Common causes of knee pain
As we age, our knee joints tend to bear the brunt of our weight and physical activity. Likewise, this leads to the development of joint pain, which can then become persistent, and in more advanced cases, develop into arthritis.
While there are a variety of causes for knee joint pain and knee arthritis, the most common cause is osteoarthritis. Think of osteoarthritis as the wear and tear of the lining of the joint surfaces.
This condition gets worse with age and physical activity. However, some of this wear and tear can occur earlier in life, especially if you have suffered an injury to your knee.
Common treatment options for knee pain:
There are a few treatment options typically prescribed for those who have osteoarthritis in their knee, or just have general knee pain. These include:
Frequently those suffering from knee pain use Tylenol, Ibuprofen and a variety of other drugs that have been around for a long time.
While a lot of people use these medicines, it’s important to understand they come with significant side effects. For example, these drugs can cause acidity and stomach ulceration. They can also have a lasting impact on your kidneys and liver; with excessive use, painkillers can lead to failure of these organs.
Occasional use of these medications may be fine. However, when the deterioration of your knee joint progresses and your pain is so constant, it’s understandable that you would feel the need to use painkillers more frequently. Nonetheless, their frequent use is not recommended, nor is it good for your body.
Patients with persistent knee pain that cannot be relieved with routine painkillers are likely to get some form of imaging done, either by X-Ray or MRI.
The findings from these images often show the following:
• A loss of joint space,
• A narrowing of the joint space,
• Thinning of the menisci,
• A loss of cartilage that lines the surface of the joint, and
• Bones that have started to become deformed.
When the damage to your knee reaches this point, patients frequently receive
steroid, hyaluronic or gel injections.
While these injections have been around for quite some time and they do provide temporary relief, they do little to alter the progression of the joint damage.
What happens then? Your pain will come back, and your joint will continue to get weaker. In fact, some of the chemicals in these injections can cause further damage to the joint. That in itself can lead to more frequent injections just to provide temporary pain relief.
If over-the-counter painkillers and steroid injections are no longer helping you, at this point your doctor is likely to recommend arthroscopic surgery.Basically, this procedure is an invasive surgery where the joint is “cleaned”. Some of the tears and/or worn-out tissue are removed in order to promote healing.
However, arthroscopic surgery rarely translates into any practical benefit. After this procedure, you are unlikely to be completely pain-free. More importantly, the surgery does little to stop the process of degeneration that is already taking place in your knee joint.
So, even as your recover from arthroscopic surgery, you are likely to still experience pain. Plus, your activity level will continue to decrease. When you finally get to a point where the pain is unbearable and you can no longer do the activities you love, or even perform your normal daily activities, a physician is likely to recommend joint replacement surgery.
By no means a minor surgery, joint replacement surgery requires a prolonged and painful rehabilitation process. While you may come out in relatively good shape, there is no guarantee your knee pain will have completely disappeared. Plus, having a foreign body (a new knee joint) increases your risk of infection.
An alternative treatment option.
As you can see, the common treatment options for knee pain are not very satisfying, as they do little to stop the wear and tear on your knees, only provide temporary relief, and carry much risk.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative treatment that can help bone, joint, muscle and soft tissue conditions. This treatment is called stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy has many different meanings for different people due to lack of standardization in the medical world. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the most important factors involved in the treatment protocol.
First and foremost, stem cell therapy is the only treatment that attempts to regrow the worn cartilage, deformed bones, and meniscal tears. It is designed to regenerate your soft tissue.
Similarly to the way the brake pads in your car can wear down, instead of replacing the entire car, you replace the brake pads only. Likewise, the cartilage in your knee joint wears down due to wear and tear. So, the goal with stem cell therapy is to regenerate your cartilage without replacing the entire knee joint.
Using your own stem cells.
The essential component of stem cell therapy involves harvesting regenerative cells from your own body.
Our body has a remarkable ability to regenerate and heal itself. And in fact, the only way we heal after any injury or a surgery is through our own cells. In a nutshell, stem cell therapy uses cells from your own body to reinforce the cells in your damaged joint, facilitating the repair and regeneration of the soft tissue. Because the local cells in your knee are unable to repair your joint tissue, we gather regenerative cells from other parts of your body. The beauty of this system is that because the cells are from you, not from another person, there is no risk of disease transmission or abnormal growth. For this reason, there is very little risk associated with stem cell therapy.
Sources of stem cells
There are three important sources of stem cells in your body:
• Bone Marrow
Your blood also is also a source of platelet rich plasma (PRP), which is a verypotent anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, even if you don’t require a full stem cell treatment, you can use PRP instead of other injections (like steroids) to help stabilize the knee joint and reduce your pain.
From a regenerative point of view, using a combination of stem cells from all three of these sources is very important.
Beyond that, you should talk to a specialist in regenerative medicine to get more details about how your tissues are isolated and how your stem cells areharvested and processed. The treatment can vary from practitioner to practitioner, and the reality is, not all stem cell therapy is the same. In order to see optimal results, certain practices are required.
In summary, if you are experiencing knee pain and it is impacting your ability to do the things you love, consider stem cell therapy as an alternative treatment option. For any questions about this procedure, please give us a call at (949) 387-9991. I’m happy to speak with you over the phone, or, you can come in for a free consultation in which I review your medical history and we discuss possible options to treat your knee pain. Alternatively, you can learn more about stem cell therapy on our website, www.precisecare.com where we have a variety of educational resources at your disposal.