The traditional paradigm for treating orthopedic injuries and other musculoskeletal conditions is to control pain first and foremost, and when that is insufficient, cut out tissue that is damaged. Sometimes this involves potentially toxic medications that only lessen pain without improving the underlying mechanism causing damage. Other times it involves cutting out bone and tendon and leaving metal and plastic synthetic parts. The old way of thinking was to remove the source of pain or remove the sensation of pain. These modalities can work in certain situations, and have a role for some people. But they should not be the main approach to arthritis and tendinitis. They should not be the first line option. Yet for many patients and physicians, this is the only approach ever pursued.
Biologic treatments for joints and tendons are meant to preserve those tissues. This way of thinking has been around for the last few years, but is still considered relatively new. Biologic treatments for musculoskeletal conditions can improve pain and function. But even more importantly, they are meant to PREVENT progressive damage, and PRESERVE existing tissue and function. This requires a different way of thinking.
Biologic treatments for osteoarthritis and tendinitis include Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cells. For mild to moderate conditions these treatments have the potential to repair damaged tissue. For more severe conditions, even if tissue can not be repaired on a macro level, the process that contributes to pain and dysfunction can be improved with these treatments. The biologic treatments work at a micro level. The local area that joint and tendon cells exist are improved with biologic treatments. The chemicals that exist around these cells when they are damaged are minimized by these treatments.
This micro level improvement with biologic treatments is what has the potential to prevent progression of disease. In animal studies tendon cells that are injured when exposed to steroids are repaired when exposed to Platelet Rich Plasma. Joints in animals that are surgically or chemically damaged will not progress to arthritis if treated with stem cells.
Utilizing biologic treatments for orthopedic conditions to preserve and prevent is next level thinking. It is available now.