Can pain management injections work on older injuries?

In most cases, treatments may not help an injury that is older. Often recovery time is measured in years, and is quite slow and never in an outpatient basis.  In treating soccer players in Europe, orthopedic surgeons saw remarkable results with biologic therapy treatments in older injuries. They seemed to show recovery in months, or days, and even with multiple surgeries over a period of time such as with professional athletes, progress was still made at a rapid runners kneepace compared to traditional methods with just a few injections (The Comparison of Effects of Suprascapular Nerve Block, Intra-articular Steroid Injection, and a Combination Therapy on Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain: Pilot Study 2014.).

Stem Cell Therapy

The most common form of stem cell therapy is bone marrow transplants. Innovative new research has applied these techniques to neurodegenerative conditions and restorative healing therapies. In allergenic therapy, a donor cell is used.

For musculoskeletal conditions, bone marrow is harvested from the iliac crest and processed to use for injury. In stem cell therapy, cells are administered by injection to boost the reparative progresses of regeneration for therapeutic effect.  Cells may elevate factors to fight inflammation, be antigenic, or accelerate self-healing of organs or speeding replacement of damaged tissue. While there are no large studies to show whether or not bone marrow derived stem cell injections work well for older injuries, they may in fact work exceptionally well.

PRP therapy

The most effective of the regenerative injections is by far the success of PRP with competitive athletes and recreational hobbyists. An active lifestyle can mean many injuries in the weight bearing muscle and soft tissue and ligaments needed for mobility. With older injuries, or recurring ones, traditional therapies or conservative techniques may not be effective. Long term use of NSAIDS or OTC painkillers and anti-inflammatories can have major side effects with long term use. Bracing and supportive devices can stress other joints and create problems (Platelet-rich plasma for zone II flexor tendon repair. 2014).

PRP uses a patient’s own platelets and plasma that is a concentrated dose of growth hormone and restorative proteins.  There is not a chance of a patient going through rejection of side effects. PRP uses the idea of injecting  the concentrated cocktail to increase internal reconstruction in the damaged area. This also boosts downtime, so a patient can return to a professional athletic career or start training sooner for competition compared to invasive surgeries (A Comparison between Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Hyaluronate Acid on the Healing of Cartilage Defects 2014).

For older injuries, the goal is to hopefully push for healing, pain relief and increased function. Traditional treatments with cortisone injections are excellent for relief and decreasing inflammation, but the real advancement in treating older injuries is with regenerative medicine.

This includes both PRP therapy and stem cell therapy. Colorado Clinic provides both options for treatment at 3 locations with a Double Board Certified Colorado pain management doctor. There are pain management clinics in Loveland, Greeley and Boulder. For the top sports medicine treatments in Northern Colorado, call the location closest to you. Most insurance accepted!