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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.

Learn How To Take Control Of Your Chronic Pain Event

We look forward to seeing you at this Control Your Pain event sponsored by:

If you suffer from chronic and debilitating pain, we look forward to seeing you at this free seminar to hear about new technologies and treatments for neuropathic pain sufferers. Pain is very personal and is the most common reason why Americans seek medical attention. Conventional treatments for chronic pain vary depending on the severity. Come join us to discuss various options to control your pain and learn what might work for you.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
6:00PM
OR
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
6:00PM
Hampton Inn Atlanta Perimeter Conference Room
769 Hammond Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30328
Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Family & guests welcome.

Please RSVP by phone or text to 404-993-5362 or online at CYPevents.com/1900 for the March 27th date and CYPevents.com/1901 for the April 30th date.

Justin Minyard discusses how balanced pain management has helped him overcome opioid addiction.

A woman holding her spine in pain, wondering chronic pain and depression.

Chronic Pain and Depression: Helpful Tips

Many of us have suffered from or have loved ones who have suffered from chronic pain. Frequently the only recourse offered for dealing with this pain is another pill. However, constant use of pain medications comes with its own problems including the potential for addiction, sleeplessness, constipation, anxiety, and many others.

Chronic pain also affects those around you as it is difficult to see someone you love struggling to perform basic tasks or unable to do the things they used to enjoy. One of the most common problems faced by those with ongoing pain management issues is depression. Learn how to cope with chronic pain and depression.

A Common Chronic Pain Question

Q: What can someone with chronic pain do to avoid or help reduce depression?

A: Pain interferes with your ability to sleep, do your daily chores, and to have a good quality of life. Therefore it is not surprising that over two-thirds of those who have chronic pain issues report struggling with depression. Constant pain alters the neuro-chemical output in your brain and can negatively impact your entire view of life. Nevertheless, there are two basic steps you can take when you feel yourself sliding into depression these steps will help you regain control without having to take another pill.

First of all, remember to breathe!

When a person is in pain their breathing speeds up, even if they don’t realize it. Try slowing your breathing and focusing on breathing from your diaphragm (belly breathing), this type of breathing exercise will help you feel calm and relaxed. A quiet state of mind leads to a reduction in perceived pain and a better mood. There are Smartphone Apps like “Calm” and “Relax Meditation” that can help by providing guided breathing exercises.

Secondly, move!

It is common to be afraid of moving when you are in pain, fearing it may cause you to hurt more, but sitting too long will worsen your pain! For every 20 minutes, you sit you should get up and move around for at least 2 minutes. Try taking a short walk or do some stretching. Movement triggers the production of “feel good” chemicals in our brains, helping to reduce both pain and sadness.
If you start these activities regularly and you still feel depressed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are trained mental health professionals who can work with you and give you tools to learn to manage your mood and your pain. You may not be able to alter the underlying reality, but you can change how you perceive and think about it. With the right tools, you can manage chronic pain and depression.

A man holding his neck in pain, Understanding chronic pain. .

Understanding Chronic Pain

Intended as a warning sign of physical injury, pain that lasts too long can become a disease of its own. Chronic pain is a condition in which pain has occurred for three months or longer and often long after the initial injury has healed. Understanding chronic pain is an important step toward finding the proper treatment for this life-changing and potentially debilitating health condition.

The Pain Signaling Process

The nervous system is comprised of the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that run throughout the body, and the central nervous system, the spinal cord, and brain. Stimuli are anything that triggers transmissions through the nervous system, such as a hot stove, soft animal, or sharp needle. Sensations such as pain are normally perceived after stimuli in the periphery triggers a transmission that is relayed through the spine to the brain where it is interpreted as heat, cold, pain, etc.

Reflexes, which use similar nerve transmission pathways, are often interpreted at the level of the spinal cord. The shorter distance between the site of stimuli and the location of interpretation allows quicker responses to potentially dangerous situations.

Chronic Pain: Pathological Pain Signaling

Long-term pain transmissions can lead to alterations in the pain signaling process. The brain becomes so accustomed to recognizing the presence of painful stimuli from a particular location that the brain’s neural pathways are re-shaped to facilitate the transmission of this signal. Eventually, the pain signaling process related to a particular body site is so well established that it no longer requires stimuli: the brain senses pain even after the stimuli have been removed. In addition, the reflexes and other sensations that utilize the same signaling pathways can also be altered. This concept of re-wired neural pathways is essential to the understanding of appropriate treatments for pain that has become chronic.

Pain Management

Many pain-relieving medications are effective because they reduce the extent to which stimuli can trigger a peripheral nerve. This usually means alleviating swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury. When pain has become chronic, however, the altered pain processing requires treatment that targets the brain as the site of pain relief.
Until recently, few treatments were available to appropriately manage unremitting pain. Opioid medications were once a mainstay for the treatment of pain that has become chronic. While these drugs are essential for short-term and strong pain management, they can carry unwanted side effects and are not the most appropriate option for long-term pain management. New classes of drugs, as well as targeted drug delivery techniques, provide more options for delivering long-term pain treatments right where they are needed and with fewer side effects.

The special care and treatment required for these unique pain conditions make choosing the right health care provider essential for managing pain that has become chronic. Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are proud to provide a variety of long-term pain management options at its 15 locations around the Atlanta metro area. Trust Alliance Spine and Pain Centers to provide lasting relief from long-lasting pain conditions.