This article was written for our sponsor, Flexogenix.
Those suffering from joint pain are acutely aware of just how much their life is altered by the condition. Affecting regions in the body such as the knees, hips and shoulders, the pain often leads to limited mobility, making aspects of daily routines — from afternoon walks to vacuuming the house — more difficult to complete.
For some, surgery may seem like the only solution to alleviate their chronic pain, but a joint replacement surgery can cost $57,000 on average and take up to a year to fully heal. While certain situations do warrant surgical intervention, many joint issues are minor enough they can be effectively treated through a number of non-surgical methods.
These five ways to treat chronic joint pain have proven to increase mobility, alleviate symptoms and restore patients to their daily routine with minimal downtime.
Instant pain relief and hyaluronic acid treatment
Advanced imaging techniques map the sensory nerves around the knee. Utilizing an innovative procedure to reduce nerve pain around the joints, the nerves are prevented from continuing to transmit pain signals and offer immediate pain relief.
After the imaging and pain relief, viscosupplementation can be administered. Viscosupplementation is an FDA-approved procedure in which injections of hyaluronic acid are put into the knee to increase lubrication and provide added cushioning. At Flexogenix — a pain management physician practice with locations across North Carolina — the team of board-certified physicians have modified this method to create an FDA-approved Knee-Flex 5-Step Protocol.
Typically, those suffering from chronic knee pain turn to expensive surgery for long-term relief, or steroid shots as a short-term solution. The Knee-Flex treatment, however, combines the best of both treatments — long-term relief and a lower price point, as well as a significant restoration of mobility to patients.
When the viscosupplementation injection is introduced to the joint, it reinvigorates the cartilage of the knee. What sets the Flexogenix treatment apart from others, however, are the proprietary treatments that follow the injections, including assessing contributing factors to joint pain, knee alignment through bracing, and promoting further healing through the body's platelet rich plasma.
In tandem, the five steps have shown a significant reduction in pain and increased comfort and mobility for patients.
Harnessing platelet rich plasma
By harnessing healing agents already present in your bloodstream, the platelet-rich plasma treatment is able to give your body's healing system a natural boost. The treatment is completed by injecting a healthy concentration of regenerative PRP found in the patient's blood into the afflicted region of the body, where it then repairs injured muscles or joints. This method has proven most successful for those suffering from tendonitis and mild arthritis, and has even shown to be more effective than traditional corticosteroids.
When used in tandem with the Progeni-Flex and Knee-Flex 5-Step protocols — two additional treatments offered by Flexogenix — the PRP method's success can be accelerated, providing long-term pain relief and increased function.
Regenerative Cell Therapy
Similar to platelet-rich plasma, regenerative cells are naturally occurring in the body — this treatment simply capitalizes on what's already there. As we age, however, our bodies tend to have a harder time harnessing these cells to their full potential. Regenerative cell therapy aims to redirect these healthy cells into areas of the body that are in need, such as injured joints.
The therapy centers on two self-derived methods for making these cells more effective. First, the most common and minimally invasive technique redistributes regenerative cells found in the body's fat into other regions. The second technique, referred to as Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate, sources from bone marrow and is best for patients who have cartilage, muscle or joint tissues that are torn or injured and in need of repair.
Thanks to a highly accurate, image-guided delivery method, this treatment— referred to as Progeni-Flex when used in tandem with PRP — has proven highly effective for a number of patients, including active athletes and those with osteoarthritis.
Multi-step rehabilitation and conditioning treatment
Treating joint pain is one part of recovery, but without addressing factors that may have caused the pain, treatment may fall flat or only yield temporary results. The Kineti-Flex program was developed by Flexogenix as a way to individualize treatment, thereby increasing the longevity of relief.
Conducted through hour-long, one-on-one sessions with a certified trainer, the treatment is broken up into three sections.
The first revolves around brace fitting and orthotics, as a designated trainer analyzes joint alignment, assesses gait and structural issues, and determines the most effective measures moving forward.
During the second session, a seven-point movement analysis is completed, followed by an evaluation of issues with range of motion, mobility and stability. From there, the trainer is able to determine a baseline for exercise and conditioning that can help correct these issues.
Finally, the last session includes a personalized home workout plan to use moving forward, as well as training and instruction for each exercise.
Imaging technology and viscosupplementation
The VisCare-Flex model was derived from the same principles as viscosupplementation, and the approach has been widely used in Europe for years. With a few modifications, Flexogenix has brought the method to North Carolina to treat joint pain in the hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and ankles of patients.
By using imaging technology to zero in on the affected joints with near-perfect accuracy, the medical team is able to have a clear picture of the joint throughout the procedure. Once completed, the treatment helps to prevent any further degradation of cartilage and introduce natural lubrication into the joint through hyaluronic acid.
All in all, the procedure takes less than one hour, and patients don't have to worry about downtime for recovery like they would have to with surgeries. It may take six to eight months for the treatment to work to its full potential, and the team at Flexogenix can provide continued support and strengthening throughout that time.
This article was written for our sponsor, Flexogenix.