The Journey Begins

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Patients often find me and my services after they’ve exhausted options for treating joint and spine pains.  Most are frustrated with the “algorithm medicine” imposed by insurance companies and us physicians are forced to follow.  After a series of failed therapies and steroid injections, the ultimate outcome usually leads to surgery.  For a variety of personal and medical reasons, surgery is not an option patients are willing to accept.  Regenerative medicine gives them this other option in addressing their symptoms.  PRP and stem cell injections have been a game changer in the world of musculoskeletal care.  The rate of success we’ve seen patients enjoy have been phenomenal and has changed the way I practice medicine.

Patients often ask me how I started in the field of PRP, stem cells, and regenerative medicine.  It is not a topic taught in medical school, beyond the normal biology of cells.  As an Osteopathic Physician, it is part of our philosophy to enhance the body’s natural abilities to heal.  The body is able to overcome dysfunctions by correcting improper mechanics and allow the proper flow of fluids and cells.  This in turn flushes toxins through the lymphatic system, and allows healthy cells to take its place.

As a Physiatrist,  I specialize in understanding the Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal systems, and how it applies to pain and function.  My medical career has been geared towards optimizing the biomechanics of an individual, in order to function well.  I’ve utilized an array of treatments and medications in order to assist patients in recovering and maintaining their function.  I have specialized skills in interventional injections into the spine and joints with accuracy in addressing specific structures.

My background in medicine and the trajectory of my career led to a natural progression to regenerative medicine.  Over time, the laboratory research and clinical outcomes started to intersect.  Education and training from The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR) and The Interventional Orthopedics Foundation (IOF) started to establish the validity of regenerative medicine.  It is an exciting time to be in the field of Musculoskeletal medicine.  This previously uncharted territory of regenerative medicine is gaining some traction.  Hope is again restored to patients in need of better options  for treating spine and joint pain.

AAPMR: http://www.aapmr.org

IOF: http://www.interventionalorthopedics.org

 

What’s your time worth?

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Time is more valuable than money.  You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.   Jim Rohn

Regenerative medicine treatments are not covered by healthcare insurance.  The decision to have the treatment is not just a clinical question, but also financial.  Insurance plans do not cover regenerative medicine treatments, because they are still considered experimental by the FDA.  There are numerous published articles and studies proving its efficacy in musculoskeletal conditions, but currently, standardization of procedures and practices are still not established. Like any surgical procedure the treatment also require some downtime for healing and restrictions with activities.  This also equates to opportunity lost from work limitations.  With all these negative aspects circling around regenerative medicine, the cost of entry can be high.

Most of my patients find me and my practice through referrals from friends and family of previously treated patients.  They have the all too familiar story of injuries sustained over time.   I’ll use osteoarthritis of the knee, which is a degeneration of the knee joint from overuse or trauma, as an example.  The conventional medicine algorithm goes:  Rest, heat, and ice, and over the counter medications.  When that fails, they are referred to a therapist to help mobilize the joint and reduce inflammation.  After that, they are referred to either an Orthopedic surgeon or a Physiatrist for injections with steroids or hyaluronidase.  This can continue indefinitely, since steroid and hyaluronidase injections are temporary symptom relieving treatments.  Following this treatment path can take months to years, depending on the timing with schedules and visits.  The reward for your patience is either a surgical solution, such as a knee replacement, or just learning to deal with the pain.  All the while, you’ve missed the opportunity to take a walk in the park with your spouse, play ball with your grandchildren, play golf with your friends, or hike that trail.

Regenerative medicine allows you to break free from this algorithm.  The goal of Michigan Regenerative Joint and Spine is to enhance your body’s innate ability to heal.   By addressing the structures that are dysfunctional, the positive effects are not limited to weeks or months, but rather, years.  Furthermore, it gives you another option outside of surgery and just living with it.  In essence, you are buying time.  Time to enjoy with the people you cherish and time to experience living.  I ask you again, what is your time worth?

Consider The Source

In this day and age of information overload, consumers are able to learn about anything and everything in every aspect of their lives.  Information that used to be privy to the a select few, are now accessible with a few clicks on a touch pad.  Arena experts are able to reach a wider audience and impact people outside of their usual network.

This easy access to information can be both a good and bad thing.  Good, in that people are able to arm themselves with knowledge and fact check the validity of the information.  This is very true in the medical field, where patients are able to self-diagnose themselves, learn about their illness, and the treatments that accompany it; before they step in the doctor’s office.  It’s a bad thing when the classic case of “not knowing what you don’t know” occurs.  Just because the information is available, it does not necessarily mean that it is the right information.  Going back to our medical example, the learned patient presents to the physician’s office armed with everything there is to know about their ailments, only to be told by the physician that is the wrong diagnosis.  Who does the patient believe, the all powerful internet with its flashy pictures and graphics or the tired physician who lives and breathes medicine?  Undoing a patient’s pre-conceived belief about a diagnosis or illness is time consuming and can be frustrating for both doctor and patient.

Since starting my regenerative medicine practice, I’ve noticed that the patients that come to the office are well informed in stem cell therapies.  Most often, they would say they looked it up in the internet from a variety of sources with differing degrees of reputability.  Some would have attended a seminar hosted by a “medical person” that  they assume that is a physician, but more often it is by a chiropractor, physical therapist, or a marketing professional.  Patients are enticed by food and drink, flashy presentations, and a very charismatic speaker.  At the end of the presentation, they feel very much informed and confident of what they’ve learned.  The patients who have done their due diligence in research eventually reach our office, and we discuss what they know, and we dissect marketing from facts.

As information gets easier and easier to access.  I caution my patients with paying attention to the source of the information, much more than the content.  A physician who has been practicing in the Musculoskeletal space of medicine will be your most trusted source of information with regards to regenerative medicine treatments for joints and spine injuries.  I am a Physiatrist, board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  I trained at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  I am an expert in musculoskeletal injuries and treatments.  Of all the tools that I have for treating injuries: exercise, nutrition, medications, joint and spine injections; Regenerative procedures with PRP and Bone Marrow Stem Cells have been the most promising and the most effective.

Let’s start talking, and separate marketing from facts.

For more information on the medical specialty of PM&R and Physiatry, please click the link:  What’s a Physiatrist?