and inflammation. For this reason, more and more people are turning to regenerative therapies to help aid chronic joint pain.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that can provide long-lasting pain relief without surgery. Unlike surgery, stem cell therapy is an outpatient procedure, and patients usually come in for at least three separate treatments.
Various types of stem cells can be used for stem cell therapy. Adult stem cells are found in the body’s bone marrow or fat cells. Embryonic stem cells are donor cells that can also be used, although this practice is still controversial.
The first step of stem cell therapy starts with the removal of bone marrow or fat from the patient. These tissues contain adult stem cells, which are removed and taken to a lab. Researchers use these cells to grow stem cells in a lab. These stem cells can be made to transform into specific types of cells, such as nerve cells or blood cells. The unique ability to transform into other cells allows stem cells to be used all over the body.
The stem cells are then injected into the affected area and activated to become healthy new cells within the body. Stem cells turn into the exact cells that the patient’s body needs, which makes them useful in healing a number of different injuries and conditions.
Researchers and doctors believe that stem cell therapy could be the next step in treating injuries and organ transplantation.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Relieve Joint Pain?
Stem cell therapy has been used to treat various chronic pain conditions, including those associated with joint pain. In the case of joint pain, stem cells are injected directly into the affected joint. The stem cells work to rebuild and replace damaged tissue or tissue that has deteriorated, which reduces inflammation and, in turn, pain in the joint. Stem cell therapy can treat pain in the knees, hips, wrists, ankles, shoulders, and elbows.
Stem cell therapy has also shown promising results for halting the progression of arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Right for You?
Whether you are battling a chronic condition or an acute injury, stem cell therapy can help your body naturally heal itself. For this reason, stem cell therapy is appropriate for everyone, from athletes to seniors.
For those who have chronic conditions such as arthritis, stem cell therapy can help repair the damaged cartilage in the joint to prevent further deterioration and restore some movement within the joint. Not only does this allow for a better quality of life, but it also eliminates pain and stiffness.
Unfortunately, if a patient has already experienced a severe loss of cartilage, which often leads to bone erosion, it is highly unlikely that stem cell therapy can create a whole new joint. However, these patients can still experience pain relief and improved function.
In addition to helping manage joint injuries, stem cell therapy can also help a patient’s own body heal muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Risky?
Fortunately, there have not been any major adverse effects reported by patients who have undergone stem cell therapy. The majority of the risks that arise in stem cell therapy are associated with the harvesting of the stem cells. The risk of infection is the primary concern for doctors. After the harvesting process, there is minimal risk for the patient.
Stem cell therapy is still being researched to know and understand its full capabilities when it comes to treating chronic pain. Because it is a new form of medicine, there are risks associated with stem cell therapy. However, it is less risky than surgery and doesn’t have the harmful side effects that many medications do.
Stem Cell Therapy at MRHPC
At Midwest Regenerative Health and Pain Clinic, we see many patients for joint pain. If you are experiencing any level of pain, our team of pain management experts can formulate a treatment plan that is unique for you.
Your first appointment with our team will be a consultation to discuss where your pain is and the level of pain you are experiencing. You will go over your medical history with one of our physicians, and they will perform a physical exam. After each treatment, we will evaluate your pain and recovery progress so that we can ensure your regenerative treatment plan is truly unique to your needs.
For any questions or to schedule a consultation, call us today at 913-745-5300.