More Americans are taking part in sports and recreation. Regular exercise is an important part of wellness. That fact is inspiring many people to get active.
Getting active isn’t without its risks, though. As much as physical activity is good for you, it also puts you at risk of a sports injury. Almost 9 million Americans will suffer a sports injury this year alone.
Sports injuries can take time to heal. Many people find their injury limits them, even long after it happened. Regenerative medicine for sports injuries could be changing the story.
If you’ve had a sports injury, you’ll want to see what this therapy could do for you.
Defining Regenerative Medicine for Sports Injuries
Regenerative medicine itself is a fairly new category of treatments. You might have a few questions about this treatment.
There are a few different components of regenerative treatments. They include:
- Growth factors
- Mesenchymal stem cells
Research on each of these factors suggest they could play an important role in helping the body heal. Proteins, for example, are important building blocks in muscles.
Mesenchymal stem cells are of particular interest for many people right now. These cells can develop into various types of tissue. Ligaments are examples of tissues in this category.
These cells could help the body in healing, as it creates healthy new cells. These new cells can replace damaged cells. This both speeds the healing process and ensures the repaired tissue is functional.
The Science of Regeneration
The body does have an amazing capacity to heal itself, but there are limitations.
This is why many sports injuries continue to linger long after the initial injury. Part of the issue is the repair cycle for these tissues is very lengthy. The body’s healing response tends to level off after four to six weeks.
Regenerative therapy aims at stimulating the body’s own healing powers for a longer time. Even injuries sustained years before could benefit from regenerative medicine for sports injuries.
The science in this area is still young. Research indicates better outcomes for those who undergo regenerative therapies.
The therapies seem to work in two ways. First, the introduction of new, healthy cells stimulates the body’s healing. You can think of it as kick-starting the healing process.
These new cells also help overcome the body’s tendency to partly heal joints and musculoskeletal structures. The body contributes some healing. The regenerative therapies provide it with extra building blocks.
The result is more rebuilt tissue over a longer period of time.
Other Treatment Options for Sports Injuries
When it comes to choosing a treatment, regenerative medicine isn’t the only option. It may be the best choice, though, especially if you have a torn ACL or a joint issue like tennis elbow.
Other options for treating sports and orthopedic injuries include steroid injections and surgery.
Surgery is often reserved for the most serious of injuries. It may be used to replace joints with artificial ones. Often, surgery results in physical limitations and ongoing pain.
Arthroscopy is another surgical intervention, although it’s less invasive. It results in less scarring and reduced healing time. It doesn’t always resolve the issue, though.
Steroid injections are anti-inflammatory agents used to reduce pain and inflammation. They don’t do much more than that, and they can actually weaken the tissue around the injury over time.
Physical therapy is also recommended. Like steroid injections, it rarely presents a “cure.” Physiotherapy can strengthen muscles and correct muscle imbalances. It usually can’t overcome the issue of incompletely healed tissues.
The Benefits of Regenerative Medicine
Compared to other treatments for sports injuries, regenerative medicine offers more benefits.
First, the procedure is non-invasive. It usually involves the injection of an organic solution at the site of the injury. This stimulates the body’s healing response.
Even more important, this therapy is focused on healing the injury itself. It helps to reverse the damage done to the original tissue. This results in stronger tissues and fewer limitations.
This also reduces the ongoing pain patients experience. It also avoids the negative outcomes of surgery, like physical limitation and ongoing pain.
Finally, regenerative medicine for sports injuries also accelerates the healing process. You’ll be back in action before you know it.
Who is Regenerative Medicine for?
Since regenerative therapies are new, there are concerns about who should receive them. Early evidence suggests almost anyone can benefit from them. Study groups have been small, so the results are limited.
Some research has shown mesenchymal stem cells help patients with osteoarthritis. OA can be the result of wear and tear on the joints. Other research has suggested the therapy could be useful for rotor cuff tears.
Carolinas Regenerative Medicine has excellent library research studies on the subject.
Children and youth often sustain sports injuries too. There’s evidence regenerative medicine could help. Regenerative therapy also shows promises for adults, even those whose injuries happened some time ago.
As such, the criteria for regenerative therapy looks a little different. You need to have an appropriate medical issue. You also shouldn’t have underlying conditions that might interfere with healing.
Finally, you have to have the right attitude. You need to be ready to report in about your progress. Most of all, you need the desire to recover and heal.
Better Recovery for Better Health
Regenerative medicine for sports injuries is one of the most exciting medical developments. It has the potential to help millions of people live better lives.
Whether you’ve had a sports injury or you want to prevent one, the right advice can help you stay fit and live healthier. Check out the blog for more great articles about health and wellness.