By Debra K. Brinker, RN
Pain indicates tissue damage. It is the body’s way to tell the brain that there is a problem that needs addressing. Sometimes these have a well-known cause, such as a sports trauma or whiplash injury. Others are more mysterious and linger long enough to become chronic, lasting months or years, and keeping patients chasing the symptoms with pain medications. Chronic joint pain is not an ibuprofen deficiency! Pain should not just be covered up with medications when Regenerative Medicine experts have made correcting chronic pain easier than ever.
People with osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, often complain of increasing joint pain and stiffness, along with loss of cartilage found on x-ray, as they get older. To treat it at the source, let’s look at what causes the degeneration of cartilage and pain in the first place. The most common reason is ligament laxity. Weakened ligaments cause the bones to glide over one another unevenly, straining the ligaments further, leading to an unstable joint, cartilage breakdown and the eventual overgrowth of bone involved in osteoarthritis. This can also be the late effects of old, unhealed sports injuries or surgeries, such as meniscectomies for a meniscal tear. For those with a cartilage disorder, such as osteoarthritis and chondromalacia patella, and who have feelings of weakness or clicking in the joint, regenerative injection treatments can provide non-surgical joint restoration.
Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Often the vague diagnoses of fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome can overlap due to the chronic and diffuse musculoskeletal pain exhibited in these cases. There are often a constellation of symptoms that co-exist, including anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome. Digging deeper is key to finding an appropriate treatment aimed at a cure versus chasing the symptoms with more medications. For instance, was there a fall or some type of trauma? Possibly the neck is sore, and chronic ligament laxity is present, which then leads to migraine headaches and chronic insomnia. Without deep sleep, the body is unable to repair, and so the cycle of pain, insomnia, poor healing, and more pain continues. It is imperative to find out what is causing the chronic insomnia. If it is joint pain, then Prolotherapy, a regenerative injection therapy, can be used to treat the problem. If it is due to relational problems, job stress, bacterial infections, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, underlying food sensitivities, then those areas need to be addressed to get the body off of high alert and into a more restorative mode.
Joint Hypermobility Syndromes
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a rare congenital condition which involves the presence of joint hypermobility, regularly subluxing joints, as well as extra-articular connective tissue difficulties. The joint hypermobility and related connective tissue problems of the skin, blood vessel and internal organs are affected due to a variant of collagen. Other individuals may have pronounced joint hypermobility which make them more susceptible to joint dislocations and instability, but not to the degree of EDS. Sometimes people are unaware they have joint hypermobility, because they assume the clicking, dislocating, and high susceptibility to injury is normal for them. Fortunately for all types of hypermobility syndromes, regenerative treatment options are increasingly available to improve quality of life and reduce or eliminate painful joint dislocations by strengthening the connective tissue.
Healing when you hurt
The body has a tremendous capacity to regenerate, but we must not forget that many factors come into play. One of the most overlooked factors is nutrition. Poor diets consisting of large amounts of highly processed foods that are low in nutritional value and low in fruit and vegetable consumption are common. A diet of fresh whole organic foods is recommended for those dealing with chronic joint pain conditions. It is also imperative that a hypoallergenic diet be adhered to for optimal healing. Poor eating habits increase systemic inflammation, which is counterproductive to healing, causing the body to react against its own immune system. In addition to the power of food, find a natural medicine practitioner who can rule out additional causes of why the body is producing antibodies against itself. In some cases, the body is trying to fight a microorganism, such as bacteria, and blood tests to check for organisms such as mycoplasma, candida, and Lyme Disease would be warranted.
Regenerative Medicine, such as Prolotherapy and Stem Cell Therapy, are natural injection treatments which are safe and effective options for patients looking for non-surgical, long-term correction of joint pain. Regenerative injection therapies offer not only pain relief, but healing at the source, enabling patients of all ages to return to normal activities and athletics with minimal lifestyle interruption.
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