Stem Cell Therapy: Is Bone Marrow Better?

BMA-pain-reliefIn a blog I posted this past September, I shared the results of a study published in the scientific journal Stem Cells on treating Degenerative Disc Disease. DDD involves normal changes in our spinal discs as we age. The research revealed that DDD patients suffering from chronic back pain experienced more significant pain reduction using a specific type of stem cell. 

Prior experience demonstrated that stem cells derived from the patient’s fat cells or synovial fluid was successful in inhibiting disc degeneration. But, in this study, Bone-Marrow-derived Stem Cells – or Bone Marrow Aspiration Therapy (BMA) – demonstrated superior quality of repair compared with other stem cell treatments.

The doctors at NJ Pain Care Specialists have regularly used Adipose (Fat) Stem Cells – harvested from the fat tissue of the abdomen area or “love handles” – to treat a variety of conditions in addition to DDD. Other conditions include desiccated discs, spinal stenosis, facet arthrosis, sacroiliac joint syndrome, osteoarthritis of any joint, and sports or overuse injuries.

Solid evidence that Bone Marrow Aspiration Therapy produces superior quality of repair compared with other stem cell treatments is a very exciting development for treating our patients at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists.

Now, I realize you might have heard or read about painful horror stories related to bone marrow procedures. However, those involve bone marrow “donation” – and the donor understands that his or her selfless act to help save someone’s life involves a level of discomfort. (The surgical, outpatient procedure is performed painlessly under general anesthesia, but could be followed by days of soreness.) To be clear, donating Bone Marrow and harvesting Bone Marrow stem cells are world’s apart.

What is BMA Therapy?

BMA therapy is an all-natural, non-invasive outpatient procedure performed in our office. Bone marrow contains stem cells that can form new cells such as bone, cartilage and muscle. A special needle is used to painlessly collect a high concentration of stem cells from marrow in the hip bone. The newly concentrated stem cells are then injected into the problem area to stimulate cell regeneration and healing.

This safe alternative to surgical intervention provides the following benefits:

– Decreased pain
– Quicker recovery time
– Increased healing potential
– More likely elimination of long-term medication

But what about Cortisone injections instead of BMA?

Studies have shown that Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief, but do not promote long-term healing. Plus, they may actually weaken tissue. BMA Therapy heals and strengthens these tendons and ligaments. 

How long does BMA take to “work”?

For most patients, some level of improvement is noticed within 2-6 six weeks, for others sooner. You can expect a decrease in pain and an increase in strength and stability. Most patients require just a single injection. 

If you have any questions about Stem Cell Therapy – from Adipose to Bone Marrow – contact New Jersey Pain Care Specialists. Our doctors and staff are happy to discuss your condition and whether stem cell therapy is right for you

At the present time, Stem Cell Therapy is not covered by medical insurance.

How To Identify Your Pain

painAs a physician dedicated to managing peoples’ pain, one of my most important duties is to accurately identify the type of pain a patient is experiencing, and then recommend the most effective course of treatment.

Because you are reading this blog about pain, there’s a likelihood you are experiencing some level of pain right now, or are anticipating recurring pain. Depending on its location and severity, that pain might be causing you discomfort, distress or even agony. The pain might be steady and constant; in which case it could be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain, or a pulsating pain. It might have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one. 

Pain is a very individual experience, so only the person who is experiencing it can describe the sensation accurately. I’m presenting this basic pain guide to help you understand the different types of pain we have all felt at one time or another. It is not meant to help you diagnose your condition, or to suggest a treatment. It is purely for your information. If you have concerns about your pain or it is extreme or long lasting, and it hasn’t been responding to home care and over-the-counter medication, please contact a physician for a professional diagnosis.

In follow-up blogs, I’ll write about how pain is measured, and the various treatments offered by the medical community.

Types of pain

Acute Pain – This is an intense and short-lived pain, that could be an indication of an injury. If it is, when the injury heals, the pain usually goes away.

Chronic Pain – Mild or intense, chronic pain lasts much longer than acute pain.  

Classifications

Nociceptive Pain – Specific pain receptors are stimulated and sensitive to hot/cold temperature, vibration, stretching, and chemicals released by damaged cells.

