The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation.” Inflammation is one of the body’s natural reactions to disease or injury, and includes swelling, pain, and stiffness. Inflammation that lasts for a very long time or recurs, as in arthritis, can lead to tissue damage.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage covering the end of the bones gradually wears away. Without the protection of the cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other and the resulting friction leads to pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but most often affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip, and facet joints of the spine.
Osteoarthritis often occurs as the cartilage breaks down, or degenerates, with age or overuse and is sometimes called degenerative joint disease.
- Healthy Knee
- Arthritic Knee
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-lasting disease that can affect joints in any part of the body. It most commonly involves the hands, wrists, knees, and feet. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system—the body's defense system against disease—mistakenly attacks itself and causes the joint lining to swell. The inflammation then spreads to the surrounding tissues and eventually damage cartilage and bone.
Traditional pain relievers can make you feel better, but do not change the course of the disease. Research has shown that regenerative medical procedures can promote and accelerate regeneration of existing cartilage and prevent further degeneration. These procedures effectively bridge the gap between symptom relief and joint replacement surgery.
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, PRP, promotes and accelerates the natural healing process of soft tissue injuries and osteoarthritis by stimulating the release of adult stem cells that already exist in tissue. A concentrated solution of the patient’s blood platelets containing healing cells called alpha-granules and plasma is injected into damaged tissue resulting in new cell growth and increased blood flow.
- Viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid helps to replace and stimulate production of synovial fluid, the joint’s natural lubricant and shock absorber. Hyaluronic acid injections can help to relieve the pain of moderate osteoarthritis of the knee and other joints.
- Stem Cell Therapy uses adult mesenchymal stem cells that are derived from the patient’s own tissue, particularly from the bone marrow or adipose tissue. Stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into various cell types, such as cartilage, tendon, muscle, and bones. When injected in a concentrated form into damaged tissue, these cells promote and accelerate the regeneration of tissue.
- Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine focuses on improving joint restriction and misalignment. It improves blood flow to nourish tissue and reduce inflammation, reducing joint pain. It also helps to reduce strain on surrounding body tissue that causes further pain and structural dysfunction.
- Acupuncture is also an alternative arthritis treatment, and some evidence of benefit has been noted but not is conclusive in some patients.
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