What is Regenerative Medicine and How Could it Help to Heal Injuries And Relieve Pain?
You’ve probably heard about regenerative medicine before, but how does it work? Can it help relieve joint pain or heal injuries? Regenerative medicine is a growing field of medical techniques that help our bodies to heal themselves.
Can Regenerative Medicine Replace Organs and Rebuild Joints?
The field of medical transplants is undergoing a revolution through regenerative techniques. “Lab grown” organs are no longer science fiction. You may also hear the term “tissue engineering.” Both of these terms refer to biomedical techniques that use 3-D printing or similar technologies to build or grow new organs using a person’s own cells.
Using an individual’s own cells to grow new organs eliminates problems of organ rejection. These medical technologies are all still experimental, but some patients have received new bladders that have been grown from their own cells. The one regenerative “lab grown” tissue technique which is more common is skin replacement, especially in the case of burns.
Some scientists known as “tissue engineers” have been working on replacing cartilage with a biological gel that hastens healing of microfractures and cartilage degeneration due to arthritis. The bio gel has a 50% success rate in sports injuries, but so far, hasn’t helped people with osteoarthritis.
Are PRP and Stem Cell Therapy Types of Regenerative Medicine?
Yes, two types of regenerative medicine you may have heard of, PRP and stem cell therapy, are current forms of regenerative medicine that may benefit a variety of injuries and chronic health conditions. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is a technique that isolates plasma from your own blood and concentrates the platelets in it.
The concentrate is injected into injured or painful joints. Pro athletes have used PRP therapy in the hope that it could improve the healing process after injuries. Conditions that have shown benefit from PRP include tendon injuries, acute injuries, post-surgical repair (including rotator cuff and ACL surgeries), osteoarthritis, and even hair loss. PRP injections have shown some positive results in men with male pattern baldness.
A second emerging type of regenerative medicine that promotes healing through the body’s own cells is stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy uses our body’s adult stem cells to help improve immune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Athletes have used stem cell therapy in the hope that it may strengthen healing in injured joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have used stem cell therapy in the hope that it may relieve chronic pain and restore range of motion in damaged joints. Research is underway at Johns Hopkins University and other medical facilities worldwide on how adult stem cells help to ease joint pain and tissue destruction resulting from RA and other degenerative immune disorders.
Regenerative medicine takes a body-centered approach to healing. We offer a holistic suite of treatments for chronic pain, back pain, sports injuries, and other conditions at BackFit Health and Spine. Please contact us at BackFit for a complimentary assessment where we will be glad to explain more to you about PRP and stem cell therapy, two options that we offer through our practice that may contribute to your health.