How We Treat Rotator Cuff and Biceps Tendon Injuries

best shoulder pain treatmentThe shoulder has a larger range of motion than any other joint found in the body, thus it’s particularly at risk of degeneration and injury. The rotator cuff and biceps tendon represent common problem areas.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons which often become injured in athletes who play sports that involve a great deal of overhead activity. The biceps tendon, on the other hand, is the primary muscle used for flexing the elbow and usually becomes injured through overuse or general wear and tear.

In either case, surgery has often been considered necessary. The rotator cuff is particularly difficult to heal. Fortunately, regenerative medicine can be one of the best shoulder pain treatments in these cases — a stem cell or PRP treatment may allow the rotator cuff or biceps tendon to repair themselves using cells taken from your body.

Injuries to the Rotator Cuff 

The rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons which serve to attach the shoulder blade and humeral head, allowing the arm to move while keeping the joint held together. Rotator cuff tendonitis often produces weakness, stiffness, and shoulder pain, as well as reducing the range of motion. A direct injury may be the result of sudden force or wear and tear seen over time — rotator cuff injuries are particularly common for athletes who have a lot of overhead activity.

Rotator cuff injuries are among the most common injuries to the shoulder. Over 2 million people suffer a rotator cuff injury every year. Having a rotator cuff injury means experiencing pain as you go about every day activities; the pain often gets worse at night, interfering with sleep.

In the event you think you might suffer from a rotator cuff problem, seek medical attention immediately. The problem could become chronic or even progress to a more serious condition if it is not treated, predisposing you to a partial or a complete cuff tear. (In the event of a tear, patients often find it impossible to lift their arms from the shoulder, making daily functioning very limited.)

Rotator cuff injuries are considered very difficult to treat. Surgery has often been considered the only practical option. Even then, patients who undergo surgery have as much as a 90% chance their injury will recur later.

PRP or stem cell treatment offers an effective alternative for many patients. By repairing the rotator cuff using cells from your body, the tissues themselves regenerate — the treatment solves the problem, rather than merely patching over the symptoms.

Injuries to the Biceps Tendon

The main muscle used to flex the elbow is called the biceps, and it attaches to the forearm and shoulder via tendons. When the tendon which connects the biceps and the shoulder thickens or becomes inflamed, the condition is called tendonitis — it’s primarily caused either by wear and tear (as a result of normal aging) or by overusing your arm (as in certain athletes or people with physically demanding work).

Most treatments for biceps tendonitis or biceps tendon injuries focus on rest and rehabilitation. Sometimes the injury is severe enough to require surgery, but this carries risks. In many cases regenerative medicine treatments like PRP or stem cells represent a viable alternative, with no surgery or post-operative pain.

How We Treat Knee Joint Pain

The PRP or stem cell treatments we use at Regenerative Medicine Specialists can help treat a variety of knee joint pain issues without needing surgery or steroid injections. Our procedures happen in the office, usually on a same-day basis, and hospitalization is not required.

Because the therapies we use are aimed at allowing your body to regenerate damaged tissue, they can treat many different conditions without the side effects or risks associated with normal treatments.

We consider this to be groundbreaking technology — it addresses the main, underlying condition, instead of simply trying to treat the symptoms.

When it comes to the knee itself, there are many different structures which are vulnerable to either chronic degradation or acute injury: bones, menisci, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bursae.

Until now, patients with knee joint pain for whom conservative treatments like rest and ice failed to produce results could only turn to steroid injection, surgery, or addictive opioids.

PRP and stem cell treatments, on the other hand, help relieve the pain, restore normal function, and do it without many of the problems posed by other therapies.

Treating Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Syndrome)

Runner’s Knee, more properly known as patellofemoral syndrome and sometimes also called Jumper’s Knee, is the most common knee problem overall. Athletes of all types may be diagnosed with it, and heavier or older patients sometimes develop this condition also.

knee painPatellofemoral syndrome has to do with a feature that makes the knee unique in the body. In the knee, the patella (commonly called the kneecap) is placed over the anterior surface. On the underside of the patella is a layer of cartilage which helps the patella slide over the knee joint’s distal femur when the quadriceps muscle contracts to extend the knee.

Commonly, patients develop tendonitis on the patellar tendon or arthritis on the patella underside which is very limiting and painful when it comes to mobility. Non-regenerative technique often fail to provide enough sustained relief, leading patients to feel surgery is their only option.

Yet with stem cell and PRP treatment, we can enable the body to repair itself — an option which provides effective and lasting relief.

