Right now, there are 50 million Americans living under the weight of chronic pain. If you’re one of them, you know how frustrating the search for relief can be. We can also bet that you’ve been told the best way to address your pain is with prescriptions, or worse, surgery.
We believe there’s a better way to deal with pain.
Here, Dr. Raul Lopez, our pain management specialist at the West Texas Pain Institute in El Paso, Texas, explores regenerative medicine and the many ways it can benefit you.
Conditions regenerative medicine can help
Regenerative medicine treatments are incredibly versatile — you may have even noticed celebrities turning to them for cosmetic reasons. At the West Texas Pain Institute, we use them to address various musculoskeletal pain conditions.
Musculoskeletal pain impacts your bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes, like in the case of a fractured bone, this pain is acute, which means it’s sudden and severe. Musculoskeletal pain can also be chronic or long-lasting, like in the case of fibromyalgia.
Back and joint pain, however, are among the most common musculoskeletal pain conditions that we treat with regenerative medicine.
Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and the most common reason people visit our office. It’s often the result of an underlying condition or injury, including:
- Muscle or ligament strains
- Bulging or ruptured discs
You may be at an increased risk for back pain if you’re older, live a sedentary lifestyle, are overweight, or smoke.
There are over 300 joints in your body, and, while you may not realize it, they're behind virtually every move you make. Because they work so hard, it also means that your joints, especially those that bear weight like your hips and knees, are vulnerable to damage and pain.
Joint pain can come from anywhere, but it typically stems from arthritis. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common.
No matter what’s behind your musculoskeletal pain, regenerative medicine is often an option. Here’s what you should know about how these treatments work.
How regenerative medicine works to relieve your pain
Simply put, regenerative medicine seeks to replace lost or damaged tissues to relieve pain and restore function. We use two types of regenerative medicine treatments: stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Here’s a closer look at each.
Stem cell therapy
We like to call stem cells “building blocks.” That’s because they can change into virtually any type of cell your body needs, allowing your body to “rebuild” itself when damage and disease attack.
We extract stem cells from either your own body or a donor and then inject them into painful, damaged areas, which triggers and expedites your body’s healing process.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Instead of using stem cells, PRP harnesses the power of your blood to relieve pain and repair damaged tissue. When you think of blood, you probably only think of a gooey red substance. What you might not realize is that your blood is chock full of growth and healing factors called platelets that support cellular repair and regeneration.
All we have to do is draw a sample of your blood and place it in a machine called a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the rest of your blood. The result is a serum that contains 5-10 times more platelets than a regular blood sample.
We inject that serum into your damaged tissue and it quickly gets to work repairing cells and rebuilding your tissues.
Why you should consider regenerative medicine
Though regenerative medicine isn’t for everyone, it is a viable option for many of our patients and one that you should consider. For instance, regenerative medicine offers pain relief without the use of prescription medication or the need for surgery, which allows you to address your symptoms without sacrificing your other health and wellness goals.
Regenerative medicine also treats your pain at its source, instead of simply masking symptoms. With regenerative medicine, you’re also free to pursue other pain management treatments, including physical therapy, massage therapy, and hot and cold treatments.
If you’d like to see if you’re a candidate for regenerative medicine treatments, we’d like to talk with you. Call or click to request an appointment today.