Every year millions of people around the world suffer with joint damage and its resulting pain. According the 2020 Global Pain Index Report, eight out of 10 people worldwide experience joint pain with approximately one third of them listing knee pain specifically as their primary concern. It’s a pressing global problem, one for which traditional treatments (such as pain medications, rest, physical reconditioning and surgery) have historically demanded much time (for the implementation of, as well as the recovery from these types of treatments) yet never fully eliminated the real issue: deterioration of joint tissue. The good news, however, is that ongoing research continues to provide more and more evidence for another type of treatment: regenerative therapy for knees. Here’s what you need to know:
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What is Regenerative Therapy for Knees?
Rather than treat the symptoms of joint damage and disease by prescribing treatments that chemically reduce inflammation; strive to strengthen surrounding muscles in order to stabilize the joint; and/or artificially replace the joint itself — regenerative therapy for knees can be used instead to actually rebuild joint tissue. Not only does regenerative therapy for knees help ease patients’ pain, studies show that it can help stimulate the growth of healthy knee joint tissue, restoring form and function from the inside out.
An Overview of the Process
At ThriveMD we use two types of regenerative therapies to treat degenerative knee conditions. Whether used singularly or in conjunction with one another, each has the potential to initiate cellular growth and repair, thereby easing patients’ pain and correcting underlying issues.
The first technique, called a “platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment,” utilizes components of a patient’s own blood (platelets) to create a concentrated (i.e., “platelet-rich”) solution that is then injected into the patient’s injured knee tissue. Platelets naturally release growth factors, proteins, anti-inflammatory molecules and other biologics that work to repair damaged cells by inhibiting inflammation, improving cell growth and supporting normal immune processes so that cells regenerate and grow into healthy tissue.
Stem cell therapy is another regenerative technique option. It combines stem cells taken from a patient’s own body (usually extracted from his or her fat stores and bone marrow) with a customized mixture of other biologics, which the physician then injects into the patient’s damaged knee. Stem cells are powerful cells capable of generating new cells regardless of their origin, and when applied to areas with cellular decay, they have been shown to initiate new cell growth of the damaged cells’ type. It’s a remarkable trait and part of a regenerative process that occurs as our bodies’ strive for homeostasis. Therefore, it’s safe, with the potential to eliminate pain as healthy cells replace damaged ones and normal functioning returns to the knee.
Recovery from Regenerative Therapy for Knees
Because PRP treatments and stem cell therapy are both minimally-invasive, the recovery from either type of procedure is significantly easier than many traditional treatment options, especially knee replacement surgery. At ThriveMD, both are performed in an office based procedure suite in as little as one to three hours. Patients walk out of our office unassisted to recuperate at home, with most returning to normal activities within a few days. Pain relief typically begins in as little as two weeks post procedure and can continue to improve for up to a year! Compared to extensive physical therapy regimens, drug protocols and the rehabilitation required by invasive surgery, regenerative therapy for knees is considerably less burdensome.
To Learn More
If you would like to learn more about regenerative therapy for knees and how it might work for your own unique knee issue, please contact our office. ThriveMD specializes in regenerative knee therapies and interventional pain management and can help you or a loved one navigate treatment options that have the best chance of restoring joint health and controlling (or even) eliminating pain.