Somatic Pain – Generally sharp and very localized, if the affected area is touched or moved, it will hurt more. This pain might be felt on the skin, or in muscles, joints, bones and ligaments – known as musculo-skeletal pain. With somatic pain, pain receptors are sensitive to temperature (hot/cold), vibration and muscle stretch. They are also sensitive to inflammation, which could be from a cut, or a sprain that causes tissue damage.

Visceral Pain – Felt in the internal organs and main body cavities, which are divided into the thorax (lungs and heart), abdomen (bowels, spleen, liver and kidneys), and the pelvis (ovaries, bladder and the womb). The pain receptors are sensing inflammation, stretching and/or oxygen starvation (ischemia).

Visceral pain is more likely to be a vague deep ache that is harder to pinpoint than somatic pain. Colicky and cramping sensations are often types of visceral pain. It commonly refers to some type of back pain – lower, abdominal, mid back, or upper back.

Nerve Pain/Neuropathic Pain – Nerve pain is also called neuropathic pain. It comes from within the nervous system itself and is often referred to as a pinched nerve, or trapped nerve. The pain can originate from the nerves between the tissues and the spinal cord, and the nerves between the spinal cord and the brain (this is known as the central nervous system).

When a nerve is injured it becomes unstable, which causes its signaling system to act haphazardly. The brain interprets these abnormal signals as pain. This chaos can cause other unpredictable sensations, such as numbness, pins and needles, tingling and hypersensitivity to temperature, vibration and touch. 

Neuropathic pain can be caused by nerve degeneration, for example, from a stroke, multiple-sclerosis, or oxygen starvation. It could be due to a trapped nerve, which creates pressure on the nerve. A torn or slipped disc will cause nerve inflammation, which will result in neuropathic pain. A nerve infection, such as shingles, can also cause neuropathic pain.

Sympathetic Pain – The sympathetic nervous system controls blood flow to the skin and muscles, perspiration, and how quickly the peripheral nervous system responds. The pain usually occurs with a fracture or a soft tissue injury of the limbs. Much like neuropathic pain, the nerve is injured, becomes unstable and fires off random, chaotic, abnormal signals to the brain, which interprets them as pain. 

In general, with this kind of pain the skin and the area around the injury become extremely sensitive and, often, the pain becomes so intense the sufferer doesn’t want to use the hurting arm or leg. Over time, this can cause other problems, like muscle wasting, osteoporosis and stiff joints.

Referred Pain/ReflectivePain – This is pain felt either nearby, or at a distance from the origin of an injury. Good example: during a heart attack, the affected area is the heart, but the pain is often felt in the arms, shoulders, back and neck, rather than in the chest. Doctors have been aware of referred pain for centuries, but researchers have not been able to identify what causes it.

Look for my upcoming blogs on how pain is measured, and range of available treatments. Remember, if you are experiencing pain that concerns you, call your physician, or contact New JerseyPain Care Specialists to discuss an expert evaluation. 

Stem Cell Therapy Is Not Just For Pro Athletes

stem-cells-proI recently updated the condition of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitching ace Garrett Richards. After suffering a high-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow back in May, he chose to be treated with Stem Cell Therapy rather than the traditional Tommy John Surgery. That surgery would have sidelined Richards for as long as 18 months while he endured a long and tough recovery. He would not have played again until 2018.

Amazingly, after just 12 weeks, Richards had healed sufficiently to be cleared for throwing a baseball. Now, a couple of months later in his rehab, his physician told him he can prepare for 2017 Spring Training!

Many other professional athletes, including hundreds of NFL players have used Stem Cell Therapy, which the NFL views as a medical treatment, not a steroid issue, according to a report in Sports Illustrated.

Available to everyone

If Stem Cell Therapy works for someone who will be testing it at the demanding performance level of major league baseball, football, and other professional sports, people like you and me can feel confident that Stem Cell Therapy can be a fast and effective solution for mainstream injuries. In fact, I’ve seen it work again and again as a fast, safe and effective treatment for tennis elbow, knee pain, shoulder pain, Achilles injuries, degenerative disc disease, and other sports or overuse injuries.

The experienced pain management doctors at NJ Pain Care Specialists currently perform Stem Cell Therapy using a quick and relatively painless in-office procedure to harvest stem cells from the millions that live in your body. The cells are processed and then injected into your problem area, where the natural healing process begins. The adult stem cells reproduce quickly and have the potential to restore and repair injured tissue and joints.

