Under normal circumstances and with normal techniques, it can take several months to treat ischial bursitis.
However, with the regenerative techniques our clinic uses, it may be possible to eliminate inflammation and regenerate the tissues of your body much more quickly — and even to help in cases where ordinary treatments have already failed.
How Regenerative Medicine Addresses The Root Cause, Not The Symptoms
Normal medical treatments often focus on alleviating the symptoms, rather than addressing the root causes. NSAIDs, for example, seek to reduce inflammation.
Yet it is that inflammation which the body uses as part of its healing process. While these drugs can therefore provide short-term pain relief, rather than promoting healing, they reduce the small degree of healing which naturally takes place.
The goal of regenerative medicine is to actually heal the patient’s ischial bursitis.
It does this by amplifying and enhancing the body’s own healing mechanisms.
Cells and healing factors are taken from elsewhere in the body, concentrated, and injected into the injured area where they go to work repairing the bursitis. (Depending on the type of therapy, these cells might be stem cells, platelet rich plasma — PRP — or others.)
The reason that ischial bursitis treatment is so difficult for conventional medicine has to do with the nature of the injury.
An ischial bursitis happens when inflammation develops between the bony projection known as the ischial tuberosity, and the hamstring tendon which passes over it.
This condition might be triggered by any number of causes, but sports injuries and prolonged sitting on hard surfaces are the most common.
In fact, sports are so well known for producing an ischial bursitis that some practitioners have taken to calling it “runner’s butt” or even just “sports butt.”
When an ischial bursitis develops and the bursa (the fluid filled sac which cushions the hamstring from the bone) becomes inflamed, it can be quite painful. It’s common for patients to experience a pain in the lower buttocks which appears when they sit down.
The patient’s lower leg may also be numb or start tingling, and flexing the knee may aggravate these conditions.
Why Regenerative Treatments Work
At Regenerative Medicine Specialists, we focus on providing treatments that can be accomplished on an in-office same-day basis.
Unlike surgical therapies, with our methods there is no hospital stay needed.
In general, we usually work with either stem cell or platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapies.
Both of them work on the regenerative principle, which is as simple as it is elegant. Just as how some animals are able to regrow tails if they are cut off, so too can the human body regenerate (smaller) parts of itself with stem cells.
Applying stem cells taken from other parts of the patient’s body — or PRP, which has a similar effect — it is possible to heal the degeneration and injuries producing disability or pain.
Stem cells and PRP alike are currently in your body, but dormant. For treatment, a small volume of them are taken from where they currently are, concentrated, and injected into the injured area.
There, they both help heal and help bring in more healing cells to heal the underlying problem which is causing the inflammation and pain.
Mention stem cells, and the controversial topic of embryonic stem cell research comes to mind.
It’s therefore crucial to underline that the stem cell therapy used for regenerative medicine is adult stem cell therapy.
It is not the subject of any ethical controversy, since in this kind of therapy the stem cells are taken directly from the patient themselves. Adult stem cell therapy is in fact a separate area of research from embryonic stem cells.
What Are Stem Cells?
As one might guess form the name, all of the 300+ types of human cells “stem” from special, more primitive and undifferentiated cells. These cells are the precursors of the specialized cells making up our blood, bones, brain cells, muscles, heart cells, organs, skin, and the like.
Stem cells come in two types: adult, and embryonic.
Adult stem cells, as used in regenerative therapies, are present in a number of types of tissue long after birth — for example, the bones, brain, intestine, kidneys, liver, skin, muscle, nervous system, and pancreas. These cells are designed to help repair and replace injured tissue.
Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, are present in the newly fertilized egg inside 5 days after fertilization. They’re present before the egg has been implanted into the uterus wall. The stem cells are about the size of a grain of sugar, and the “ball” of stem cells is known as the blastocyte.
Why Is There A Controversy?
For a long time, scientists believed adult stem cells were less capable than they actually are, and as a result focused on researching embryonic stem cells.
In order to get embryonic stem cells, they’re usually taken from the left-over fertilized eggs which result from the in vitro fertilization process. (Couples using in-vitro fertilization, where the fertilization is done outside the body, will have multiple eggs and sperm fertilized.
This is to ensure implanting them back into the woman will ‘take.’) Around 50-60% of the resulting embryos are not considered viable.
Since the Catholic Church believes life starts at conception, the Church strongly disagrees with making any use of the resulting ball of cells. The fact that the cells could become human if they were implanted means that, in Church doctrine, they have the same status as a fetus.
No use of the fertilized eggs for any reason except re-implanting them is permitted. Other Christian sects and religions have adopted this position also.
Why Not Use Adult Stem Cells in Research?
Since adult stem cells — the types used by Regenerative Medicine Specialists in stem cell therapy — do not have any ethical or religious concerns associated with them, it would seem logical to avoid the controversial embryonic type entirely. However, for a long time adult stem cells were thought to be less capable than they are. Only recently has it been shown that adult stem cells are able to change into other types of cells than the tissue from which they were taken, for example.
While embryonic stem cells still have some benefits for scientists working in the lab, much research is now shifting to adult stem cells.
How Does This Impact Stem Cell Treatment?
Now that scientists have been able to reverse adult stem cells from particular tissues into many different cell types, the door has been opened to making adult stem cell therapy even more powerful and versatile than before.
At no point is there any involvement of the controversial embryonic stem cells. Instead, research is underway to use the non-controversial adult stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, deafness, and even baldness.
Knee injuries are quite common.
Estimates are that they are responsible for more than 1 million surgeries every year.
About 650,000 of those are arthroscopic meniscal procedures.
Considering that in particular these meniscal procedures can leave the knee in an unstable condition (the re-operation rate for post-meniscectomy procedures may be up to 29%) this is a very high number.
