Pain is a debilitating medical condition that can have a considerable impact on a person’s mental and physical well-being. At Living Well Balanced Holistic and Integrative Health Care, we offer a comprehensive range of services for people suffering from acute and chronic pain. We provide some of the most advanced treatment options for pain, including regenerative therapy injections. Our goal is to help you return to a pain-free, fully functional life, and do the things that are important to you.
One of the most common causes of pain, especially in older individuals, is osteoarthritis. It affects an estimated 30 million adults in the United States . This is a degenerative disease of the joints that occurs due to wear and tear over time. Most often, it affects the hands, hips, and knees. When a joint is affected by osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and there are changes in the bone as well. These changes occur gradually over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. Ultimately, it leads to reduced function and the affected person becomes disabled, unable to participate in activities of daily living, work, and hobbies.
There are several treatment options for osteoarthritis, each with its own pros and cons. Here’s a guide to the most commonly used treatments for osteoarthritis and how they compare to regenerative injections.
Lifestyle Remedies for Osteoarthritis
There is no cure for osteoarthritis (OA), and doctors treat this condition by addressing the symptoms it causes. A number of conservative measures are used to treat mild to moderate OA. These self-management therapies help to reduce pain and make life more comfortable. They manage the arthritis so that it has a minimal impact on your life. Conservative therapies for managing OA and its symptoms include:
- Physical exercise with low-impact activities such as bicycling, walking, swimming, and water aerobics. These activities have a low risk of injury. It is a good idea to participate in a supervised physical activity program to ensure you are exercising safely with arthritis. Gentle exercises such as Tai-Chi and yoga are also excellent options. It’s important for the instructor to be aware of which joints are affected and to avoid movements that exacerbate pain.
- Weight loss is another measure that can help relieve arthritis pain. Losing weight reduces pressure on large weightbearing joints such as the hips and knees. This not only improves function but also slows the progression of arthritis. A dietician can give you ideas on healthy ways to lose weight.
- Physical therapy can help increase flexibility and strengthen muscles. Occupational therapy allows you to learn how to perform activities of daily living without putting stress on affected joints.
- Heat and cold application can relieve pain and swelling by helping the muscles relax and reducing muscle spasm.
- Assistive devices such as canes can reduce pain by taking the weight off affected joints. Braces and shoe inserts may be recommended for some people to support a joint and take pressure off.
These remedies are all excellent ways to lessen joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. However, for people with moderate to severe pain from longstanding arthritis, they may not be enough. Regenerative injections can complement these treatments and accelerate the healing process. The growth factors, structural proteins, and anti-inflammatory modulators contained in amniotic tissue allografts promote formation of healthy new bone and cartilage. The regenerative therapy injections also contain other substances, such as hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans, that can repair damage and provide relief of OA symptoms.
Medications for Osteoarthritis
A number of medications can relieve pain due to osteoarthritis.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can reduce mild to moderate OA pain. However, large doses of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve are commonly used to relieve pain from OA. However, they are associated with a number of side effects, including cardiovascular complications, stomach ulcers, bleeding problems, and kidney and liver damage. NSAID gels applied to the skin may be effective with less side effects.
- Some antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) are sometimes used to treat chronic pain.
Although medications can provide effective temporary relief from pain, they do nothing to correct the underlying cause of the pain or delay the progression of the disease. In addition, medications can cause a number of side effects. Regenerative medicine is a more effective option than pain medicines because it addresses the root cause of the pain, i.e., the damaged bone and cartilage. By repairing and regenerating the worn-out parts in the joint, amniotic tissue injections not only reduce symptoms, but also prevent further damage from occurring. Regenerative therapy aids the body in healing itself and is associated with no reported side effects.
Injection Therapy for Osteoarthritis
If conservative measures fail to provide relief from OA pain, doctors may consider injection therapy, which includes:
- Cortisone injections with numbing medication can be given three to four times a year for short-term improvement in symptoms. However, these injections have no long-term benefit and they can, in fact, worsen joint damage over time. Regenerative therapy, on the other hand, repairs the damage that has already occurred and prevents further degeneration from occurring. In addition, regenerative amniotic tissue injections are not associated with side effects. Steroid shots for osteoarthritis can lead to a number of complications such as nerve damage, thinning of bones, and tendon rupture.
- Hyaluronic acid is found in healthy knees, and injection of this substance into joints affected by OA may be helpful for some people, especially those who are unresponsive to conservative measures and oral painkillers and/or concerned about the side effects of steroids. Many regenerative injections contain hyaluronic acid and also in addition contain growth factors, cytokines, and structural proteins.
Surgery for Osteoarthritis
Joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) of the hip and knee involves removal of the damaged joint surface and replacement with plastic and metal parts. This is a major surgical procedure with a long, and often difficult, rehabilitation. In addition, surgical complications such as infection, blood clots, or loosening of the artificial joint may require a return trip to the operating room.
Regenerative medicine injections are minimally invasive and do not expose you to the complications of surgery. The allograft products we use at Living Well Balanced come from Predictive Biotech, an industry leader in regenerative medicine. They have been developed after rigorous research and are produced in an FDA-registered laboratory utilizing proprietary processes. The products undergo both internal and third-party testing to ensure their viability and safety. The regenerative injections we use at Living Well Balanced are preserved cryogenically and stored and transported under optimal conditions. The bottom line is that your safety is our top priority. By offering regenerative amniotic allograft products, we bring you an advanced pain management option that relies on natural healing and is not associated with any significant side effects.