Doctor holding in hand Regenerative Medicine

What is Regenerative Medicine?

The Chronic in Chronic Pain

The “chronic” in chronic pain speaks to a hard truth: medicine hasn’t been able to cure the underlying causes of many debilitating conditions.

We’ve known certain things to be impossible. Damaged intervertebral discs can’t be repaired. Some ligament injuries won’t heal. Some joint damage is irreversible. Cartilage, once lost, will not regrow.

Treatment has been limited to helping patients manage the pain caused by these conditions. Sometimes with dangerous opioid painkillers. Sometimes with more effective interventional pain management treatments. But always with the understanding that the root cause of the pain will remain.

Regenerative Medicine Gives New Hope

There’s a revolution underway that offers new hope to people suffering from chronic pain. Regenerative medicine harnesses and amplifies the body’s own healing power to treat conditions once thought untreatable.

According to the National Institutes of Health, regenerative medicine “holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves.”

Some effective regenerative medicine protocols are already available, and others are showing great promise in ongoing clinical trials.

Today, regenerative medicine is empowering us to heal connective tissues, repair damaged cartilage, and rebuild fractured bones.

Tomorrow’s potential is even more exciting. The NIH invites us all to “Imagine a world where there is no donor organ shortage, where victims of spinal cord injuries can walk, and where weakened hearts are replaced. This is the long-term promise of regenerative medicine.”

That’s a vision we’re excited to make real for our patients who suffer from chronic pain.

The Miracles of Today

At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we’re using cutting-edge clinical regenerative medicine protocols to heal some of the conditions that lead to chronic pain. In many cases, the benefits go beyond pain relief to include increased mobility and restored ability. The results have transformed the lives of many patients.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been used since the 1990s to support the healing of bone after spinal injuries and to restore soft tissues after plastic surgery. More recently, PRP has gained wider attention treating the sports injuries of star athletes including Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, and Hines Ward. Today, PRP is used to treat tendonitis, torn ligaments, damaged muscles, and some kinds of inflammation.

PRP comes from your own blood, separated in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and other growth factors. We then inject it into the damaged tissue to promote healing. The procedure usually only takes about 30 minutes. Side effects are minimal, and the risks are low: you’re healing yourself with your own blood components.

Some clinical applications of PRP already have solid evidence of effectiveness. Others are showing promising early results but need further study. At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we’re helping move the science forward on this powerful protocol.

Alpha-2-Macroglobulin (A2M)

Alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M) is a naturally occurring protease inhibitor. Among other functions in the body, it inhibits degradation of cartilage. And it helps other biologic processes repair cartilage more effectively.

For people suffering from osteoarthritis (OA), cartilage breaks down more quickly than it can be repaired. This can lead to debilitating pain in the spine and joints.

We use patented APIC™ technology, developed by Cytonics, to concentrate the naturally occurring A2M in your own blood. We then inject it into damaged joints to reduce further damage and promote healing.

Bone Marrow Aspirated Concentrate (BMAC)

Bone marrow aspirated concentrate (BMAC) is a concentration of your body’s own mesenchymal stem cells and platelets. For people suffering from more severe arthritis that has not responded to more conservative treatments, BMAC can help alleviate pain and promote healing.

An NIH study of BMAC as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis found that, “On average, patients experienced an 84.31% decrease in resting pain, a 61.95% decrease in active pain, and a 55.68% increase in functionality score at the final follow-up.”

We extract bone marrow from your hip, then separate it in a centrifuge to concentrate the stem cells and platelets. We then inject it into the damaged joints. Your body’s own healing processes do the rest.

The Promises of Tomorrow

The body has remarkable natural healing powers. Through regenerative medicine, we’re already bringing relief to many people suffering from chronic pain. And we’re advancing the field toward even greater possibilities.

Maybe, one day we will be regenerating spinal cords, restoring intervertebral discs, and returning joints to full functionality. We’re working hard to bring that day closer, so that we can heal more people with chronic pain and get them back to living their fullest lives.

To explore whether regenerative medicine might be right for your chronic pain, make an appointment today. We’re here for you and ready to help.

Female doctor showing good test results to a male patient. Smiling medical professional sharing good test results with her patient, helping to lead the fight against the opioid crisis.

Leading the Fight Against the Opioid Crisis

A National Epidemic

Recent revelations all over the news are making clear the true risks and costs to public health of prescription opioid painkillers. A study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids in 2016.

In 2017, according to the CDC, more than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses. Approximately 48,000 (69%) of these deaths were due to opioids. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, and they exceed the peak annual deaths due to car crashes, HIV, and gun violence.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in 2017, “Georgia providers wrote 70.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions.” In that same year, 1,014 Georgians died of opioid overdoses.

Approximately 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health, which says, “Although opioids may not always be the best course of treatment for chronic pain, the number of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers has increased dramatically in recent years.”

A Drug of Desperation

For many people suffering from chronic pain, opioid use begins in desperation. Disabled, distressed, and depressed, they seek out anything that will bring them some relief. And for many years, doctors believed pharmaceutical company claims that opioids were relatively safe.

But as the dangers of opioids become tragically apparent, many patients feel caught in an impossible choice. Accept the serious risks of opioid use for the uncertain possibility of some relief. Or continue to suffer the full force of their chronic pain.

But this impossible choice is a false choice. There are alternatives that can bring real relief without the dire risks of opioids.

Real Hope for Healing

Real hope is how to fight a drug of desperation. And when pain is the root cause of that despair — as it so often is with opioids — that means replacing opioids with more effective treatments.

That’s the fight we’ve taken up at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers. To combat the opioid crisis by providing better alternatives for people suffering from chronic pain.

Using multidisciplinary interventional pain management, we help people better manage or treat their pain, without the terrible risks of opioids.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we seek first to understand your pain: both its biology and your experience. Then we work together to create an integrated plan of care:

  • Medical interventions proven effective for your particular condition.
  • Integrated care approach to help you take back what pain has taken from you.
  • Non-opioid prescriptions to support your healing.

We track our clinical outcomes, so we know what actually works. And we’re leading our industry to better protocols through our stringent prescription guidelines and effective non-opioid solutions.

The opioid crisis isn’t just a tragedy of addiction and overdoses. It’s a crisis of people suffering in debilitating pain, despairing that they’ll ever find relief. Interventional pain management can offer real hope for healing that opioids never will.

To explore alternatives to opioids for your chronic pain, make an appointment today. We’re here for you and ready to help.