Arthritis in the Knee

Especially for patients over age 45 and patients who are overweight, osteoarthritis of the knee is a very common condition.

It is a degenerative condition, “wear and tear,” and in this condition the knee’s cartilage becomes damaged or lost in time. The bones begin grinding together directly, which triggers reactive bony overgrowth as well as reduced mobility and serious pain. The pain tends to be much worse while performing activities, though it may be present even when resting.

Knee trauma may accelerate the development of osteoarthritis and trigger premature arthritis in younger patients.

Traditional treatments like hyaluronic acid injection or steroids can sometimes give temporary relief, but many patients eventually need a total knee replacement surgery. This involves significant post-operative pain as well as a prolonged recovery.

Thanks to PRP or stem cell treatments, however, it’s often possible to avoid a major procedure.

Our treatments use the body’s own cells to regenerate tissues in the joint, alleviating dysfunction and pain. Since the treatment is done on an outpatient basis, there is also no hospital stay.

Will PRP Help Me?

Platelet Rich Plasma injectionsPlatelet rich plasma injections, or PRP, represent an exciting approach to healing injuries and wounds. It’s a form of regenerative medicine that entered the popular consciousness when Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Hines Ward was treated with PRP in 2009 right before the Super Bowl; without it, Ward probably would not have been able to play.

Of course, PRP is not just for sports stars, and the doctors at Regenerative Medicine Specialists have been applying it successfully to patients with ligament strains, tendonitis, muscle strains, arthritis, and more.

What Makes PRP So Useful?

PRP is a powerful, effective, and affordable way to treat a variety of conditions because platelets contain many different growth factors which stimulate tissue growth. (Platelets themselves are a normal type of blood cell which works to help stop bleeding and speed healing in the event of an injury.)

These growth factors help bring in undifferentiated cells (stem cells) to the injury area, and help stimulate their growth. Another component, known as stromal cell derived factor 1 alpha, helps these newly recruited cells adhere to the injured area.

PRP does not stop there, however. When a PRP injection is combined with stem cells harvested from bone marrow or fat, the PRP actively encourages the stem cells to multiply and grow quickly, further driving healing. Platelet rich plasma injections also stimulate collagen growth — collagen being the main component in connective tissues like cartilage and tendons.

In other words, PRP (particularly combined with stem cells) helps accelerate the healing process into “overdrive.”

How PRP Works

A PRP injection needs to be prepared so it includes as many platelets as possible and a high concentration of growth factor. The more growth factors which can be delivered to the area, of course, the more likely it is that healing will take place.

PRP intentionally does the opposite of what more traditional treatments aim to achieve. Treatments with steroid injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) primarily aim to reduce the inflammation in the area, which unfortunately impedes the process of healing.

The PRP itself is prepared by drawing blood from the patient and then spinning the blood in a specially designed centrifuge which separates out the platelets. Generally 20ccs of blood from the patient yield just 2-10cc worth of platelet rich plasma.

The platelet rich plasma is then injected into the area with damaged tissue. The injected PRP draws macrophages (the white blood cells) to clean out damaged tissue, and the body forms a protein matrix which gives new tissue a place to attach. Fibroblasts come in to form strong, new collagen fibers for rebuilding any damaged ligaments, tendons, or cartilage. Stem cells come in, too, and differentiate themselves into whatever tissue needs to be healed.

The whole process happens naturally over a period of a few weeks.

Benefits of PRP

PRP has some major advantages compared with traditional therapies. It’s an in-office, outpatient procedure that takes around an hour, with little need for rehabilitation or downtime.

There is no surgery. It simply uses components of your own blood to achieve stronger natural healing. As a therapy it is effective enough that many major sports teams use it as a first-line treatment for their athletes.

2015: A Healthier Year with Regenerative Medicine

researchThe new year could prove to be one of the most progressive years for regenerative medicine yet. On a global scale, the sheer number of companies, universities and financial institutions conducting or backing research and development in the field implies great potential for regenerative cell therapies to become “mainstream” in the medical community.

Advocacy groups such as The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine(ARM) are working with legislators, regulatory agencies, and investment communities such as Maxim Group, to promote development, and advance availability of cell therapy technologies, as published by The Life Sciences Report.

