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Regenerative Medicine

Do you have back pain that radiates to your ribs? This might be the cause.

If you’ve been scouting the internet desperately trying to find a cause for your back pain then you are not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their life and that at any one time around 10% of the US residents have chronic back pain issues. Chronic pain can take a serious toll on everything from your ability to do the gardening to fulfilling your role at work. Inevitably this means that a significant proportion of sufferers develop depression and feel hopeless about their condition. Most of these individuals will suffer with what we call chronic lower back pain ie back pain in the portion of the spine that is below your rib cage. But what if this doesn’t describe your pain at all? What if your pain is in the middle of the back and often radiated across the ribs? Well, you won’t find much about this sort of back pain online and it can be frustrating trying to find a diagnosis. If you are at all in doubt, speak to a specialist spine centre who see hundreds if not thousands of these sorts of patients each and every year as they are bound to be able to quickly identify a cause due to expertise a family practitioner just doesn’t have.

any cause of back pain it is imperative you seek specialist advice from a spinal centre

What could cause mid back pain?

 

There a number of causes of middle back pain including:

 

  • Degenerative disc disease. Whilst this is significantly less common than having slipped or degenerative discs in the lumbar or cervical spine it can occur either symptomatically or asymptomatically.
  • Compression fracture of the thoracic spine. As we grow older we lose bone mass and grow more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a severe form of bone mass loss that can cause wedge or compression fractures of the bones in the spine (where the bones literally buckle under the weight of the head and neck).
  • Problems affecting any of the following organs may cause referred pain (this is why it is important not to self diagnose – a trained doctor will be able to rule out serious disease in these organs):
    • Oesophagus
    • Stomach
    • Liver
    • Gallbladder
    • Pancreas

 

Degenerative disc disease is probably most likely in those with back radiating to the ribs as the bulging disc can cause radiculopathy (this is when the bulging disc compresses a nerve, resulting in pain in the area that nerve supplies eg the rib cage).

 

What can I do to treat this condition?

 

As with any cause of back pain it is imperative you seek specialist advice from a spinal centre with trained spinal doctors. If the pain is caused by degenerative disc disease then treatment will begin conservatively and work up to more serious interventions. This can start with physical therapy, include drugs like non steroidal anti inflammatory or involve surgery in severe cases.

Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder

Many think that joint pain is just part of the aging process. The old adage that our joints get stiff and we get slower as we age is certainly true, but the pain associated this can be debilitating and have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative or wear and tear arthritis is a chronic condition estimated to affect 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60. Many of these individuals will suffer the condition in their shoulder, making everyday tasks like clearing up or cooking difficult and painful.

What is osteoarthritis? What joints does it affect?

 

As mentioned previously, osteoarthritis is often referred to as degenerative arthritis or “wear and tear” of your joints. But what exactly does this mean? In a normal joint two bones come together. To stop these bones from rubbing up against one another humans have developed an ingenious cushion layer known as cartilage. Cartilage acts as a sort of shock absorber that stops painful bone on bone contact from occurring. Over time though this cartilaginous layer wears itself down and often doesn’t repair. This results in bone on bone contact and significant pain in the joint affected.

 

What symptoms are common in osteoarthritis of the shoulder?

 

There are a number of common symptoms and signs associated with degenerative arthritis of the shoulder. These include:

 

  • Pain in the joint. This is usually on activity and not at night when you are not moving the joint.
  • A limited range of motion – often the shoulder cannot be moved up high without significant pain
  • An odd looking shoulder is often a key sign. You may be able to see a difference to the other shoulder.
  • People often also report something known as crepitus. This is a creaking that may be audible but is often felt when the joint is moving. It can often feel like something is crunching within the joint.

There are numerous symptoms and signs associated with degenerative arthritis

How is it diagnosed?

 

The diagnosis of degenerative arthritis is often clinical, but an X-ray can be ordered which will show loss of cartilage amongst other things.

 

How is it treated?

