Regenerative medicine treatment might start with the use of platelet-rich plasma. It is a concentrate rich in growth factors and tissue healing substances obtained from the patient’s blood. After processing of the patient’s blood sample to extract platelets and serum rich in tissue healing factors, the serum is used to treat damaged or degenerative tissue.
Further research and development of regenerative science techniques has made it possible to test for substances called proteases, which destroy the surface lining of joints with wear and tear or chronic trauma to the joint. The natural joint fluid can be tested for this destructive substance. If the test is positive, a natural substance found in the liver and blood can be injected into the joint to neutralize the effects of protease and heal the joint. This healing substance found in the patient’s blood stream is called Alpha-2 Macroglobulin. Learn if this treatment may be appropriate for your pain problem.
The regenerative and healing power of amniotic fluid which nurtures babies in the womb has been known for thousands of years. The fluid and the amniotic sac are loaded with the basic components necessary for repair and healing of degenerative tissue. The fluid and amniotic tissue are safely harvested, processed, concentrated, and may be applied to damaged or injured tissue to stimulate healing and repair. Learn more about this treatment option.
The most recent research has made possible the use of stem cells obtained from the patient to treat damaged or degenerative tissue. Stem cell therapy is the pinnacle of regenerative medicine techniques. The physician is able to harvest healthy, adult stem cells from the patient’s own tissues and take advantage of the ability of these cells to replace injured or degenerated cells and promote healing. Learn more about this possible treatment modality.
Regenerative Cell Therapy
At Hill Country Pain, we take pride in being able to find the best therapy or combination of treatments to help our patients. Overuse and sports/work injuries may lead to painful and/or degenerative conditions which we treat with rest, physical therapy, medications, injections and other conservative measures. We use anti-inflammatory medications by mouth or if necessary through injections into the affected area of concern. Cortisone or steroid medications may be necessary. Ultimately, patients may continue to suffer and seek relief from surgery to remove painful tissue or even replace the degenerative joints with an artificial joint or an implant.
Regenerative therapy is a new way to treat these injuries and degenerative conditions. Anti-inflammatory treatment with steroids is generally temporary and excessive use can be harmful. Surgical resection of tissue is an irreversible process and may lead to more rapid progression of the degenerative process. Surgery may not be an option for the patient or might be considered a “last choice” remedy.
Recent research has enlightened us to the fact we may be able to harness the body’s intrinsic ability to heal or regenerate itself. When the body is injured, inflammation occurs which causes tissue growth factors to rush to the area to stimulate cells. This leads to the onset of regeneration and healing of damaged tissue as a natural process. What if we could increase the concentration of these factors at the site and improve the rate or quality of the healing process? Might we be able to “turn back time” on degenerative changes by concentrating the healing factors found naturally in the body? Is it possible to then place these healing fluids directly on the damaged area to a greater effect than might happen naturally over time? The answer is yes. It is now possible to treat many problems with regenerative cell therapy.
Common Joint and Tissue Injury Disorders
- Shoulder joint degeneration, rotator cuff tears, labral tears, biceps tendonitis
- Hip arthritis, labral tears, trochanteric bursitis, hamstring tears and tendinosis
- Knee arthritis, meniscal tears, ligament tears, patellar degeneration, runner’s knee, IT band inflammation
- Wrist and hand arthritis, pain at the base of the thumb such as skier’s thumb
- Ankle and foot pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain
- Elbow pain, epicondylar bursitis or tennis elbow
Common Central and Spinal Disorders
- Facet joint arthritis, chronic sprain or strain or ligaments which cause back pain
- Back pain from painful, degenerative discs
- Sacral iliac joint pain
- Neck pain and headache due to degenerative facet joints
As with most pain problems, proper treatment starts with a correct diagnosis. Our practice employs pain targeting techniques combined with advanced diagnostic and radiology information (CT/MRI) to determine where the pain generator or source of the pain is located. Once we have the correct diagnosis and we determine how long the injury or condition has been a problem, we can decide if a patient is a candidate for regenerative cell therapy. Then, we can decide which kind of treatment is best suited for our specific patient and problem.
Regeneration does not happen immediately and most of the time takes several months to happen. Therefore, patients may not experience any pain relief for 2-4 months while the treatments are carried out. However, once the tissues start healing, the pain gradually subsides until it goes away completely. The pain relief is a result of the natural healing process and is not induced by artificial means.
Regenerative therapy is new and based on the latest research and techniques available in the field of pain management. As such, there is a lot more to research and to learn about the way it works and what conditions are best treated with this therapy. As with any new and experimental therapy it will not benefit everyone. This is why, at Hill Country Pain, we use it conservatively and after careful diagnostic evaluation. We are very selective about patient selection and wish for each of our patients to benefit.
Insurance companies do not cover some of our newest regenerative therapies. However, you can pay for this therapy with cash, credit card, or use your health saving account plan or flexible spending plan (FSA).