Please contact New Jersey Pain Care Specialists to discuss what Stem Cell Therapy, or other safe, non-invasive procedures, can do to help you heal and get back to living without pain.

At the present time, Stem Cell Therapy is not covered by medical insurance.

Not Familiar With PRP Therapy For Pain Relief? Here’s A Review

PRP-TherapyI’ve written several blogs about the exciting results we’ve seen in patients treated with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy – as well as in professional  athletes who have entrusted their performance and careers to its healing powers. If you’re unfamiliar with PRP or would like to know more about it, the following is a review of the basics.  I’d also suggest you click on the links in this blog to learn about its many uses, impressive successes, and tremendous potential for pain management. And even cosmetic procedures.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a safe and non-surgical procedure that relieves acute or chronic pain by promoting the natural healing potential of the body with platelets that are easily taken from your own blood. Blood is made up of red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Following an injury, platelets in our bodies are activated and release healing proteins called growth factors, which help to speed up wound and tissue healing. By delivering a higher concentration of these platelets directly into the area in need, the natural healing process is intensified. PRP is a particularly good source of these growth factors because at NJ Pain Care Specialists, we are able to get the PRP from your own blood quickly, easily and safely. There is virtually no risk of a transmissible infection and a low risk of allergic reaction.

At our practice we use PRP to treat ligament and tendon injuries that have failed more traditional therapies, including rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis, meniscus tears, osteoarthritis of the spine, hip, knee, or ligament sprains. A growing number of world-class athletes – Stephen Curry, Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, David Ortiz – have turned to PRP for vital pain relief without the risks of surgery and extended recovery. NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who suffers from degeneration inside the knee, had several treatments and talked about his personal experience with PRP therapy and how it helped contribute to his ability to play at a high level into his mid-thirties.

Here’s a description of how our skilled doctors perform the non-invasive, one-hour procedure at NJ Pain Care Specialists:

  • First, we clean and anesthetize the injured area and then take a small sample of your blood. The blood is placed in a centrifuge machine and spun rapidly, separating it into its primary components – platelets, white blood cells, plasma, and red blood cells.
  • After a portion of the plasma is removed, the concentrated platelets are mixed with the remaining plasma to form the platelet-rich solution that is injected into and around the injured tissues.
  • The concentrated platelets trigger a natural immune response as specialized white blood cells (macrophages) rush in to remove damaged cells and prepare the tissue for healing.
  • Stem cells and other cells multiply, repair and rebuild the damaged tissue – an accelerated healing response that reduces pain, promotes increased strength and improves joint function.
  • You will be able to go home the same day. And you can expect full recovery within one week. However, many patients require three to four treatments before the injured tissues are completely healed.
  • A specially-designed exercise program will help your newly developed connective tissue mature into healthy and strong tendons or ligaments – so you can get back to enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle as quickly and happily as possible.

To learn more about what PRP can do for you, and whether you’re a good candidate for the treatment, contact our nearest office soon. 

At the present time, PRP Treatments are not covered by medical insurance.

Stem Cell Therapy Shows It Can Significantly Reduce Lumbar Disc Pain

stem-cellsIn this week’s blog I want to share with you the results of an important study that was published in the scientific journal Stem Cells. It studied patients suffering from chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease. Those who were treated by Stem Cell Therapy – a non-surgical, natural procedure that injected their own bone marrow into their lumbar discs – experienced significant pain reduction 12 months after treatment.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a term that describes normal changes in our spinal discs as people age. The spinal discs in our bodies separate the individual spinal vertebrae and act as shock absorbers that allow our spines to twist, bend and flex. DDD usually affects the discs in the lower back (lumbar) or the neck (cervical).

DDD in lumbar discs can cause lower back pain, osteoarthritis, abnormal disc bulging (herniated disc) and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the tunnel-like space that holds the spinal cord). Any of these can exert pressure on spinal nerves and the spinal cord, causing pain and affecting nerve function.

The bone marrow collected from the patients contained stem cells that have been shown to promote tissue growth, including cartilage, and increase blood supply to new or damaged tissue. After being painlessly harvested, the cells were processed and then injected into the problem area, where the natural healing process began.

The researchers studied 26 patients (age range 18–61; median age 40 years), who were suffering from lower back pain caused by DDD. The patients were checked at three, six and 12 months. After 12 months, 21 of the 26 patients experienced statistically significant improvements in pain scores and impairment. The most dramatic improvements were seen in the patients with higher stem cell counts.

