It has been estimated that about 80% of patient visits to primary care physicians involve pain from the musculoskeletal system. Over many years, injuries generally accumulate, causing “wear and tear” of the joints, ligaments, and tendons. The chronic pain and functional limitation caused by these conditions often limits quality of life, athletic performance, and enjoyment of even normal activities, such as walking, working, and playing sports.
When you have an injury, the body will naturally try to heal through the actions of growth factors and Stem Cells, which orchestrate the complex repair process. Platelets are loaded with a variety of growth factors, which are released when the body is injured. Research shows that Stem Cells live within the blood vessels and are released throughout your body, drawn to injured tissues by the chemical signals from your platelets and other factors. In turn, these Stem Cells then release a myriad of signals that stimulate the clean up of an injured site and the repair that needs to take place.
When your body needs a kickstart to heal an injury, injection techniques using your own growth factors from your Platelets and your Stem Cells have been developed that are minimally invasive, highly effective, and well tolerated, encouraging the body to heal precisely where it has been injured. In the last 20 years, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) has become a common treatment for injured athletes. The growth factors from your Platelets taken from your own blood promote normal, healthy tissue healing. Platelets are collected using a standard blood draw process and injected directly where the Regenerative Medicine specialist determines that healing is needed. Stem Cells from your bone marrow are collected with minimal discomfort using a small needle in about 10 minutes. These provide a living “factory” of growth factors, delivered directly at the site of injury, and lasting even longer than the platelets alone. Frequently, PRP and Stem Cells are used together to create a comprehensive solution of growth factors to stimulate the healing response.
The injections are typically guided using advanced technology, such as X-Ray fluoroscopy and ultrasound, both of which allow the doctor to precisely place these cells where they will do the greatest good with the highest level of safety. Using your own Platelets and Stem Cells from your bone marrow to treat your injuries can be done in about 2 hours on a singe day with no downtime after a treatment. You can return to your normal activities and sports in the days immediately following a treatment. It may take several treatments 4-6 weeks apart to stimulate the healing process enough for moderate to severe injuries.
The advances proven with Regenerative Medicine in the last 15-20 years have made it possible to heal most painful musculoskeletal structures without the much greater cost, pain, and risk of surgery, and without the downtime that surgery often requires. These benefits are why many weekend and professional athletes rely upon Regenerative Medicine to keep them on the field and in the game.