Although it’s common to think of muscle sprains and tears happening only to athletes, they can also occur on the job or in the home. One wrong move, a fall, or some other kind of trauma can lead to significant injury to muscles in the back, the legs, the arms, or shoulders.
A strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when the fibers in the muscles are overstretched. When those fibers actually become stretched so thin that they break, it becomes a muscle tear.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take anywhere from a few days to weeks to fully heal from these injuries. Muscle regeneration usually starts during the first four to five days after injury, peaks at two weeks, and then gradually diminishes three to four weeks after the injury.[i] In the most severe cases, however, it may take surgery to repair a muscle tear.
But thanks to advances in technology and our understanding of how to harness the body’s own cells’ to aid in healing, cellular therapy specialists can help patients heal more quickly and naturally from less critical muscle strains and tears.
How Do Cellular Treatments Promote Healing?
Cellular treatments for musculoskeletal injuries such as muscle strains or tears operate on the simple principle that certain cells within the body have the ability to stimulate the repair and regeneration of new cells.
Specifically, specialists in the field of cellular therapy can call upon the healing power of the body’s own stem cells and platelets to help injured muscle cells heal naturally.
- Platelet Rich Plasma: Platelets in blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process. Platelet rich plasma treatments can be customized to create specific formulations for each type of tissue being treated (muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage).
- Stem Cell Treatments: Cells derived from the patient’s own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue called “pericytes” produce molecules that spur the production of new blood vessels, awaken other stem cells and encourage newly forming cells to produce collagen and other proteins essential for creating new healthy new tissue. Muscle tissues that attach to the skeleton possess excellent regenerative capacity and have special “muscle satellite cells”[ii] that can differentiate to form new muscle fibers, and fuse with existing muscle to repair an injury.[iii]
A Non-Surgical Approach to Helping the Body Heal
Skilled practitioners of orthopedic regenerative medicine take great care to ensure the right formulations of the patient’s own cellular products are used to address the specific injury being treated.
The process begins with a needle aspiration of the patient’s own blood or stem cells (known as autologous stem cells). Using highly specialized equipment—not simple bedside centrifuges—the healing properties of these products are concentrated in a lab and then, using ultrasound or fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, these super-healers are reinjected to the exact site of the injury.
An increasing body of evidence is revealing that this regenerative approach to harnessing the body’s own natural healing properties can help heal muscle strains and tears more quickly without surgery and any associated risks, including infection or scarring.