When you live a healthy lifestyle, and partially thanks to heredity, all the parts of your body work together seamlessly to serve you well over the course of your lifetime. Your joints provide you with a wide range of motion and mobility so you can play sports, dance, or simply climb in and out of your car without a second thought. But, joints aren’t built to last forever, and for many baby boomers, age-related wear-and-tear means now that you’ve entered your retirement years and are looking forward to an easygoing lifestyle, you’re suffering from joint pain.
If you live with age-related joint pain, conservative treatment measures may help, but they don’t always address the underlying causes of your pain. Fortunately, revolutionary advances in medicine offer minimally invasive treatments for men and women who aren’t getting long-term relief from more conservative options, and aren’t ready for surgery.
Here at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates in Daly City, California, the team of highly trained orthopedists and sports medicine doctors offer regenerative medicine treatments for joint pain. Learn why platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapies — two revolutionary (and surprisingly simple) regenerative medicine treatments — are a boon for baby boomers with aging joints.
Regenerative medicine treats age-related joint pain
Regenerative medicine solutions for age-related joint pain, including PRP therapy and stem cell injections, help speed up your body’s innate ability to repair damaged tissue. When tissues within a joint become irritated or damaged after years of repetitive motion, or simply wear-and-tear, your body’s natural tissue repair cycle begins with an inflammatory response. As inflammation intensifies, your body then recruits special corrective cells that release enzymes and growth factors so they can actively repair tissue damage.
At the end of this natural tissue repair cycle, the enzymes and growth factors work together to trigger new collagen and elastin production for the formation of healthy, undamaged tissue. PRP therapy and stem cell injections foster your body’s innate ability to repair damaged tissue, therefore providing you with an effective, minimally invasive way to relieve joint pain at the source. This could mean long-term relief from pain and increased mobility without the need for invasive surgeries.
How PRP injections help repair joints and relieve pain
Within your blood you have small, solid components, some of which are platelets. Your platelets contain powerful growth factors and other bioactive proteins that function as a crucial part of the clotting process when you cut yourself. These same platelets also encourage cellular repair and rapid tissue regeneration.
Your blood platelets contain hundreds of beneficial growth factors that actively stimulate the release of stem cells from blood vessel walls, helping to speed up the tissue repair cycle considerably. To harness the healing potential of this platelet-rich plasma, we start by drawing a small amount of your blood. Next, it goes into a centrifuge where it spins at a high speed, allowing us to isolate and concentrate the platelets.
These protein-rich platelets get remixed with a tiny amount of your plasma to make an injectable serum. This serum, called PRP, has up to 10 times as many growth factors as what you’d find in the same amount of normal, circulating blood.
During treatment, your doctor carefully injects the PRP into the damaged or worn out areas of your joint. Upon receiving the injections, growth factors and bioactive proteins immediately encourage the release of stem cells to stimulate rapid tissue regeneration and healing within your joint.
Like steroid injections, PRP injections also help reduce joint inflammation for fast pain relief. But whereas the effects of a steroid injection eventually wear off, PRP continues to stimulate rapid repair and renewal at the cellular level so you get more effective, longer-lasting pain relief in the treated joint.
How stem cell therapy works
Stem cells are found in many different types of body tissue and are generally responsible for maintaining the health of that particular tissue. However, what makes stem cells so unique is that they can transform into virtually any type of cell and carry out an incredibly vast range of repair functions whenever and wherever they’re needed.\
For example, if you sustain an injury or trauma your stem cells “wake up” and head straight to the affected area. There they transform into the exact same type of cell that’s been damaged so they can begin healing your body, essentially accelerating the whole process of recovery.
When injected into an arthritic joint, stem cells transform themselves into much-needed cartilage cells and prompt the formation of new cartilage tissue. This is good news for baby boomers who suffer from joint pain because it means your body can grow newer, more youthful cartilage cells where old ones have deteriorated.
Just like with PRP injections, stem cell therapy also involves injecting a high concentration of cells into a deteriorating joint. Your regenerative medicine specialist at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates harvests adult stem cells from your own bone or adipose (fat) tissue so they can be injected into a damaged joint. Like PRP, stem cell injections also help reduce inflammation, promote rapid tissue regeneration, and foster long-term healing.
In the days and weeks following stem cell therapy, the newly injected cells harness your body’s internal corrective mechanisms to soothe and repair your joint. As these versatile cells continue to work within the treated joint, you can expect to experience less pain, improved range of motion, and increased mobility.
If you’re ready to learn more about how PRP or stem cell therapy can relieve pain in your aging joints, our regenerative medicine experts can help. Call our Daly City, California office today, or use the easy online booking tool to schedule an appointment.