We get a lot of questions regarding the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell treatments for arthritis. As a doctor, you are fully aware that arthritis is a fairly broad term that encompasses numerous conditions rather than a single disease in and of itself. What you may not know is that PRP is not necessarily effective for every condition that falls under the umbrella of arthritis.
In our PRP and stem cell therapy training courses, we are very clear to point out when regenerative medicine is appropriate for arthritis and when it is not. In this post, we will offer a brief overview for those who are interested. Bear in mind that educating your own patients about the various forms of arthritis can help them better understand when, and if, stem cell or PRP therapy is appropriate for them.
PRP and Osteoarthritis
As you know, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a condition in which the cartilage that normally protects joints breaks down to the point of being ineffective. The loss of cartilage results in bone-on-bone contact that causes swelling, tenderness, and significant pain. You might also know that osteoarthritis is often age-related.
Stem cell and PRP therapies have been effectively used as an osteoarthritis treatment by doctors undergoing training with Apex Biologix. In the case of PRP treatments, injections of the processed material encourage a natural biological response that stimulates the formation of new cartilage to replace what has been damaged or lost. The injections can also reduce inflammation and slow down the speed at which osteoarthritis progresses.
PRP and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common form of arthritis. However, it is an immunological disease rather than the simple wear and tear of osteoarthritis. A person suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experiences pain in the joints as a result of joint tissue being attacked and destroyed by his or her own immune system.
Regenerative medicine may be used to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and slow down some of the tissue damage, but other treatments are usually recommended first. Unfortunately, neither PRP nor stem cell therapies directly address the immune system and the damage it does to vulnerable joints. Perhaps someday things will be different.
Fibromyalgia and Its Treatments
A third condition that generally falls under the arthritis umbrella is fibromyalgia. This condition is technically not an arthritic condition, but the pain of fibromyalgia can manifest itself in the joints. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome linked to the brain and spinal cord not being on the same page when it comes to processing pain signals. It is believed by some specialists that the syndrome might be the result of an overactive central nervous system.
Be that as it may, fibromyalgia is a condition that is not currently helped by PRP or stem cell therapies. Patients seeking relief from the chronic pain of fibromyalgia will have to look at other treatments including physical therapy, prescription medications, and therapies designed to teach relaxation techniques.
Although PRP therapy and its stem cell counterpart are not appropriate for every cause of chronic pain, we are happy to report that the therapies are effectively used to treat osteoarthritis and other orthopedic injuries. As a doctor looking to offer alternatives to surgery and long-term use of pain medication, we invite you to further investigate regenerative medicine therapies for yourself.
If you are interested in undergoing PRP and stem cell training at Apex Biologix, we would love to have you. We conduct multiple courses throughout the year in varying locations. Contact us for more details.