Amniotic fluid for osteoarthritis of the knee has been growing in popularity in recent months. Research continually shows that amniotic fluid, and amniotic tissue based products, are able to reduce pain and inflammation in joints afflicted with osteoarthritis, and even have longer lasting beneficial effects than other treatment options, all while showing a lower risk of side effects and complications.
How do amniotic injection products compare to traditional forms of treatment for osteoarthritis? This article from The American Academy of Pain Medicine shows excellent comparisons of amniotic fluid injections versus traditional hyaluronic treatments and shows the favored option to be the amniotic fluid treatment. While the preferred treatment option of receiving hyaluronic (HA) injections has been the standard for years, it still proves to be inconclusive as to whether there are any actual beneficial effects on the osteoarthritis condition. Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear condition where the afflicted joint is experiencing pain and friction caused by rubbing action during normal use. Prolonged degradation of the joint tissues exacerbates the problem and most current therapies are only treating symptoms, and in some cases inducing a greater degradation effect. (The American Academy of Pain Medicine, 2015)
Studies show that hyaluronic injections provide some temporary relief from osteoarthritic pain due to the lubrication effect that reduces the friction which is causing the pain associated with osteoarthritis. However, the effects are treating the symptoms only and the problem remains. The pain returns after the HA injection wears off and the patient is back to square one and still in pain. One other option—which is not suitable for long-term use—is a corticosteroid injection. The effects are temporary and do not help the condition. Also, the negative side effects of steroid injections are ever-present and providers are often unwilling to consider this treatment unless there are no other options. (The American Academy of Pain Medicine, 2015)
Amniotic fluid injections present an excellent, safe, and longer lasting alternative for treating osteoarthritis due to its cushioning effect similar to hyaluronic acid and its anti-inflammatory and regenerative components. In The American Academy of Pain Medicine study, patients had their osteoarthritis graded and their pain was measured. Patients then received a single injection of amniotic fluid. The patients were asked to report their pain levels at 30 days and then again at 90 days. 170 patients reported an average of about 68% improvement in their osteoarthritis knee pain, but the more shocking result was that patients reported an even greater improvement in their pain after 90 days, up to 82% improvement. To see an increase in positive results, long after other treatments would have already faded completely, makes amniotic fluid an extremely valuable treatment option for osteoarthritis. (The American Academy of Pain Medicine, 2015)
Amniotic fluid and amniotic tissue injections present an excellent option for the treatment of osteoarthritis. As more research is presented we will better understand the mechanisms of success behind these treatments. Regenerative medicine is proving to be a key component of patient care and successful outcomes for conditions that have had little progress in recent decades. As confidence in these treatment options increases we will see treatments like amniotic fluid and amniotic tissue injections become the front-line therapy of choice in main stream medical practice.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine, Director of Communications. (2015, March 19). Amniotic Fluid May be Safe and Effective Alternative to Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis Pain: Interim Results [Press release]. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://www.painmed.org/2015press/files/amniotic-fluid-may-be-safe-and-effective-alternative-to-hyaluronic-acid-for-osteoarthritis-pain.pdf