Advancements in medicine have made it possible for doctors to provide better treatments to patients. One area where advancements are being made is in the field of regenerative therapy. These treatments use different techniques to help the body heal its own tissues, or regenerate. Regenerative medicine is a somewhat new field, but doctors think its possibilities are almost endless. There are four types of regenerative therapy being used now that show even greater promise for the future.
1. Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cell treatment is a type of regenerative therapy that uses a special type of cell to repair injuries. Stem cell therapy is used to treat back pain and help regenerate tissues in the spinal discs. Stem cells are special cells that do not have a specific purpose in the body that can develop into a type of cell that does serve a function.
When used in regenerative medicine, stem cells are collected from the patient’s own fat, blood, or bone marrow. They are then put into a medical machine called a centrifuge so the doctor can identify and separate the cells to find the right ones to use for the regenerative therapy treatment. The cells are then injected into the part of the body that needs to be repaired. For instance, to repair spinal discs, stem cells would be injected directly into the damaged disc. The cells will then develop into healthy spinal disc cells and repair the disc.
2. Cartilage Regeneration
One type of regenerative therapy that can help people with musculoskeletal conditions is cartilage regeneration. This therapy is aimed at healing damaged cartilage. Cartilage does not heal well on its own because it does not contain blood vessels and doesn’t always have a constant blood supply. There are several techniques used for cartilage regeneration. According to research from Johns Hopkins Medicine, cartilage regeneration is ideal for active people under 55 years old.
3. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is based on the hypothesis that the platelets and plasma found in the blood can heal and repair injuries. PRP treatments are usually used in sports medicine to repair tendon injuries. To make platelet-rich plasma, blood is drawn from the patient and then processed to create a concentrated solution that contains more platelets and plasma than regular blood. A centrifuge is often used to create this solution. PRP is either injected into the injured tendon or applied during surgery.
Prolotherapy is a type of regenerative therapy that treats injured joints and connective tissues. It is often used to treat arthritis, whiplash, and degenerative disc disease. It can be used on the back, neck, shoulders, hip, hands, and knees. In prolotherapy, a doctor injects a watery solution containing substances like saline and dextrose into the injured area. These injections usually contain a numbing agent like lidocaine as well.
The injection irritates the injury site, triggering the body’s healing response. As a result, the body will grow new connective fibers to repair the damaged tissue. This relieves the pain associated with the damaged connective tissue. Several treatments may be done to stimulate more new tissue growth.
Dr. Nael Shanti of Cary Orthopaedics Spine Center specializes in treating spinal conditions with expertise in minimally invasive surgery and regenerative medicine. His focus is on stem cell treatments to treat damaged discs that cause pain in the lower spine. His patients usually see benefits of regenerative therapy treatments within 2 to 3 months. To talk to Dr. Shanti about how he can help you with your back pain, call (919) 297-0000 to make an appointment.