What is Prolotherapy?
Sometimes when we have pain, it may be due to improper healing of damaged tissue. In prolotherapy, a series of injections is given to the patient to produce inflammation in the damaged tissue. This may sound counterintuitive, but what this actually does is mimic the natural response the body should have when a tissue is injured. Because of the inflammation, the body sends increased blood and growth factors to the injured area to cause healing. In other words, it “tricks” the body into initiating a healing response in the injured area.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment?
PRP Treatment is similar to Prolotherapy in that the treatment promotes healing to damaged tissue that is causing pain. With PRP Treatment, we take the patient’s own blood and process it in order to separate out a very concentrated layer of plasma, which contains growth factors and specialized cells that improve the body’s ability to regenerate healthy tissue. This is then injected back into the part of your body that is injured so that healthy, new tissue can grow.
What is Stem Cell Treatment?
In this treatment, we harvest regenerative cells from either your bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue, process them, and then inject them back into the injured areas where you have pain. These regenerative cells can then help actively restore and repair damaged cells and regenerate damaged tissue in the body. This is one of the most cutting-edge treatments available for the treatment of pain.
How do I know which treatment is most effective for me?
Your doctor will be able to guide you this decision based on what is causing your pain. After listening to your symptoms, doing a thorough physical examination, and reviewing all pertinent radiology reports and medical records, he will discuss his findings with you and make his recommendation on which treatment he believes will be most effective for you. This recommendation will be based on what he believes is the cause of your pain.
What are the benefits of Regenerative Medicine?
If you were to get a cut on your skin, your body is able to heal that cut by sending healing agents in your blood stream to the area of your cut. In a matter of days, you would see significant healing of your wound and therefore significantly less pain than you did right after you got that cut.
However, there are parts of your body where blood flow is significantly less, and in these parts, healing is also significantly slower and less successful. For example, if you have a tear in your knee meniscus, healing is very limited because of limited blood flow, which means limited healing agents to the area. Without healing, this tear will cause you pain for many years with limited relief. Medications can help decrease the symptom of pain that you feel, but it cannot directly help with the healing process.
Until now, it has been difficult to find a treatment that will actually increase healing in damaged body parts like in the example above. With regenerative medicine, healing agents from your blood or your very own stem cells can be processed and injected into these painful, damaged areas to actually improve healing. If these painful, damaged areas heal, your pain will improve.
Is Regenerative Medicine better than traditional pain management?
Regenerative Medicine is not necessarily “better” than traditional pain management – it is just a different approach. Traditional pain management can be very effective to improve pain symptoms, and many people benefit from it. In traditional pain management, physical therapy, oral medications, and injections of medications improve pain symptoms.
However, Regenerative Medicine is a different approach where your own body’s regenerative cells are processed and injected back into the area where you have pain so that the cause of the pain can be healed. If the cause of the pain (for example, if you have a tear in a tendon) can be healed, the pain symptoms can dramatically decrease. It is an excellent option for people who have tried many different treatments without adequate pain relief but do not want surgery. Many of our patients also prefer Regenerative Medicine if they don’t want to take high doses of pain medications or get steroid injections and prefer getting treated with their own body’s healing factors.
Is the treatment painful?
Most patients report very little discomfort with PRP. With Stem Cell Treatment, patients sometimes report a few days of tenderness and discomfort at the site where the fat cells were harvested through liposuction.
How quickly will I see results?
Although you may experience some improvement in pain within a matter of weeks, the full benefits are not seen until 6-12 months following treatment. This is because healing in your body is a gradual and long process and does not happen overnight.
How long does the procedure take?
PRP will require you to be in the office for approximately 45 min, but this is dependent on where the PRP is given. For example, PRP in your back will take longer than getting the injection in your knee. You will be able to get back to your usual activities right away. Stem Cell Treatment usually requires about 2-3 hours.
Will I be able to leave the office by myself after treatment?
This depends on whether or not your injection is done under anesthesia. Typically, we do spinal PRP injections and all Stem Cell Treatments under anesthesia, and in this case, you will need someone to escort you home.
How permanent are the results? Will I have to get another Regenerative Medicine Treatment in the future?
This depends on several variables. One variable is how bad the injury was to begin with. More severely injured tissue may require more than one treatment for full recovery. Another factor is whether or not you continue to do the activity that caused the injury to begin with. For example, if you injured your shoulder from constantly picking up and carrying your children around, and you continue to do this activity after your treatment, you will risk re-injuring your shoulder. In this case, even if the treatment worked and your initial injury was healed, you may need future treatments to heal your re-injured shoulder.
If I get this, will I be able to avoid surgery?
This is a common question, because many people want to avoid surgery for as long as possible. Regenerative Medicine is a great option for these people, because it can promote healing in the damaged tissue and decrease the pain you feel. Of course, this depends on what is causing the pain and how badly the tissue is injured, but Regenerative Medicine has worked for many of our patients who had tried all conservative options without relief.
Will I be able to stop taking pain medications after the treatment?
This depends on how successful the treatment is for you, but many of our patients have been able to stop or significantly decrease the amount of pain medication they take after the treatment.
Does insurance pay for Regenerative Medicine?
No, insurance does not pay for regenerative medicine.
Are my results guaranteed? Will I definitely see improvement with this treatment?
We do our best to accurately diagnose the problem and to make sure we match the best possible treatment for your diagnosis. However, there is no guarantee. Although our clinic has seen very positive results with many of our patients, each patient responds differently to treatment, and there is no way to predict your results.
Legal Disclaimer: This document is not designed to and does not endorse a specific product or treatment and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any individual. It is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional care. Do not substitute this document for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and do not disregard or delay professional medical advice because of something you have read on this document. You should not use this information in place of the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Community Pain Medicine and its providers are not liable or responsible for any advice, diagnosis, service, or any other information you obtain in this document.