Fortunately, for some patients, regenerative medicine may help provide knee joint pain relief without painful and invasive surgery.
What Causes Knee Pain?
In order to understand why it’s so important to find alternatives to surgery for knee joint pain relief, it’s worth first understanding where the pain comes from in the first place, and the knee’s anatomy.
One of the most frequently injured components is the meniscus, a fibrocartilagionous, crescent-shaped structure which is actually divided into two specific parts: the medial and lateral menisci.
These menisci give the knee its structural integrity, while delivering lubrication and nutrition to the articular cartilage and shock absorption to the structure as a whole when moving around. A number of ligaments also work with the mensci in tandem, in order to prevent overextension.
The menisci can get damaged in two ways: gradual overuse and acute injury. Tears tend to be the most common form of injury. The trouble with the meniscus is it’s poorly vascularized — it has limited blood flow. (Just 10-25% of the meniscus has a direct supply of blood.) If the area is injured, the chances of an internal, natural repair are limited. The other areas cannot heal from injuries at all.
Identifying A Meniscal Tear
Patients who suffer a meniscus tear as a result of trauma or sudden injury experience immediate, sudden pain, often accompanied by a kind of pop. If the tear is the result of overuse and ongoing stress, the pain will tend to be less obtrusive. It simply increases in time.
For both cases, the injury is usually accompanied by some swelling and an overall reduction in mechanical function and mobility. Meniscal tears are often also accompanied by popping, clicking, or locking in the knee joint.
Though many patients decide to seek help as a result of overt symptoms like these, a surprising number of patients have torn menisci yet don’t realize it. One study found that 60% of patients whose knees got an MRI scan showed a meniscal tear, though they didn’t have the symptoms.
As a result, patients who have an MRI for knee pain come back with a mensical tear may have had the tear silently for 20 years or more — yet their doctors may recommend surgery.
Healing The Knee Without Surgery
Ultimately, the problem with surgery is that it cannot change the lack of a blood supply to the meniscus. The surgery does not allow the body to heal itself, so surgeries often result in more pain, instability, and degeneration.
Instead, PRP or stem cell therapy may be able to help with knee pain, and do it without surgery. PRP therapy in particular delivers to the damaged or torn meniscus an ‘extra dose’ of the things it needs: healing factors like platelets, which allow the meniscus to heal itself.
Best of all, this procedure does not require a hospital visit or any physical therapy for recovery. Regenerative techniques can often be done on a same-day, in-office basis.
For more than a decade now, platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been used for treating the many problems which can afflict the shoulder — torn and injured ligaments and tendons, tendonitis at the rotator cuff, impingements, and more.
Among the conditions which it may help is shoulder impingement — a painful condition which produces shoulder pain as a result of bursitis or tendonitis in the acromiclavicular joint, or due to rotator cuff tendonitis.
This condition is frequently over-diagnosed, and many doctors are very fast to recommend surgery, yet surgery often leaves patients with residual pain even after the procedure.
PRP therapy therefore represents a welcome alternative for many patients.
What Is A Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingements begin with bursitis or tendonitis in the acromioclavicular joint, or with a tendonitis in the rotator cuff.
The acromioclavicular joint is the joint which allows the clavicle to articulate with the frontal part of the scapula.
In theory, excessive impingement which is associated with the rotator cuff tendons rubbing over the scapula and under the clavicle results in shoulder pain. Nevertheless, many doctors are too quick to diagnose this as the cause of a particular patient’s pain — and too quick to offer surgery as the best method of treatment for shoulder pain in these patients.
As with back pain, most of these cases can be treated successfully with conservative therapy. On the other hand, an MRI scan can help assess the amount of rotator cuff or shoulder joint tissue injury.
A careful approach to recommending surgery is worthwhile as many patients who have arthroscopic surgery for this condition end up still suffering from pain even after the procedure. They also must undergo weeks or months worth of rehabilitative therapy.
How Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy May Be An Effective Treatment For Shoulder Pain
Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, may offer patients a non-surgical treatment for rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain. PRP therapy works by enhancing the body’s natural process of healing, rather than cutting away tissue or injecting steroids.
The therapy begins when the patient’s blood is drawn and then processed using a sterile technique. The PRP is isolated and then drawn off, producing a platelet concentration which may be as much as 700% of the baseline.
These platelets contain growth factors, cytokines, and proteins which, once injected, will trigger a cascade of tissue regeneration and healing.
Then, the PRP is injected into the region of “impingement” or damaged tissue. White blood cells (macrophages) come into the region where the PRP was injected to clean away the damaged tissue.
A protein matrix forms to which the new tissue attaches. Fibroblasts come in to form new and strong collagen fibers, rebuilding the damaged tendons, ligaments, or cartilage. Stem cells are also recruited into the region — they differentiate into whichever tissue cells are needed to produce healing.
This whole process happens over 6-8 weeks.
Compared with surgery, PRP therapy takes just an hour or so and can be done in the office, without a hospital stay. Patients do not need rehab and don’t have any “down time.”
For many patients with shoulder pain, PRP may be able to help them avoid the many disadvantages of invasive therapies.
The Regenerative Medicine Specialists of Camarillo, CA introduce the exciting new field of regenerative medicine!
Hi, I’m Dr.Dale Kiker. And I’m Dr.Joe Cabaret. We’re excited to welcome you to Regenerative Medicine Specialists, and you can find us at regendoctor.com. We’re located in Camarillo, California, and we treat patients from all over the place. We’re super excited about this new therapy, and we’d like to invite you to come down and visit us. If you have a chronic, painful condition, you may be a candidate for our treatment. Contact us right away so we can get you back into the game.