If you are suffering from back or neck pain, it could be the result of degenerative edisc disease. Please contact us at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists to discuss an evaluation and explore ever-evolving options for providing relief that works best for you.

At the present time, Stem Cell Therapy is not covered by medical insurance.

Keep Autumn Activities From Being A Pain

painNow that fall has arrived, I’d like to remind you that the best way to avoid injuring yourself or aggravating an old injury is to be smart about doing activities that change with the season – from sports to chores around your home. Common fall cleanup tasks can cause muscle strain, back pain, repetitive motion injuries, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, accidents and other injuries. Sports add dangers to knees and other joints. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that well over 40 million people seek emergency room treatment for these kinds of injuries every year.

Here’s some general advice to help keep away (or at least minimize) aches and pains:

Always Warm Up and Cool Down

Walk and stretch before you exert yourself to help prevent your shoulders, neck and back and other muscles from being strained. Warm up with a few gentle stretching exercises before you even pick up the rake, shovel, golf club or football. When you’re done, gentle stretches will help relieve muscle tension.

Dress Appropriately

Lightweight, natural fibers provide warmth without trapping sweat. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your skin from scratches, bugs and sun. Wear sturdy shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles to prevent injuries and minimize the risk of falling.

Use the Right Tools

Just as you use the right size golf clubs or tennis racquet, if you’re raking or shoveling, find a tool that’s the proper height and weight. This will prevent you from hunching over, which could hurt your lower back. Look for ergonomic handles. If the rake handle isn’t padded, wear gloves to prevent blisters.

Make It a Full Body Workout

Raking or shoveling? Don’t let your back do all the work. Be sure to bend your knees and lift that dirt, trash bags and wheelbarrows with your legs. Use your arms to help you rake or dig, and stand as straight as is comfortable with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Plus, avoid twisting your upper torso because it can aggravate the muscles in your back. Turn your whole body.

Use Proper Posture and Movements

When raking, switch sides every few minutes to help avoid using the same muscles to do the same movement repetitively. Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side, which puts undue stress on your back. When picking up leaves, bend at the knees – not the waist.

Pace Yourself

Ease into your autumn cleanup and take regular breaks every 15-20 minutes. Stop, walk around, stretch and have something refreshing or warming to drink.

Exercise Year Round

People who exercise all the time are less likely to injure themselves while doing chores or playing sports since their muscles are more accustomed to physical activity. And don’t forget that a healthy diet can boost your energy.

Chances are, the first time out, some of these autumn activities will leave you sore. Hot and cold therapy can help shorten your recovery:

  1. Try ice the first day or two to help with inflammation: 10 minutes on; 5 off; 10 on, 5 off.
  2. Two to three days after injury, try using heat. It draws more blood to the area and removes toxins.
  3. Alternating cold and heat can be very effective when used together at this point. It takes about 45 minutes: heat for 10 minutes, 5-minute break; then cold for 10 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break; then heat again for 10.

 

If you experience severe pain and swelling, or worsening or extended discomfort, call us at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists and our caring staff will tell you how we can help.

Driving? Avoid Back Pain And Neck Pain

back-pain-drivingIf your Labor Day Weekend and Autumn exploration includes traveling by car, sitting in the driver’s seat for any length of time distorts the natural curves of the spine, which can cause muscles in your back and neck to become strained. And because the flow of oxygen-rich blood is reduced, muscles in your back or neck can knot, spasm and really hurt. Whether you’ve never had a back or neck issue before, or it’s a recurring problem, following a few simple tips can minimize the risk of ruining your trip and, possibly, your life going forward.

Prevent Back Pain

First, Adjust Your Car to Fit You Right

Seat:

  • Adjust the lumbar support for even and comfortable back support; or add a lumbar support pillow, or a rolled up towel.
  • Recline the seat at a 100-110 degree angle, which is slightly backward, to reduce pressure on lower back discs
  • Adjust the seat belt (not the seat) to fit you comfortably; get a soft shoulder cover if you need it

Steering wheel:

  • Angle it down and close to you to minimize reach and the strain on your upper back

