Getting A Handle On Joint Pain

Whether from arthritis or other underlying causes, joint pain can be a serious problem. With degenerative conditions like cartilage loss, not dealing with the underlying cause can leave a person with limited mobility and excruciating pain. Although pain management usually involves taking prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications, some people with osteoarthritis (OA) may benefit from more serious medical interventions. For more severe cases of joint pain, growth factor therapy might be beneficial.


What is growth factor therapy?

Although the term growth factor might sound complicated, the concept is essentially leveraging the body’s self-healing capabilities to speed wound healing. Simply put, growth factor therapy accelerates the body’s ability to regenerate cells. Often the solution is used for treating injuries like ulcers. Recently, research has begun to look at how well the therapy can work to reduce chronic joint pain. Multiple types of growth factor therapies exist, and specific treatments can be deployed depending on the exact cause of the joint pain.

The process

In most cases, growth factor therapy will leverage platelet-rich therapy (PRP) to encourage healing. However, synthetic versions produced in a laboratory can also be used. Early research suggests that PRP can be beneficial as a lower-cost option for joint pain sufferers. The process involves taking a blood sample from a patient and running the liquid through a centrifuge. The platelets and plasma are separated from the red blood cells, resulting in a platelet-rich sample. This sample is then injected into the injured or affected area in hopes of boosting wound healing. For joint damage, the goals are typically cartilage regeneration.

Nerve growth factor therapy

Rather than focusing on cartilaginous regeneration, nerve growth factor (NGF) treatment inhibits pain sensations by controlling what the nerves experience. Pain is a serious symptom associated with OA and can significantly inhibit the quality of life. Traditionally, NFG is a protein that binds to pain receptors on nerve cells, resulting in uncomfortable sensations. However, NGF inhibitors would prevent those proteins from binding to the nerve cells, thereby reducing or preventing pain. The medication can be delivered by injection or subcutaneously. Preliminary studies have found the process to be effective.

Don’t suffer needlessly

Joint pain is a serious problem that can sideline a person, causing a reduction in mobility, limited participation in social settings, and negative quality of life. While conditions like OA can’t be entirely prevented, people don’t have to live with pain. Many individuals can control joint pain through OTC medications or lifestyle changes. Meanwhile, other pain sufferers may need more serious medical treatments. If joint pain is causing pain and making life unbearable, consider talking to a physician to learn if growth factor therapy can help.

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