Pain serves an essential purpose in the body. It triggers an unconscious physical response, warning you that something is causing harm and that you need to react. For example, if a hot stove burns your hand, pain tells you to jerk your hand away before it sustains more damage. In this article we talk about treating chronic pain.
However, chronic pain works differently. Chronic pain may stem from an illness or an old injury you should have overcome, but the pain persists. Some patients experience chronic pain from an ongoing condition, such as arthritis. Acute pain becomes chronic if it lingers for twelve weeks or more despite treatment and medications.
Chronic pain is challenging because there isn’t always a clear cause. Most chronic pain patients try to manage their suffering with medications, therapies, and targeted exercises. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy offers a natural alternative option for potential benefits.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatments
Blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Plasma binds the three cell types together. When you’re wounded, platelets rush to the injury site to clot the blood and stop the bleeding. Platelets also contain proteins called growth factors that promote healing in the wound.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments start by drawing blood from a patient. Then, the blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and plasma from the red and white blood cells. The plasma is now called “platelet-rich” and is administered to the injury or pain site.
How Does PRP Treat Chronic Pain?
Once PRP enters the location that causes pain or inflammation, the growth factors in the solution stimulate the body’s natural healing response. As a result, the PRP begins repairing damaged tissue, restoring normal functions, and reducing inflammation and swelling.
As the inflammation in the site decreases, pain and swelling may begin to diminish, and the patient may start to see improvements in range of motion and strength.
How Does PRP Compare to Cortisone Injections?
Both PRP and cortisone injections can provide relief to patients suffering from chronic pain. However, cortisone or corticosteroid injections only provide a temporary solution. In addition, cortisone injections might cause deterioration in the ligaments, bones, and joints.
While cortisone injections provide immediate relief, PRP injections have the potential to stimulate tissue regeneration and healing, relieving pain gradually as the area heals. The treatments may require some time to take effect, but they can provide enduring benefits. While PRP is a new treatment option for those suffering from chronic pain, it offers promising, healing results well beyond masking pain symptoms. If you would like to learn more about how PRP injections can help with treating chronic pain, ContactStemedix today!
When the body experiences damage, pain signals the brain that an injury occurred, allowing the body to react and prevent further damage. However, in some cases, the body’s pain response to injury lasts longer than it should, leading to chronic pain that causes its own harm. One cause of chronic pain is when nerve signals become damaged, sending pain signals even when the body isn’t experiencing damage. In these cases, spinal cord stimulation may interrupt these pain signals, offering relief to people experiencing chronic pain. So what is spinal cord stimulation? Keep reading to find out!
What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a newer treatment for managing chronic pain that stops the pain signals coming from the spinal cord. It is specifically used in cases where the cause of the pain can’t be remedied.
Patients using SCS to manage their pain will have a spinal cord stimulation device surgically implanted in their spine. The device contains multiple components, including:
The neurostimulator device, also called a pulse generator, is surgically implanted below the skin of the upper buttock or abdomen and delivers mild electrical stimulations that the patient typically can’t feel.
Tiny stimulating medical wires, also known as electrodes, are attached to the neurostimulator device that sends the stimulation to the epidural space near the spine. When the leads send their signals over the spinal cord, pain signals can’t communicate, and pain is blocked.
This is a computer at the physician’s office that your spinal specialist uses to set stimulation levels and appropriately adjust the neurostimulator device.
This device resembles a remote control that patients can use to adjust their stimulation. The patient can change the stimulator’s function based on activities or varying pain levels.
How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?
SCS provides pain relief by modifying pain messages before they reach the brain. The neurotransmitter device sends electrical pulses through the leads that can get to the brain faster than the body’s pain signals. As a result, patients undergoing SCS should feel a tingling sensation instead of pain.
Once implemented, patients can use their remote control or handheld programmer when they feel pain. The remote control can adjust the location and strength of the electrical stimulation. For example, patients can change their stimulation levels for different activities or days when they feel more or less pain.
Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Effective?
While SCS treatments continue to develop, they may already be an effective treatment method for many patients. For example, patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome failed back surgery, and other chronic pain conditions are finding relief through SCS. If you would like to learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation and how it can help, contact us today at Stemedix!
Pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause a painful condition called sciatica. Sciatica pain radiates down the lower spine to the buttock and then down the back of the leg. The pain of sciatica can exist anywhere down the nerve’s pathway and is often caused by a herniated disc. While most sciatica pain eventually dissipates on its own, some patients endure chronic pain that needs more aggressive treatment. Here we will discuss the best ways to treat Sciatica pain.
What Are the Best Treatments for Sciatica Pain?
Most treatments for sciatica pain are non-surgical. However, surgery may be the best treatment option when sciatic nerve pain causes more concerning symptoms, such as significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or pain that continues to worsen.
Exercise improves the muscles and joints of the spine, increases blood flow, and reduces pressure on your nerve roots. In addition, daily exercise can offer relief from further sciatica flare-ups.
Heat and Ice Therapy
Hot and cold therapy treatments can reduce swelling, relieve pain, and expedite healing. Applying cold compresses to the source of your back and sciatic pain can numb the pain, ease inflammation, and temporarily send blood away from the site of the cold therapy.
After 20 minutes or less, removing the cold compresses and switching to heat therapy stimulates increased blood flow to nourish the site of the pain with nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood. The combined process offers pain relief and engages the natural healing process.
For optimal, long-term results, continue any prescribed physical therapy treatments until the regimen is complete.
Injuries trigger the body’s inflammatory response. That response sends chemicals to the injury site to promote healing and leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling and protecting the injury.
However, sometimes that inflammation causes other concerns, like pressure on the sciatic nerve. NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are anti-inflammatory medications that can alleviate that pressure.
If sciatica pain doesn’t respond to the above medications, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or opioids for a short period.
While most of those who suffer from sciatic nerve pain find the condition resolves independently, you can expedite the recovery process with the above treatments. If you want to learn more about ways regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy have been able to help treat sciatica pain, contact us today at Stemedix. We are here to help you!
Spinal stenosis flare up occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Changes related to aging are a common cause for the condition, but it can also be a result of congenital factors; some people are simply born with a narrower spine. Other spinal conditions such as scoliosis can also be a risk factor for the condition.
There are two regions where spinal stenosis can occur: the lower back or the neck. Common symptoms include pain in the affected area, as well as numbness or weakness in the arms and legs. Treatment for the condition may vary based on the severity of symptoms. For mild cases, doctors may simply recommend routine monitoring and home remedies such as pain relievers, heat and cold therapy, and exercise. In more severe cases, treatments such as a decompression procedure may be recommended to remove portions of ligaments that are compressing nerve roots. Spinal stenosis surgery is usually reserved for only the most severe cases, including those with pronounced pain or loss of bladder control.
Avoiding Spinal Stenosis Flares
Because spinal stenosis is largely due to age-related factors, including bone and muscle loss, there’s no way to completely guarantee full prevention of spinal stenosis. With that being said, certain factors could contribute to the condition or cause flare-ups in existing cases. Here are some factors to watch for:
Being overweight: Carrying extra weight puts excess strain on the spine. Maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritional diet and exercise are good ways to control symptoms or minimize your risk for the condition.
Smoking: Researchers have established a link between smoking and back conditions that require spinal surgery. In particular, smoking appears to increase the risk of a narrowed lower spinal space. Smoking cessation can help reduce the risk.
Poor Posture: Your posture plays an important role in maintaining spinal health. Poor posture can shift the alignment of the tissues in the back, aggravating preexisting conditions such as spinal stenosis. Using ergonomic furniture and taking breaks to sit or stand frequently throughout the day helps promote good posture.
Inactivity: Exercise keeps the muscles that support the spine strong, and can also help you maintain flexibility and balance. Periods of inactivity can have the opposite effect and may contribute to flare-ups.
Tracking your symptoms is important with spinal stenosis flare up, as the condition can develop slowly over time. Lifestyle treatments and avoidance of known triggers may help to control your pain for a long time, but if you tried these methods and are still experiencing discomfort, it may be time to consider other treatment options.