Pay Attention to Your Body

  • Don’t put anything you may need in the back seat to avoid having to twist and stretch awkwardly
  • Occasionally change your hand positions and grip on the wheel
  • Take breaks at least every 2 hours: Get out and stretch your legs and lower and upper back to keep your muscles loose and less likely to spasm
  • Drink lots of water to keep tissues hydrated…and to force you to take breaks at rest stops
  • Keep an ice pack in your cooler and apply it for 15 minute stretches to slow inflammation and numb sore tissues
  • Use disposable heat wraps, a plug-in heating pad, or your heated seats for up to 30 minutes at a time to relax stiff muscles

Recover On Arrival

  • Stretch and loosen up before you lift anything heavy out of the trunk and carry it
  • If you’re hurting a lot, take a hot shower, use a hot tub or Jacuzzi, go for a swim or get a massage to counter-balance the effects of your road trip

During driving breaks, do simple stretching exercises andself-tractioning techniques, like laying over a tailgate or hood of a car to depressurize lumbar discs.

Prevent Neck Pain

Adjust Your Seat

  • Set your seat height with enough headroom so you don’t have to bend your head down or to the side
  • Move your seat as far forward as possible to minimize neck and upper back fatigue from reaching for the steering wheel, which should be angled downward
  • Adjust your head rest to relax your neck muscles, centering it in the middle of your head

Adjust All Mirrors

  • Make sure you don’t have to strain your neck to see all around; cover any blind sports by adding a small dashboard mirror

Just Drive

  • Bending over and eating or taking notes can cause movements that result in neck and spine pain (Drive with good posture!)
  • Don’t put anything you may need in the back seat to avoid twisting and stretching awkwardly and dangerously

Take Frequent Breaks

  • Stop a minimum of every 2 hours: Get out and stretch your neck and upper and lower back (as well as your legs) to keep your muscles loose and less likely to spasm
  • Drink lots of water to keep tissues hydrated…and to force you to take breaks
  • Keep an ice pack in your cooler and apply it for 15 minute stretches to slow inflammation and numb sore tissues
  • Use disposable heat wraps or a plug-in heating pad for up to 30 minutes at a time to relax stiff neck muscles

Recover On Arrival, as above

Have a safe and enjoyable drive and pay attention to your comfort and movements. If you experience back pain or neck pain that doesn’t go away after a while, call us at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists to find out how we can help you.

 

 

 

Update: Stem Cell Therapy Is Successful For Star Baseball Pitcher

stem-cell-therapyBack in May, I wrote about Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitching ace Garrett Richards, who suffered a high-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. At the time he chose to be treated with Stem Cell Therapy rather than the traditional Tommy John Surgery. The surgery would have sidelined Richards for as long as 18 months while he went through a grueling recovery. He would not have played again until 2018.

Extraordinary news

After just 12 weeks, Richards has been cleared to begin throwing a baseball! Using Stem Cell Therapy, he has healed sufficiently in just three months to withstand the intense physical rigors of major league baseball.

We have seen this before with other non-traditional, natural healing procedures that our elite doctors perform at NJ Pain Care Specialists. You may have seen my blogs or media reports on pro athletes, from Kobe Bryant to Peyton Manning, who used Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) to relieve acute or chronic pain to get back in action much faster than they might have with other treatments. Because professional athletes and their teams have access to the best care in the world at any cost, their faith in non-traditional procedures is an important vote of confidence for the types of care we offer our patients.

We perform Stem Cell Therapy as a natural way to treat people who suffer from a variety of painful conditions: Tennis elbow, knee pain, shoulder pain, Achilles injuries, degenerative disc disease and sports or overuse injuries. This simple outpatient or in office procedure eliminates the need for pain medications, and invasive reconstructive surgery with its lengthy recovery period.

The natural

During the Stem Cell procedure, our experienced doctors use a safe and relatively painless one-hour process to harvest adult stem cells from the millions that live in your body. The cells are extracted as fat from the Adipose tissue in your “love handles” or abdomen. Another source of stem cells used by other  practices is the bone marrow. The cells are processed and then injected into your problem area, where the natural healing process begins. The adult stem cells reproduce quickly and have the potential to rapidly restore and repair injured tissue and joints.

Following the procedure, you can go home the same day and experience minimal discomfort – similar to any other needle. You can return to your pre-procedure activity quickly. Results from stem cell treatment vary from patient to patient, and some patients require more than one treatment.

But that is very preferable to an 18-month ordeal.

Please contact New Jersey Pain Care Specialists to discuss what Stem Cell Therapy can do to get you back in your game.

