More than 30 million women and men in the United States have the age- and overuse-related joint disorder known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can’t be cured and tends to get worse as you get older. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life downing painkillers that irritate your stomach and alter your gut flora.
At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey — with locations in Princeton, Monroe, Somerville, and Flemington, New Jersey — our expert rheumatologists want you to be both pain-free and healthy. Here we present two of the best osteoarthritis treatments that don’t just alleviate pain but actually improve the way your joints work.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments were first popularized when athletes like Tiger Woods received the treatment to repair injuries quickly so they could return to their sport, and now PRP is in the mainstream. This regenerative therapy uses your own blood to help your body accelerate tissue healing and resolve everything from sagging skin to hair loss. And joint pain.
At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, we create the PRP by withdrawing some blood and then creating a serum that’s filled with a high concentration of your platelets. Platelets are cell fragments that help your body heal wounds and build new skin, blood vessels, and other tissues.
When we inject PRP serum directly into your joints, it helps subdue inflammation. That alone can ease your pain. But a series of PRP treatments also helps repair and even regrow damaged cartilage. Within weeks to months, you notice less swelling and pain, and greater mobility, in your treated joints.
As your skin and other tissues — including your cartilage — age or get worn down from overuse, they lose vital components, including a lubricating agent called hyaluronic acid (HA).
Healthy cartilage and skin are filled with HA, which attracts water and keeps your tissues moist and plump. The HA in your joints helps your bones glide over one another without friction or pain.
When you lose HA in your skin, it sags and wrinkles. When you lose HA in your cartilage and other joint tissues, they become compressed and thin, so they can’t absorb shocks and protect your bones. Without HA, too, your joints have less lubrication and encounter more friction when you move.
We offer HA treatments that our doctors inject straight into your affected joints. When HA is used to rejuvenate cartilage and other joint tissues, it’s known as viscosupplementation.
We have different types of viscosupplementation, ranging from a single-dose treatment to those that we give in a series. Although we usually use viscosupplementation to treat knee arthritis, you may be a candidate if you have hip arthritis, too. Viscosupplementation can keep your joints comfortable for months at a time.
To find out if PRP or HA injections are right for your osteoarthritis pain and stiffness, contact us today by phone or use our online system to request an appointment.