Advancements In Health Technology
Technology in medicine – just like all the other aspects of our lives, from homes to cars to our phones, technology is becoming an increasingly important and even necessary component of modern medicine. Electronic medical records are helping improve healthcare for patients and providers, and advanced imaging is a cornerstone of our diagnostic paradigm, proven by the rising numbers of CT’s, ultrasounds, and MRI’s performed every year.
However, technology isn’t always about “sexy” things like lasers and advanced scans. Sometimes technological advances in more ordinary areas can be incredibly impactful. For instance, for a common symptom such as joint pain, results are improving because of:
Platelet Rich Plasma – PRP has recently been rapidly gaining positive status in the medical community as more new research develops, although it has been used as an injectable healing agent for joints for over a decade. It utilizes the growth factors stored by a component of your own blood to accelerate the body’s healing cascade, and can even grow new cartilage in response to the enhanced healing response. It’s also now even more convenient for the patient as newer PRP kits require very little blood, and can isolate a significant amount of platelets for excellent effect.
Injectable Gels – Most simply thought of as “motor oil for your knee”, these have been around for decades. However, gradual improvements in the chemistry and molecular structures of these gels improves their lubrication and protection capabilities while allowing them to last longer than before.
Bracing – Joint braces used to seem big enough to have their own zip code. Improvements in materials and design have made braces smaller and more streamlined, making them much easier to wear all day and even hide under clothes. This is crucial to “off-load” over stressed structures and prevent further erosion.
Low Level Laser Therapy – “Cold” lasers that help improve cellular healing response by using a specific type of light, rather than using the heat of conventional lasers, have also been utilized successfully for years. However, newer lasers can be applied for very short periods of time, sometimes as little as three minutes, and still be highly effective at reducing inflammation and pain.
There are a multitude of constantly advancing options available for today’s patients that suffer with chronic conditions but no matter the situation, combining multiple types of therapy will often result in the best possible outcome to improve function.