At the present time, Stem Cell Therapy is not covered by medical insurance.

PRP vs. Shoulder Surgery: Here’s Someone Who Had Both

PRP-shoulderI’ve often mentioned Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as a fast, safe and effective procedure we perform at NJ Pain Care Specialists for treating tendon, ligament and joint injuries that have failed more traditional therapies. These include rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, Achilles’ tendon, plantar fasciitis, meniscus tears, bursitis of the hip, knee pain or ligament sprains.

PRP works by promoting the natural healing potential of the body with platelets from your own blood. It is simple and non-invasive – meaning PRP helps you avoid a risky surgical procedure and long, difficult recovery time. In case you’re wondering what that really means, the following story I saw in the Washington Post offers insight from a patient who has experienced both.

I’ll never go through shoulder surgery again

So here’s what I did:

When I tore my rotator cuff in 2008, I had conventional laparoscopic surgery to repair it. The outcome was excellent, but the recovery was long and horrible. The orthopedist wouldn’t let me drive for six weeks, or run, swim or lift weights for three months. I suffered through weeks of torturous physical therapy. It was nearly six months before I felt normal again.

So in 2014, after a nurse improperly administered a vaccination that resulted in chronic shoulder pain and an MRI revealed another rotator-cuff tear, I vowed I would not go through shoulder surgery (or its aftermath) again.

Cortisone injections and physical therapy didn’t help, so I decided to try something else: platelet-rich plasma, a therapy that uses the body’s natural healing properties to mend injuries. Its practitioners believe it will transform orthopedics. Based on my experience with it, I think they are right.

It may not work for every condition, or for everyone, but…

PRP worked for me.

Before undergoing PRP treatment, I read quite a bit about it, learning that it holds promise for healing soft-tissue injuries such as tearing of the rotator cuff (the group of tendons and muscles that provide stability to the shoulder), tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, patella tendinitis and hamstring tears; it may even provide relief for mild to moderate osteoarthritis.

“[PRP] works, and the results have been amazing,’’ says the Washington,DC-area sports medicine physician who treated me. “There still needs to be more research done to perfect the process, but [it] will change the way orthopedics is practiced in the future. We will be more preventive. We will be able to treat ailments non-invasively, and at an earlier stage.’’

The procedure involves collecting several ounces of blood from a patient’s arm, spinning the blood in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and injecting the concentrated platelets into the injury site to stimulate healing. Platelets, the blood cells that promote clotting, contain hundreds of proteins, called growth factors, that are important in repairing injuries.

“PRP works by acting like a stem-cell magnet,’’ says my doctor. “It releases growth factors that signal stem cells to come [and] help regenerate the injured area. Rotator-cuff tendon partial tears are notorious for not healing because of the poor blood supply there. PRP actually creates new blood vessels that feed the tendon the proper nutrients it needs to heal.’’

Research supports it.

A recent pilot study conducted at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta on rotator-cuff tears supports this. It showed tissue healing in five of seven of the patients who received PRP, as well as improvements in their pain and function. (Glenn Sather is a former NHL player and coach, and is now a team executive.)

The researchers call the results “clinically relevant,’’despite the study’s small size, and say the next step should be a larger, controlled clinical trial. “I’ve heard some skeptics call PRP a cure looking for a disease, but it is being used in so many areas of medicine now with promising outcomes,” says Marni Wesner, a sports medicine physician at the clinic and one of the study’s authors. “The potential for benefit from PRP is real.’’

I had my first appointment with my physician last October to find out whether PRP might help me. By then, my painful shoulder had been keeping me up nights for more than a year. It bothered me while swimming and lifting weights, and while getting dressed. By performing several tests to assess my strength and range of motion, the physician discovered that my left shoulder — the site of the tear — was considerably weaker than my right.

He then used ultrasound to find the tear and showed it to me on a monitor. It turned out to be larger than indicated in the static MRI pictures I had obtained earlier.

Before deciding whether PRP was right for me, he had to be sure that the tear was the source of my pain and weakness. He injected an anesthetic into the tear, then he ran the strength tests again. My strength was significantly better. This meant that the tear was causing my problems, and fixing it probably would restore strength and function to my shoulder and end my pain.

I had the first PRP injection on Oct. 23. It was painful, and the aching persisted for about 36 hours. I had one bad night, followed by an uncomfortable day. After that, the pain stopped. Still, my doctor advised meto baby the shoulder — to use my other arm when holding a dog leash and to skip swimming and weights for two weeks. Running was fine. He also recommended physical therapy after two weeks.