“Cell therapy ultimately lowers the cost of treating disease, and at a time when there is an outcry over high-priced therapies, cell therapy offers promise to lower the cost of treating disease. In terms of politics, the cell therapies we are focusing on are typically not controversial (using adult stem cells, not cells from embryos). As such, we don’t see any controversy. The big change in the landscape now is the acceptance that cell therapy is safe,” says Jason Kolbert, senior biotechnology analyst and head of healthcare research with Maxim Group.

Regenerative medicine is a class of breakthrough procedures that are based on the potential healing capabilities of a patient’s own stem cells which contain growth factors and signaling proteins that can propagate the regeneration of damaged tissue.

Generally, procedure entails extracting stem cells from where they reside in the body, and injecting them to the problem area. Nature then takes its course, and allows the body’s natural healing process to occur.

Stem cells can be harvested and concentrated or isolated from bone marrow or fat, respectively, to be reinjected directly into an area where there is damaged or degenerating tissues. Applications of these therapies are most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis of any joint, and sports/overuse injury.

With maturity and wide-spread movement in the stem cell therapy field comes great promise. What continuing support means for millions of patients who suffer chronic musculoskeletal pain, is a potentially healthier year in 2015, and for years to come.

To learn more about available stem cell therapy treatments with Regen Doctor in Ventura County, contact us today for a consultation with our team of regenerative medicine specialists.

By | 2015-01-28T09:58:25-07:00 February 3rd, 2015|Benefits of Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells|0 Comments

Treating ACL Tears with Stem Cells

Treating ACL Tears with Stem CellsKnees are the largest joints in our bodies. They’re also amongst the hardest working joints, allowing daily flexion, extension and slight internal and external rotation of the legs. As being one of the most used joints, they are also the most commonly injured.

Within the knee is the “Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), one of the four major ligaments of the knee joint that coordinate function and promote stability of the knee joint [and] provides roughly 90 percent of stability in the knee joint,” as defined by UCFS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who also report that, “ACL injury has an annual incidence of more than 200,000 cases with 70 percent of cases occurring while playing agility sports.”

Though the majority of damage to the ACL is dominantly sports related, injury can occur in any case in which there is sudden stopping, twisting or pivoting, unbalanced landing from a jump, or attempt to regain balance from a stumble or fall. People experience degrees of damage that can range from partial to complete tear of the ACL, resulting in a variety of symptoms depending on the severity of injury including:

  • Feeling a “giving out” in the knee
  • Hearing a “pop” at the time of injury
  • Immediate pain when ligament tears
  • Severe swelling, tenderness, and/or stiffness
  • Inability to bear weight on the knee
  • Overall difficulty walking normally

Traditional treatment for acute ACL tears or injury consists of invasive operative procedures which consist of at least six to nine months of physical therapy before the patient can return to normal levels of functioning and activity.

However, stem cell therapies available at Regen Doctor offer a viable alternative for those who may be considering surgery due to a partial or complete non-retracted ACL tear. By using PRP and/or stem cell treatments, surgical procedures and related risks can be avoided.

Regenerative treatment options utilize the body’s own signaling cells to heal a site-specific area of an affected limb, allowing accelerated regeneration of joint tissues in the ACL. These non-operative procedures are provided in-office, with recovery time averaging a few weeks for patients, as opposed to many months of rehabilitation post surgery.

Stem cell therapies are trusted and proven orthopedic treatments to help alleviate pain and regain function of the knees from ACL tears or sprains.

Contact us a Regen Doctor in Ventura County to learn more about regenerative medicine, and to find out if your a candidate for this revolutionary treatment for healing your ACL injury.

How Do We Treat Ischial Tuberosity Bursitis?

Ischial tuberosity bursitis treatment often takes several months — if done the conventional way. Using PRP or stem cell treatment, we can often eliminate inflammation and regenerate the tissues of your body more quickly, even if traditional treatments have failed.

Understanding Ischial Tuberosity Bursitis
When the closed sac, known as the bursa, located between the ischial tuberosity and the hamstring tendon becomes inflamed, the condition is known as ischial tuberosity bursitis.

The most common cause of an ischial tuberosity bursitis is sports injury. Injuries which cause strain in the hamstring muscle or tendon, or which cause tendonitis in the hamstring tendon, can result in bursitis. The symptoms of an ischial tuberosity bursitis usually include pain in the lower buttocks while sitting. There may also be tingling or numbness in the lower leg, which may also be aggravated by flexing the knee.

Hamstring strains — commonly known as pulled hamstrings — are injuries where the tendon fibers or hamstring muscles located at the back of the thigh experience a tear due to overstretching. Hamstring strains are rated on a scale of 1 to 3, with a grade 3 strain being the most severe (where the patient loses almost all their mobility as a result of a completely torn hamstring).

