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When we are in pain, we often pursue all remedies available to get out of pain. Over the years injections for pain relief have grown in popularity as they can provide a quick reduction in pain. Unfortunately, pain relief provided from these methods are frequently short lived, and symptoms will often return.

It is important to know your options and review the pros and cons of such treatments with your healthcare provider to determine if one of these procedures are right for you.

Cortisone Injections
Cortisone is a type of corticosteroid commonly used to decrease pain and inflammation in the body. These types of injections provide the patient with short term pain relief and reduction of inflammation; however, these properties are short lived, and symptoms often return. Cortisone shots are commonly used within the joints of the spine and peripheral joints for conditions like osteoarthritis, tendinitis, or other joint related issues.
Pros
Reduction of the inflammatory response.
Reduces the pain caused by inflammation.
Cons
Slows the healing process.
Inhibition of collagen repair which can lead to accelerated joint degeneration.
Can lead to the breakdown of bones, bone loss and potential fractures from prolonged use.

Overall Thoughts About Cortisone
Although cortisone shots provide great short-term relief, steroids delay tissue healing and can lead to joint degeneration. However, if used carefully they can aid in calming a flare up allowing the patient to continue with their healing and corrective treatments.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
Platelet rich plasma is the process of drawing blood from the patient’s body then the extracted blood is centrifuged to further extract concentrated blood platelets. These concentrated platelets are then injected directly back into the site of injury to promote tissue healing. PRP is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal injuries by facilitating tissue healing and regeneration. This treatment is great for areas of the body that have low blood supply.

Pros
Introduction of concentrated blood platelets to the injured area to initiate blood maturation and proliferation.
Increased blood stimulates cellular activity in the area helping initiate the healing response and tissue regeneration.
Cons
High out of pocket cost as most insurance policies do not cover this type of procedure.
Very few standardized protocols
Multiple injections are often needed for significant relief.

Overall Thoughts About PRP
PRP injections offer a more natural and conservative approach to pain management and tissue healing, the results vary. The treatments are expensive and come at a higher out of pocket cost, with most patients receiving multiple treatments.

Stem Cell Therapy
Stem Cells are specialized cells from which all other cells with specific functions are derived from. Stem cells can be found in two forms, embryonic or adult stem cells. Stem cell treatment is a type of regenerative therapy which utilizes extracted stem cells which are injected into the target site in hopes of developing into specific cells that can be used to regenerate and repair diseased or damaged tissues.
Pros
The versatility of stem cell differentiation is promising in regenerative medicine.
It is believed to be less likely to be rejected or create an adverse immune response because stem cells are the building blocks of all specialized cells.

Cons

Adult stem cells are available in limited quantities and are limited in their ability to differentiate.

Embryonic stem cells raise ethical concerns of cultivation.

High out of pocket costs as most insurance policies do not cover this type of procedure.

Overall Thoughts About Stem Cell Therapy
Research into stem cell therapy is promising but still evolving. Adult stem cells are available in smaller quantities, offer less differentiation abilities and cannot be stored and cultivated for long periods of time. These factors often lead to multiple treatments and high out of pocket costs.

Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy is a type of regenerative therapy which uses a sugar or saline solution which is injected into the target site or joint which triggers an immune response to initiate tissue healing. The solution acts as an irritant which triggers an immune response which brings immune cells to the area stimulating tissue healing, aiding in healing of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue in the area. It is commonly used for joint pain and other musculoskeletal injuries.
Pros
Possible reduction of pain and tissue healing
Can be used in conjunction with other pain management treatments.
Cons
Potential for treatment to worsen your condition by increasing pain and inflammation.
Prolotherapy often requires multiple treatments to be effective, leading to higher out of pocket cost.

Overall Thoughts About Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy can be an effective tool in pain management, but it should not replace your current pain management routine. It is important to understand the risks and potential side effects of treatment before considering if it is right for you.

Final Thoughts

When considering pain management options, it is important to remember that these treatments are not long-term solutions and should not replace your existing palliative or maintenance care routines. However, when utilized properly these treatments can be a valuable tool on your healing journey. Be sure to do your research and consult your health care provider to see if these treatments are right for you.

For answers on whether you believe that pain management would be an option for you during your treatments here in our office then please reach out to frontdesk@stenosiscenter.com or call our office at 310-451-5851.

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