 

The treatment of osteoarthritis is an area that is constantly changing and there are many options. Some of the better options include:

 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. The drugs reduce the production of inflammatory molecules that increased the number of pain signals sent to the brain. However, in some people, they may not be the correct treatment (for instance if you have a history of peptic ulcers etc).
  • Joint injections like steroid injections can be tried to reduce the inflammation in the joint and again reduce the number of pain signals the brain receives.
  • Stem cell therapy is a new treatment offered by specialist clinics across the United States that have been shown to help regrow the cartilage and significantly help the symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis.

Understanding Arthritis for People Who Experience this Common Condition

As we age we are more and more likely to feel aches, pains, creaks, and squeaks of our joints. Many accept this as part of the aging process, but this seemingly forgets the incredible burden of osteoarthritis (also referred to as wear and tear or degenerative arthritis). In fact, 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 years will develop the disease. Of these, a significant amount will be in constant pain and some might not find adequate therapy. So instead of accepting osteoarthritis as an inevitability, is there anything one can do to prevent it?

What is arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease of joints that often occurs in people over the age of 60. It is common in the knees, shoulders hips and hands. For those with the disease in their hands, it can be incredibly irritating as it affects their activities of daily living like cooking and cleaning. The pain and lack of movement are often very frustrating.

By understanding what osteoarthritis is, we can get a better understanding of how to prevent it. When two bones meet at a joint the body uses a protective sheath known as cartilage to stop bone on bone rubbing known as “eburnation”. Over time (or with injury etc) the cartilage can become worn down and result in a bone on bone contact. This results in pain and a reduced range of movement in the affected joints.

What increases your risk of arthritis?

Prevention of arthritis starts with understanding what increases the risk of arthritis and then not doing that thing. Inevitably age plays a huge role but this is not reversible. Other risk factors include:

  • Being over 50 significantly increases your risk.
  • Being female. Whilst the disease is common in both sexes there seem to be more women affected than men.
  • Obesity is strongly associated with knee and hip osteoarthritis. A famous study known as the Framingham study showed that the 20% of woman who is the heaviest have double the likelihood of developing knee osteoarthritis. However, there isn’t an association with osteoarthritis of the hands.
  • Osteoarthritis is more common in the hands of manual workers. People who do jobs that involve constant fine movement have an increased risk (presumably because they experience more wear and tear).

Osteoarthritis is a disease of joints that often occurs in people over the age of 60

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

At the moment there isn’t much an individual can do, except for not work in manual jobs, that reduces your risk of osteoarthritis. Many of the factors identified above are not changeable. However, there are a number of new and exciting therapies to treat osteoarthritis. One of these is stem cell therapy, whereby individuals own stem cells are injected into the joint allowing the cartilage to regrow in a way that has not been previously possible. If you or somebody you know is suffering from pain in their hands that they think might be the beginning of degenerative arthritis, get in contact with a specialist clinic to talk about stem cell therapy today.

Who Can Benefit from Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is not new, in recent years, it has advanced incredibly and there are techniques which enable your own body to become a resource for the healing process. This means that there is relief from pain and it can help overcome disabilities. In fact, it may help a great many people to recover from various serious health conditions.

Benefit from Regenerative Medicine

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Nerve damage
  • Degenerative discs
  • Facet joint disease

 

Although regenerative medicine is still thought of as a relatively new field, it has already been proven to offer pain relief by accelerating the body’s healing process. It has a clear advantage over more common treatments in that it is using your own body cells to act as the nucleus for the treatment. By doing so, it lessens the chances of rejection as this is a common problem when introducing objects or cells that are alien to the body.

 

Regenerative medicine is almost certainly going to be on the front line for anti-aging treatments and the future is very exciting for this breakthrough in medical science. For now, it has proven to be extremely valuable in repairing and rebuilding damaged cartilage or bone.

 

How long before I become active again?

 

For anyone who is hoping to have this treatment, recovery will depend on the type and extensiveness of the damage but in general a 4 to 6-week recovery is to be expected.  The fact that this is a minimally invasive treatment and that it uses your own cells to help rebuild tissue – it aids a super- fast recovery and with outstanding results.

 

Is it painful?

