What is Orthokine therapy and how does it work?

Orthokine therapy is a very interesting alternative to treat symptoms associated with injuries or arthritis. However, some scientists are in favor of this method being applied with caution.

Last update: September 23, 2021

Orthokine therapy is an innovative method to combat pain and inflammation derived from injuries to muscles and tendons or from osteoarthritis. It emerged a little over 10 years ago and it is a biological technique that is very well tolerated by patients.

Orthokine therapy uses a serum that is rich in natural anti-inflammatories. This is obtained from the blood of the same patient, so it does not generate rejections, side effects or interactions with other medications.

The serum is administered by direct injection into the affected area. It has been established that the effectiveness of Orthokine therapy is superior to that of other types of non-surgical procedures. It is classified as a "molecular orthopedic" treatment.

How does Orthokine therapy work?

Orthokine therapy is a biological method to relieve pain and inflammation.

The first thing that is done in Orthokine therapy is to take a blood sample from the patient. This is placed in an incubator for a period of six to eight hours. The objective is to stimulate the white blood cells that are responsible for producing anti-inflammatory proteins.

Afterwards, a centrifugation of the blood is made and, thus, a serum without cells is obtained.. It has anti-inflammatory properties and contains growth factors. This substance must be injected into the affected area.

Since it contains high levels of natural anti-inflammatories, the serum works by inhibiting nerve root irritation, inflammation or injury to tendons or muscles. The remaining serum is frozen for subsequent administrations..

It is indicated that a weekly infiltration is made for a period of between four and six weeks. In any case, continuous treatment for more than eight weeks is not recommended. The improvement is experienced from the first session.

Against what conditions is it used?

Orthokine therapy is often used to treat cases of osteoarthritis. This disease causes degenerative changes in the joints and chronic inflammation. The technique is effective, particularly when applied to the knee.

It is also used to treat other conditions such as the following:

  • Chronic tendon or ligament tear that does not respond to other therapies.
  • Occupational diseases associated with overload in the musculoskeletal system. Includes professional athletes.
  • Injuries to the articular cartilage.
  • Hernias or tendon injuries.
  • Back pain from nerve root inflammation.
  • Discogenic pain.
  • Degenerative disease of the spine.
  • Degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis, mild to moderate.

What benefits have been seen?

Orthokine therapy has proven to be more effective than other techniques. One of the most relevant aspects is that the recovery effect is longer lasting than other therapies. In some cases, improvements are obtained that last up to two or three years.

Other benefits of this type of therapy are the following:

  • The analgesic effect is pronounced and medium or long term.
  • It stops the chronic inflammatory process for considerable periods.
  • Helps restore mobility and extend range of motion of the joints.
  • It is a natural and regenerative technique.

Orthokine therapy is estimated to it is effective in up to 75% of cases of osteoarthritis. In particular, it is operative when the treatment is applied to the knee and hip.

Possible side effects and risks

Although Orthokine therapy is usually very effective, it can also have side effects, such as swelling.

The most common side effect of Orthokine therapy is swelling and bruising at the injection site. Temporary numbness may also develop from the use of the anesthetic.

There are proteins called cytokines that are released when there is infection, injury, or allergy. When they pass into the blood, they activate the inflammatory response. If there is joint damage, this contributes to the tissue repair process.

In some cases, it is best to allow the inflammation of the joints to run its course. If the inflammatory process stops, the natural immune response is also suppressed And this can lead to acceleration of the arthritic process.

Therefore, an investigation published in the Journal of Prolotherapy, endorses the benefits of Orthokine therapy, but recommends applying it with caution. What is indicated is that it does not hinder or inhibit the body's own healing functions.

Orthokine therapy, a usually effective solution

Orthokine therapy is considered a safe and effective way to restore joint function. Combined with a good rehabilitation program, in many cases it prevents the need for surgery.

However, as with any therapy, it is important to evaluate if this is the best option in each particular case. Likewise, the effectiveness of Orthokine therapy will also depend on the patient's ability to follow post-treatment care.