Hamstring injuries are most common in athletes, though they’re also possible in people with poor muscular strength. The pain of a hamstring strain usually appears very suddenly, and it tends to follow a popping sound from the area. Shortly afterwards the back of the thigh becomes tender, swollen, and bruised.

Ischial tuberosity bursitis can also be caused by hamstring muscles rubbing up against the ischial tuberosity, which irritates the bursa and causes inflammation.

How We Treat Ischial Tuberosity Bursitis
At Regenerative Medicine Specialists, we focus on treatment options which provide same-day in-office treatment, with no hospital stay required. In most cases we use either stem cells or platelet rich plasma treatment.Ischial tuberosity pain

Stem cells are a type of cell which exists throughout your body. These cells are normally dormant, but when needed they are capable of forming almost any kind of cell your body requires depending on the local conditions. They also release many different chemicals themselves, helping activate and attract nearby stem cells, promote cellular regeneration, increase blood flow, and provide proper healing.

You may be aware of certain lizards which can regrow their tails if they are cut off — they use stem cells to do this. In humans, our doctors can use stem cells to heal degeneration and chronic injuries that result in disability and pain.

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a concentrated form of your body’s own blood platelets, derived from your blood. It also contains stem cells. Platelets are circulating blood cell fragments which play a key role in healing and blood clotting, and they release signaling molecules which attract healing cells when they are activated.

A PRP injection creates a local environment which favors better blood flow, healthy tissue regeneration, and healing in a manner that minimizes fibrosis (scarring) as well as dysfunctional tissue architectures that can limit normal movement and further propagate pain.

Treating Shoulder Injuries with Regenerative Medicine Specialists

regenerative medical specialists

Regenerative Medicine Specialists

Many people believe that the only options for treating significant shoulder injuries are steroid injections, opioids, or surgery. However, our doctors can offer you an alternative — regenerative medicine solutions like PRP or stem cell treatments can give relief for many common shoulder problems. Conditions like AC joint or glenohumeral arthritis, rotator cuff syndrome, bursitis, bicep tendinitis, labral problems, or ligament sprains all often respond to regenerative techniques. If you suffer from these problems, or other issues that produce pain in your shoulders, pay us a visit to learn whether your body’s own cells might help regenerate your tissues and repair the damage. We are regenerative medicine specialists and can help with such conditions.

Here are a few conditions we frequently treat.

Glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition which results from normal wear and tear. It tends to increase as you age or as a result of being overweight. Traumatic injuries — injuries resulting from work or sports, or accidents — may accelerate the degeneration and result in premature OA for younger people also.

AC joint osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is frequently the result of falls (when someone braces themselves) or even simply stretching out the arm. Athletes and people who have physically demanding jobs often experience injuries in this area. Both trauma and overuse of the area may set off pain or osteoporosis.

The pain resulting from shoulder arthritis can be very significant, it often leads to limitations in mobility. A noticeable lump may appear, the collarbone may start protruding, or the shoulder may see bruising.

Conventional treatments for shoulder-area arthritis may fail, leading some patients to believe complete joint replacement is their only option. However this should be considered a last resort – it can lead to irreversible and unsatisfactory results, along with prolonged rehabilitation time and post-operative pain.

PRP or stem cell treatment, however, allows you to use your body’s own cells to repair damaged tissue. This avoids the risks incurred by more invasive treatments. Instead, stem cell or PRP treatments work to restore damaged cartilage and address the underlying problem — they don’t focus on the just the symptoms.

Labral Tears
A torn labrum affects the soft rim of cartilage around the shoulder bone’s ball and socket joint. A number of tendons and ligaments are attached to the labrum, all working together to help stabilize the shoulder. Sometimes the problem is the result of a piece of cartilage which shifts out of position and slowly tears the labrum. In other cases, the injury may be more sudden.

In all cases of a torn labrum, however, the shoulder becomes unstable. It is a tremendously painful condition and does not go unnoticed.

What causes a labral tear? Most cases involve a sports-related injury, as the labrum is connected to the biceps. Harsh motions and strong force in this area (as is seen with golfers, weightlifters, and baseball pitchers) can create labral tears.

Often, conservative care techniques do not give relief for labral tears, leading doctors to recommend surgery. Unfortunately surgery carries with it a rehabilitation period and prolonged post-operative pain. As a result stem cell treatment and/or PRP can be more appropriate, avoiding invasive, painful procedures which do not always succeed.