 

Some soreness is likely after the operation but during the process, the area will be numbed. Once mobility returns and stiffness disappears then, all thoughts of discomfort during or immediately after the operation will quickly become forgotten. Expert medical professionals will have a pain management plan in place, but the recovery process is fairly quick anyway.

How Exercise Can Help Combat Foot Arthritis?

 Foot Arthritis

Have you been struggling to walk in late? Have you experienced aches and pains in the ankle or foot? If yes, you may have foot arthritis. Osteoarthritis is one type of arthritis caused by wear and tear to the joint. You may find that the joint starts to swell and in time, there may be some deformity. Arthritis is an umbrella term for one hundred or more diseases which affects the joints. Translated, arthritis simply means joint inflammation although, for many people, the word arthritis incites fear as these conditions have the potential to impact life on many levels.

 

Unfortunately, arthritis can be extremely painful, especially when affecting weight-bearing joints. The bones begin to grate against each other and this leads to the soft tissues of the joints also breaking down. Osteoarthritis is often associated with age. It’s certainly the most common of the arthritic conditions and is a degenerative disease.

 

Taking control of osteoarthritis.

 

Although seeking medical advice is paramount, there is much that can be done to keep osteoarthritis at bay. This includes exercising the joints to keep mobility. It is important to be gentle and to only exercise as much as you can without feeling pain. The joint may feel stiff and inflexible but, do this several times a day at least. Any movement is better than none. It is so important to retain as much flexibility as is possible. Yoga as an exercise system can ensure flexibility of the whole body and works well to combat arthritis generally and it will certainly help alleviate the potential for future joint pain.

 

The following are specific exercises to help offset the potential for foot arthritis and these include:

 

  • Toe pull – place an elastic band around all the toes and then, working against the resistance of the band, spread your toes wide. Repeat this up to 10 times.
  • Toe curl – If you have small circular objects or, marbles, spend some time trying to pick the marbles up using your toes only.
  • Achilles stretch – Standing up, place your palms flat on the wall and then, lean towards the wall. Place one foot back and one forward. Both heels should be on the floor and this stretches the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Repeat three times.
  • Ankle alphabet – Sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor. Lift the foot with arthritis from the floor and with your foot extended, try to slowly trace all the letters of the alphabet. Repeat this on the other foot too even if there is no sign of arthritis.

 

Look after your feet.

 

When you have osteoarthritis, comfort will suddenly mean everything. You must look for shoes that provide support and that fit properly.

 

  • Choose rubber soles for extra cushioning
  • Make sure the shoe is flexible
  • Ensure that the fit is correct
  • Avoid slip-on shoes

 

On a day to day basis, there is much that you can do to stop osteoarthritis from becoming worse. But, it is important to have a medical assessment to ensure that the condition is monitored. Arthritis can be a progressive condition and pain management is important as well as treatment to prevent it from becoming worse. Physical therapy may be useful to work alongside your exercise regime and you can also use arch supports or pads to help support your feet when walking.

 

There are many different types of medical treatments available and this will be discussed in full when you have your doctor’s appointment. It is worth considering stem cell therapy if offered as it has been providing excellent results for arthritic joints. Degenerative diseases now tend to heal much quicker and stem cell therapy promotes natural healing because it promotes the repair of tissues within the joints, thereby increasing mobility and flexibility.

Coping with Painful Elbow Arthritis

Painful Elbow Arthritis

Elbow arthritis is not as common as arthritis that affects other joints. The hands, hips, and knees tend to suffer more but the disease is still very painful in this area of the body and in some ways, can be more damaging to everyday functions, especially if both elbows are attacked.

Three types of arthritis may affect the elbow.

• Osteoarthritis
• Rheumatoid
• Post-traumatic

Osteoarthritis is relatively uncommon in the elbow joints but can cause much in the way of misery as it tends to make straightening out the joint very painful. Often linked to sports or heavy repetitive labor, it has a simple wear and tears effect on the joint. It would normally only be active in the one elbow that had the most strain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the main culprit when it comes to elbow arthritis and can be extremely painful. It also can be even worse because it can affect both elbows at the same time, making normal daily activities awkward and painful. There is usually swelling with rheumatoid arthritis and this increases the pressure on the joint. It has a far-reaching effect on daily life.

