A Functional Approach to Your Osteoarthritis Diagnosis 

Osteoarthritis is inflammation and degeneration in the joints.

Table of Contents

What is Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is a term we’ve all heard before, but what exactly is it? It is a general term that is used to describe conditions that create inflammation in the joints. It is further divided into sub-disease categories that all have their own diagnostic criteria and symptoms. In some instances, like with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is an autoimmune condition. The most prevalent type of arthritis, affecting over 32.5 million adults in America, is Osteoarthritis, which is the result of degeneration of joints.

It is often referred to as wear and tear arthritis because it is often caused by the natural aging of joints. It can also be the result of additional stress on joints from lifestyle choices and injuries. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, decreased range of motion, cracking and popping sensations, and instability. Symptoms of osteoarthritis can impact everyone differently and typically worsen overtime when left untreated. As you can see here, this shows us varying stages of the diseases. As we progress through the model, the changes in the anatomy can indicate to us increased negative symptoms of the disease.

How We Treat Osteoarthritis with Functional Medicine.

The most important thing we can do for disease management is work to reduce inflammation in the joints. We want to minimize inflammation in hopes of alleviating pain along with slowing the progression of the diseased state.

We protect against inflammation in a couple of different ways. One way is daily intake of anti-inflammatory supplements like CurcuPlus and CBD tinctures. Another way we aid in the reduction of inflammation is via platelet rich plasma injections. PRP injections are minimally invasive and use the patient’s own plasma, which is isolated from their blood. PRP has a high concentration of growth factors and platelets that when injected into the arthritic joint will work to reduce inflammation.

After tackling inflammation, we want to utilize regenerative tools to help the body rebuild and repair the damaged tissue. We often work with a peptide called BPC-157. Like PRP, BPC-157 helps to reduce inflammation in the joint. It also accelerates wound healing by increasing the number of circulating fibroblasts, which are cells that help create connective tissue.

Another regenerative tool we utilize for osteoarthritis is Stem Cell therapy. We offer a couple of different types of stem cell therapy at our office in West Palm Beach: Autologous and Allogeneic. Autologous stem cell therapy uses the patient’s own stem cells that we can isolate in a minimally invasive procedure and inject directly into the affected joint. These stem cells have the potential to stimulate the production of new tissue and modulate the inflammatory response within the joint. These cells also release growth factors and cytokines that promote tissue repair and reduce pain and inflammation.

The other type of stem cell we work with is allogeneic cells, meaning they are derived from donor tissue. This donor tissue is typically umbilical birth tissue. For joints specifically, we like an allogenic tissue product called Wharton’s Jelly. Wharton’s jelly is a gel-like matrix composed of various substances, including hyaluronic acid, proteoglycans, and collagen fibers. This provides cushioning and support to deteriorated joints. In addition to its structural support, Wharton’s jelly contains different cell types that support the production of collagen, cartilage, and bone.

Be Proactive with Your Diagnosis

Managing your arthritis can feel daunting. But we believe that by taking small incremental steps, you can achieve relief from your arthritis. You will likely see ebbs and flows with your daily pain and symptoms. What we always want to remember is that this is a disease of wear and tear. It took many years to degenerate the tissue and it may take some time to see maximum, long lasting relief.

You know your body best. If you are noticing you are going longer periods of time without having relief, talk with your R3 Health practitioner. Together, you and your practitioner will adjust your plan to best tackle your evolving symptoms.

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