Prescription opioid drugs were at one time a major advance in medicine that allowed millions of people to reduce suffering. Still in many parts of the world these medications are not available and needless pain and suffering continues. But clearly in this country we have a prescription opioid problem. These medications are used for essentially any pain. Unfortunately for conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis an over reliance on pain killers can tip the balance toward more risk and less benefit over time. Partly because higher dosages and more frequent use of the medications becomes necessary and increases the frequency of serious risks associated with these medications.
Regenerative medicine may offer a solution in cases of arthritis and tendinitis patients who require pain relief. Autologous biologic treatments such as bone marrow aspirate concentrate stem cell treatments and advanced platelet injections are low risk with a high ceiling for reducing pain and improving function. While many are rightly excited about the regenerative potential of these treatments, the greater benefit may be in longer term pain relief, functional improvement, and bettering of quality of life with less reliance on pain medications.
People with chronic arthritis or acute tendon/ligament injuries would be well served to consider a biologic treatment over chronic pain medications. One option provides a healthy way to reduce arthritis related pain, while the other can mask your pain but does not help to fix your problem and comes with some serious addictive side effects. This is a classic convex vs concave risk profile choice. Choose the lower risk option with good upside potential over the option with potentially terrible downside risks. It’s common to hear from patients months after their treatment that their use of pain medications has been reduced. On its own merit this outcome measure is a resounding success.
Another important aspect to consider is the ability for regenerative medicine treatments to restore an unhealthy joint or tendon to a more healthy state. This is a unique aspect of regenerative medicine techniques. Improve your natural and existing anatomy by improving joint stability, reducing chronic inflammation within a joint or tendon, and improving the arthritic joint microenvironment. An elegant, holistic, healthy approach to reducing reliance on opioid pain medications.