Some patients are discovering the healing potential of stem cell therapy options. The cells have the potential to help with inflammation, pain, and regeneration of tissues. It is important to have a regenerative medicine spine specialist review candidacy to determine if the outcome is optimal for the patient. Discover if you are a candidate with a complimentary assessment.
Oftentimes, chronic pain sufferers are led to believe their discomfort is simply something they’ll have to endure. While home remedies such as heat and cold therapy and over-the-counter pain medications may provide some relief, it’s typically inadequate. This is despite the fact that an estimated 20% of the U.S. adult population experiences chronic pain.
Whether it’s due to a previous injury, arthritis, or another culprit, chronic pain calls for a more effective approach. For this reason, experts have been studying the use of regenerative medicine to treat it. One therapy in particular which shows promise is stem cell therapy for chronic pain.
Stem Cell Treatment for Chronic Pain
Stem cells are the body’s cellular building blocks from which all differentiated cell types are derived. Not only can they transform into virtually any cell type, but they also have restorative qualities to help repair damaged tissue in the joints, cartilage, and tendons, among other areas. Plus, they can reduce inflammation for further healing benefits.
Many people with chronic pain are ideal candidates for this treatment. People with degenerative diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are among the prime populations who can benefit. In addition, performance athletes may receive stem cell therapy to repair joints and muscles which have been damaged by trauma. People whose pain doesn’t respond well to analgesic medications, including those with type 2 diabetes or anyone who has had amputation surgery can also benefit from stem cells. Research shows the cells can curb neuropathic pain, unlike many other treatments.
For the more than 54 million people in the U.S. suffering from arthritis, stem cells can provide an alternative option to explore. Since the prevalence of arthritis is only predicted to increase over the next decade, finding a viable option to combat the pain is critical. Stem cell therapy has been studied to show promising outcomes as a non-surgical means to manage the common symptoms of arthritis, including the hips, shoulders, knees, and spine. Patients experience benefits such as improved mobility and flexibility, reduced pain and stiffness, and increased energy.
In addition to these results, patients also experience benefits such as:
Reduced downtime before returning to normal activities
While stem cells may not be a cure-all for chronic pain, they are certainly an avenue worth exploring for anyone whose discomfort has persisted after using traditional approaches. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!
Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and affects roughly one-fifth of the adult population. Yet, despite its prevalence, treatments for chronic pain are often ineffective. Patients are often advised to use home remedies, such as NSAIDs or heat therapy, which can temporarily mask discomfort, only to have it return later. Prescription painkillers are habit-forming and carry a host of undesirable side effects. Surgeries are invasive and have their own risks, too.
Understandably, people experiencing chronic pain seek an alternative, and the medical community is working hard to respond. Recently, researchers have begun exploring stem cell therapy as a more permanent and viable solution for chronic pain to heal the compromised tissue instead of simply masking symptoms. Here’s a look into what this regenerative medicine therapy could do.
The Power of Stem Cells
Stem cells are the foundations for every specialized cell type in the body. They are at their most powerful during the embryo stage, when they transform into differentiated cells and multiply indefinitely to support fetal development.
As we age, the body still retains some stem cells. Although they aren’t as strong as they were during the embryonic stage, they still hold enormous regenerative potential. For instance, following an injury, stem cells aid in the repair process, though they aren’t always as strong or in the quantity needed for a full recovery.
Leveraging the Power of Stem Cells: Chronic Pain Fighters
Stem cell therapy calls on the body’s natural repair kit by taking the stem cells you already produce and redirecting them to problem areas, such as compromised joint tissue. The cells can either be extracted from the patient themselves, found in sources such as the bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue, or provided via donors. They are then strategically administered to the area of damaged tissue, where the body accepts the healing agents.
Once stem cells have been administered, they perform their job of minimizing inflammation, as well as regenerating and repairing damaged tissue. Thus, they don’t simply mask pain, but actually work to heal the underlying issue.
While there are many conditions for which stem cells are being used as a promising treatment, here are just a few of the most common issues related that they can treat:
Degenerative disc disease
Persistent joint pain
If you’re experiencing an orthopedic, autoimmune, or degenerative condition causing chronic pain, stem cell therapy could hold the key to helping you lead a life with less pain. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!
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