Post-traumatic arthritis is where some trauma has damaged the elbow in the past and arthritis has set in. A dislocation or a fracture can often lead to torn and damaged cartilage and painful arthritis can develop from that.

Most people tend to cope with elbow arthritis better than when the lower body joints have been attacked, this is because elbows are rarely weight-bearing and most activities do not require the complete range of movement. Carrying a dinner plate from the kitchen to another room can be done with a locked elbow but if walking, the leg joint still needs to bear the full weight. That said, it is important to not detract from the pain and anxiety elbow arthritis can cause.

So, what can be done to help or cure elbow arthritis?

The first port of call in the treatment of any form of arthritis will be medication to ease the swelling and to block some of the pain. You may be experiencing some of the symptoms listed below:
• Locking of the elbow joint
• Swelling around the joint
• A grinding sensation when straightening the elbow out
• An inability to gain the full range of movements

Physical therapy will help to give back some movement and, steroid injections can ease the pain, but relief will not last long. If patients are not responding well to pain medication or treatment, surgery is often the next step. The removal of degenerated cartilage is often carried out, but a complete replacement of the joint is quite often the only option.

Stem cell therapy is now a very effective way of treating all degenerative diseases that affect joints. There are very few side effects with this kind of treatment as the body is basically being used to treat itself. Stem cells are taken from one part of the body and introduced to the damaged area. Stems cells promote healing growth and this treatment has been very successful in treating elbow arthritis.

This treatment is becoming more successful every year and may well be the way forward in the future of dealing with arthritis.

Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain Relief – The Options for Recovery

If you have shingles, it’s daunting to know that you may be one of the unlucky ones who develop a long-lasting nerve pain which occurs due to the varicella-zoster virus responsible for both shingles and chicken pox. If you do, know that it can take up to a year to recover fully and even longer for some people. The pain and discomfort are caused by inflammation of the nerves beneath the skin and postherpetic neuralgia pain relief will play an important role in recovery, enabling you to live as normal a life as is possible.  This complication occurs when the nerve fibers are damaged and so, the messages from your skin to the brain become confused and therefore pain can be ongoing, chronic and at times, excruciating.

Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain TreatmentSymptoms

Although it is unclear as to why some shingles sufferers develop postherpetic neuralgia, the symptoms are certainly unpleasant as pain may be continuous. This is difficult to deal with and usually affects the areas of the body where shingles first occurred, usually on one side of the body in the trunk area but, it can also occur on the face. Symptoms include itching which may seem unbearable at times but also, a burning, stabbing pain similar to an electric shock. Even the lightest of touches can feel painful as your skin becomes ultra-sensitive. Those who are over 60-years of age appear to be particularly vulnerable.

 

Pain Relief

Pain relief is of the utmost importance. It’s certainly easy to feel stressed and weakened by the ongoing pain. Some people also experience feelings of depression. Unfortunately, the usual ‘over the counter’ pain medications will not be strong enough and where necessary, your doctor can prescribe amitriptyline or nortriptyline which will help to target any feelings of depression but, some anti-depressants are also useful for pain relief. Lidocaine or capsaicin skin patches may alleviate any pain experienced for up to 3 months and this will at least afford you some relief from the ongoing pain. If this is not strong enough, there is the potential for opioid drugs but of course, these will only be prescribed where absolutely necessary as there are concerns as to their addictive nature. As an alternative, electrical nerve stimulators could be used but this is a treatment that would be discussed with you if the pain is very severe.

 

Stem Cells as a Potential Solution

As there is no definitive cure for postherpetic neuralgia, it’s wise to consider all options. Stem cells have been used in treatments for a great many years, but these treatments have really come to the fore in recent years.  For postherpetic neuralgia, this is timely as it is traditionally very difficult to treat as it is akin to neuropathic pain. Stem cells, as primitive cells can develop into the cells needed to help regeneration. As we grow older, it is difficult to attract sufficient stem cells to the body parts that needs it, and this is why the cells are injected directly into the area that needs it and they have the potential to actually replace those damaged nerve cells. The results are highly encouraging.

