Although the hip is one of the body’s most rugged and durable joints, capable of withstanding repetitive motion for many, many years, it is not immune to the effects of trauma, disease and/or chronic overuse, making it highly likely that most adults will experience hip pain at some point in their lives. Conditions such as a pinched nerve, infection, or cancer can certainly lead to hip pain, as can traumatic injuries resulting in fractures and sprains, but one of the most common causes of chronic hip pain is the result of a natural degenerative process called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the wearing down of the cartilage between our bones. It can affect anyone, but certain factors increase an individual’s risk of it such as being older, female, overweight, and/or having bone deformities or certain diseases. Furthermore, osteoarthritis has been shown to run in families, with repeated stress or injury to a joint further increasing any person’s overall risk.
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Treating chronic hip pain has historically ended in hip replacement surgery, usually, after a series of less invasive treatments including medication, rest and physical therapy have failed to offer a significant amount of relief. Today, however, more and more patients are turning to natural alternatives to hip replacement. Indeed, as research continues to provide evidence for the restorative impact of stem cells, regenerative medicine has been thrown into the forefront of viable options for treating chronic hip pain. This minimally invasive alternative to hip replacement surgery provides a host of benefits when compared to the traditional surgical approach.
How Regenerative Medicine Offers Natural Alternatives to Hip Replacement
Regenerative medicine is a branch of medical science that explores the processes by which cells and tissues can be repaired, replaced, or regrown. Here at ThriveMD, we use regenerative medicine to treat hip pain in two ways:
- Stem Cell Therapy — Stem cells are the body’s way of creating new cells. They mostly exist in embryos to help guide initial cellular development, but some also remain in adult bodies in order to help repair and replenish tissue that becomes damaged in some way. Regenerative medicine is a way of harvesting and using these stem cells. When being used to treat hip degeneration, stem cells are taken from the patient’s own body, usually via needle draws from fat tissue in the abdomen and bone marrow in the pelvis. Once removed from the patient, these stem cells are combined with platelet-rich plasma (made with blood also drawn from the patient’s own body) and injected into the damaged area of the patient’s hip. Research shows that this stem cell aspirate has the capacity to stimulate the regeneration of cells, thus helping to correct the effects of deterioration and disease within the hip and providing a natural alternative to hip replacement surgery.
- PRP Therapy — PRP or platelet-rich plasma is another regenerative (read: “natural alternative”) treatment option. Although not used singularly to treat chronic hip disease, PRP can be used in conjunction with stem cell therapy to help reduce inflammation and maximize pain relief. Its concentration of platelets, including proteins, cytokines, and growth factors, has the potential to stimulate improved cellular repair and healing when combined with stem cells and/or administered as a follow-up procedure to stem cell therapy.
The Benefits of Natural Alternatives to Hip Replacements
Regenerative treatment approaches like stem cell therapy and any accompanying PRP injections mean many patients can forgo some of the risks and drawbacks associated with invasive surgery, including infection, extended hospital stays and prolonged rehabilitation. Read more about our medical director, Dr. Scott Brandt, and his experience here and then contact our office for a free consultation to see if a natural alternative to hip replacement might work for you.