The landscape of treating musculoskeletal conditions is changing as more people turn to orthobiologics for a more natural and longer-lasting alternative to steroid injections. In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages of orthobiologics over steroid injections, such as fewer side effects and increased regenerative potential, and delve into the mechanisms of action, evidence for efficacy and safety, and the risks and limitations of each treatment approach.
How it works
When it comes to treating musculoskeletal conditions, orthobiologics, and steroid injections work differently. Orthobiologics tap into the body’s own repair processes by providing growth factors, cytokines, stem cells, or extracellular matrix. These substances help promote tissue regeneration and healing. On the other hand, steroid injections focus on suppressing inflammation and pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Although they provide short-term relief, they don’t necessarily address the root cause of the issue. Orthobiologics have a more regenerative effect on the body, working to restore damaged tissues, while steroid injections primarily have a palliative effect, focusing on temporary pain relief.
The world of orthobiologics is filled with exciting possibilities, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), bone marrow concentrate, adipose-derived stem cells, and extracellular vesicles. These substances have been studied for their potential to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. Numerous studies have shown positive outcomes of orthobiologics for conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendinopathy, rotator cuff tears, and trochanteric bursitis. These treatments often result in improved function and reduced pain. Of course, there are potential risks and limitations, including infection, allergic reaction, variability in effectiveness, and cost. Nonetheless, these risks are generally considered to be low when compared to the side effects of steroid injections.