After what I went through in 2008, those were restrictions I could live with.

He told me not to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, for a week after the injection because the goal is to encourage, not stifle, inflammation. Other pain relievers such as acetaminophen were okay.“We want to stimulate an acute inflammatory reaction, which will trigger the healing cascade to start to work.’’

Because there is not yet enough research on PRP — and because some studies have shown mixed results — insurance will not cover it.

Still, “it has significant cost savings” compared with shoulder surgery, my doctor says. The average treatment is two injections, which cost about $1,000 at his practice, whereas rotator-cuff surgery runs about $13,000, although insurance often covers most of the costs of surgery.

With additional research, insurance may ultimately pay for PRP. Unfortunately, there is little financial incentive to conduct such studies because there is nothing for the Food and Drug Administration to approve, such as a drug or device. The centrifuges already are licensed, and the procedure uses a patient’s own blood, which is regarded as safe. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons — which says PRP “holds great promise’’ — describes the risk as minimal.

Those who seek this treatment must look for a clinician with onsiderable PRP experience — someone who does the procedure several times aday, not once or twice a month — and who has a good success rate.

Moreover, “you see the greatest results when the injections are done under direct visualization with ultrasound,” he adds.

By February, the ultrasound showed the tear in my shoulder to be about 80 percent healed. The remaining tear was quite small. My doctor recommended a second injection to finish the job.

I had it on March 4.

When I returned to see him on April 12, I was feeling pretty good. No pain, no problems. He rolled in the ultrasound machine, and I was not surprised by the results.

The shoulder tear was completely gone.

Bottom line: My staff and I at NJ Pain Care Specialists have a great deal of experience performing PRP. If you’re suffering with a tendon, ligament or joint injury that has failed a more traditional therapy, or you’re concerned about overdoing pain-killing medications, or most importantly, you’re considering surgery, please explore PRP first. A simple, non-invasive, non-surgical procedure is always a preferred option. Especially if it’s one that really works. Call us at 732-720-0247 to discuss your injury and how PRP can help.

At the present time, PRP Treatments are not covered by medical insurance.

 

Stem Cell Therapy Helps Man With MS Walk Again

imageThe extraordinary power and promise of stem cell therapy is on display again. Its mounting record of success in all areas of medicine excites me for my patients’ sake. Marvelous results from stem cell therapy, such as restoring vision, treating heart failure and overcoming multiple sclerosis, will only help to build confidence in the successful work we’ve been doing with stem cell therapy at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists. We’ve become expert at using stem cell therapy to repair the damage from conditions such as degenerative disc disease, desiccated discs, spinal stenosis, facet arthrosis, sacroiliac joint syndrome, osteoarthritis of any joint, and sports or overuse injuries.

Here’s a story from the Mirror newspaper in England about a multiple sclerosis sufferer named Eric who lost the use of his legs and right hand after he was diagnosed about five years ago.

Because Britain’s public healthcare program  doesn’t pay for stem cell therapy, Eric’s family raised enough money to fund hematopoietic stesm cell transplantation treatment overseas. Hematopoietic stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow.

Eric and his wife travelled to the Mexico where, after going through preparation and tests to ensure he was fit enough, the hematopoietic stem cells were transfused into his bloodstream to replace destroyed tissue. Just a week after returning home a month later, Eric was able to walk again. “I wasn’t expecting this level of success,” he said. “To get that result so quickly has been amazing.

“If it just stopped the progression that would have been enough. People really need to know about stem cell therapy. I am living proof it works. I am absolutely delighted with the results and now say that I used to have MS.”

He must now have a follow-up series of five infusions which will act as maintenance for the transplant: “I am taking it one day at a time, but it is great to know I am getting my independence back. I would say to other people that the earlier you go, the better effect the treatment has. I was diagnosed in 2011 and believe that if I had gone for the treatment straight away I would never have had to stop working.”

Eric’s wife added: “It is only the beginning of a long journey, but we are delighted with the results so far.

His family now plans to raise money for other MS sufferers to have the stem cell therapy abroad.

If you have any questions about ways that NJ Pain Care Specialists can help you with stem cell therapy, please contact us.

At the present time, stem cell therapy in the U.S. is not covered by medical insurance.