Your body tends to break down as you age. In your 40s, it is likely you will start to feel the first aches and pains that come with the wear and tear you put on your joints and muscles.
Did you know there are treatment options to help slow or possibly stop that degeneration?
Dr. Michael Bertram, a board-certified Physician of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (also called Physiatry) says, “In physiatry, I am helping my patients maximize the function of their muscle and skeletal systems to improve their quality of life. Regenerative medicine is very useful when trying to reduce pain and improve overall function. It may even help you avoid invasive surgery.”
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is an area of medicine that has a lot of potential to heal damaged tissues and organs using your own body and biology. There are hundreds of research projects underway to explore new ways to reverse the degeneration caused by age, disease or damage.
In musculoskeletal medicine, there are regenerative medicine therapies used today that can help alleviate your pain and restore function to your joints, muscles and tendons.
Dr. Bertram explains, “In general, I use regenerative medicine and therapies to stimulate the body to use its natural ability to help regenerate and heal damaged joints, muscles and tendons.”
Some of the therapies used in physical medicine and rehabilitation that are regenerative include:
- Dry Needling – using needles to break up affected tissue to stimulate healing. If you are on Facebook you can watch this live Q & A on dry needling.
- Graston Therapy – a form of physical therapy using a metal instrument to massage and scrape injured tissue to stimulate circulation.
- Prolotherapy Injections – contain natural substances to help restore and stabilize ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints by stimulating a healing response.
- Plasma Rich Platelet (PRP) Injections – contain plasma and platelets from the patient’s own body to promote healing of injured or damaged ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints.
Dr. Bertram says, “These therapies start a reaction which stimulates your body to start a three-stage process of healing. First is inflammation, which increases blood flow and helps remove unhealthy tissue. Then fibroblastic, which helps form new blood vessels and new collagen. The last phase is maturation, when the tissue becomes stronger and healthy.”
The process can take several months, but most patients feel pain relief sooner.
Who can Benefit from Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is used to decrease pain and help restore function, therefore it can help with many different types of ligament, tendon, muscle or joint damage, including:
- Degenerative arthritis in the joints, including the spine.
- Tendon problems with degeneration or tears such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff issues, Achilles tendon, and patella tendon injuries.
- Ligament damage, such as chronic lateral ankle sprains or knee ligament sprain like medial collateral (MCL) or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
“Pain is what brings a lot of people into the office,” says Dr. Bertram. “But managing the pain doesn’t stop the degenerative process. The joint is still not functioning properly. Through regenerative medicine, we can change how the structures work and shut down some of what is creating the pain and start to rehabilitate the tissue.”
Would you like to learn more about regenerative medicine and Dr. Bertram’s Physiatry practice? Give us a call at (859) 957-0052 to schedule an appointment.