 

Regenerative Healing for Ankle Arthritis with Stem Cell Therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis painPeople often don’t think about arthritis affecting the ankle joints but, if you have experienced it, you will know that it is extremely painful. As a weight-bearing joint, it makes sense that movement will be restricted. The joint will become stiff, swollen and, pain may be intense. Arthritis of any joint is unpleasant, to say the least, but when it affects the weight-bearing joints, it impacts life greatly. Diagnosis is paramount as there are many different types of arthritis. Two of the most common arthritic conditions are detailed below:

  • Osteoarthritis – often known as the wear and tear arthritis as it breaks down cartilage and this causes the bones to grate against each other. It is an unpleasant sensation and leads to stiffness and a loss of movement. Although in the foot region, it is the big toe most commonly affected, it can also affect the ankle joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the synovium, which is the membrane that lines the joints. This leads to pain, inflammation, and damage to the joint. It’s a debilitating disease and ankle arthritis is common.

 

The Effect on Life

Arthritis has a far-reaching effect. Although the level of pain will vary, the stiffness of the joints, reduced mobility and a loss of independence is enough to make anyone feel fearful. Feelings of isolation, emotional turmoil and even depression could occur. Anyone who is awaiting a diagnosis or treatment, for an arthritic condition is likely to need a great deal of support. In the main, through treatment and pain management, arthritis is controllable and with regenerative treatments such as stem cells, there’s a great deal of hope that the degenerative aspect will slow or reduced.

 

Self-help

Prevention is always a better option than cure and if you are just experiencing ankle arthritis joint pain, consider changing footwear so that they offer more support. Some shoes, high-heels or those that do not protect the heel can cause the foot to roll inwards which will not help the ankle at all. Try to find shoes with built-in shock absorption. Keep your ankles as flexible as is possible. Rotate the ankle joints and bend and flex the feet. Be gentle while you are doing this. The idea is to sustain as much flexibility as is possible.

Medication

It’s important to treat pain and the goal will be to slow down bone loss, reduce inflammation and prevent damage to the joint. Medication prescribed will vary of course depending on the type of arthritis that is diagnosed.

  • Non-steroidal drugs to reduce inflammation. These are useful for pain management
  • Corticosteroids – these act quickly and work to control inflammation.
  • Analgesics – these are purely for pain relief
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – these modify the disease and work at a much slower rate than the other medications.
  • Osteoporosis medication – will slow down the loss of bone and can help build new bone.

 

Treatment

There are many options for treatment, but this will depend on the individual and the severity of the symptoms. If an early diagnosis is given, arthroscopic surgery removes unwanted tissue and outgrowths from the bone. In some (rare) situations, joint replacement surgery may be necessary. For many people, there’s a more viable option, that of stem cell therapy. It’s an efficient streamlined process that uses the person’s own cells and these are injected into the joint.

There are many benefits to using stem cells as they produce anti-inflammatory agents which can greatly help the joint. They also help lubricate the joint through the secretion of hyaluronic acid and can help repair and regenerate the ankle too So, for anyone worrying about ankle arthritis, seek medical advice but remain open to the potential for stem cell therapy.

R3 Stem Cell Founder Appears on Longstanding Radio Show Stepping In

For over 20 years, Nurse Jackie Tucker has been the host of Stepping In on KSCO in Santa Cruz CA. She discusses current healthcare topics with respected members of the healthcare community nationwide.

When R3 Stem Cell Founder and CEO David Greene, MD, MBA was asked to participate with Jackie on a recent show, he immediately said yes. “This is information people really want to hear, and Jackie’s got a great audience. She’s very professional and her reputation is stellar, so it took me about a nanosecond to say yes!”

Jackie asked questions about PRP and stem cell therapy, including applicability to several conditions. Amniotic stem cell therapy was discussed, along with opportunities for stem cell therapy to treat arthritis, tendonitis, burns, COPD, kidney failure and Alzheimer’s. The show lasted almost an hour.

To hear the entire show, simply click below!

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