Regenerative Cell Therapy Holds Potential Breakthroughs in Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Treatment of Parkinson’sDecember 15, 2015— Australian biotech research company, Living Cell Technologies, announced successful completion of a milestone phase in a clinical trial investigating regenerative cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

Chief executive, Dr. Ken Taylor states –

“The treatment [known as NTCELL], has the potential to be the first disease-modifying treatment for patients who are failing the current conventional treatment for Parkinson’s disease.”

Living Cell Technologies projects that NTCELL treatments hold the potential to be used in not only Parkinson’s, but other disorders that degenerate the central nervous system such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Results of the 26-week trial are scheduled to be released in June 2015 at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. See full news release.

Read more about regenerative medicine in Ventura County at RegenDoctor.

By | 2014-12-29T15:21:38-07:00 January 6th, 2015|Benefits of Regenerative Medicine|0 Comments

How Your Diet Affects Stem Cell Health

healthy eating for stem cellsIt’s widely known that a healthy diet is important for keeping all your vital systems in optimal, healthy condition. A common misconception is that a diet consisting of high-fat foods is the main culprit behind critical conditions that lead to more serious disease. However, recent studies show that excessive intake of refined sugars and refined carbohydrates are the real enemy.

High consumption of refined sugar found in sodas, energy drinks, pastries, candy and other processed foods account for more than one-third of the added sugar we consume as a nation, as stated in an article published by Harvard Medical School—and have been attributed as a common factor in the leading cause of death in America; heart disease—according to a report published by the Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC).

However, diet is not only directly related to major heart conditions and other life-threatening disease such as Type II diabetes, but researchers have made a critical link between diet and stem cell health.

A study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health reports individuals with poor blood sugar control (including diabetics) had fewer stem cells circulating to repair damaged arteries. Conversely, other research shows that the treatment of diabetics to lower blood-sugar levels increased the number of stem cells.

At Regen Doctor in Ventura County, our regenerative medicine physicians believe in a holistic, and preventative approach to optimal stem cell health, and overall wellness.

Make small realistic steps toward healthy eating. Taking a one-day-at-a-time, one-meal-at-a-time approach will lead you down the road to healthy success, as opposed to a radical change in diet that can lead to frustration, and ultimately dietary defeat.

Change what’s easiest for you at first, and you’ll successively make changes that will lead to vastly improved health over time. Here are some other helpful diet suggestions from our doctors to help you not only improve the health of your stem cells, but your whole body:

  • Don’t exclude or completely refrain from food you enjoy. Continue to eat food you love, but in moderate and healthful-size portions.
  • Make healthy sources of carbohydrates a priority in your daily diet including: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grains. These foods provide rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
  • Scale back sugars and sweets. Cut down on sugar-loaded drinks (including added sugar to coffee and tea), morning pastries, and desserts. You can continue to enjoy, but keep it to an occasional, to very moderate basis.
  • Skim hidden fats. Fat is a very concentrated source of calories. Higher unhealthy levels can be consumed under the radar if you’re not being mindful of intake. Opt for using vinaigrettes instead of dairy-based dressings on salad. Forgo mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, and other sources of saturated fat, and go with healthy spreads like hummus or avocado instead.
  • Hold back on excess salt and sodium. Eat fewer processed foods that require high levels of salt found in preservatives. Use less salt in cooking and at the table, and request for less salty seasoning when ordering meals in restaurants.

If you have more questions on stem cell health, regenerative medicine, and treatment options, contact us today for a consultation.

By | 2014-12-29T15:13:26-07:00 December 30th, 2014|General Health|0 Comments

Sports Injury: Traditional Treatment Vs. PRP Therapy

What Are Platelet Rich Plasma Injections?

Traditional Treatment Vs. Platelet-rich plasmaRecent research reveals the increasing use and effectiveness of PRP therapy (Platelet-Rich Plasma) for minor to serious sports injuries.

An article published by the AAOS (American Academy of Othopaedic Surgeons) states that, “Many famous athletes — Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant [and] tennis star Rafael Nadal, along with several others — have received PRP for various problems, such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries.” The research also shows that through PRP injections, patients are more likely to avoid aggressive surgical procedure to help heal and alleviate constant pain from their sports related conditions.

The Downside of Traditional Treatment in Sports Medicine

Traditional and common approaches to sports injuries can often lead to disappointing or frustrating results. For minor injuries such as ligament sprains of the ankle or wrist, R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), can be helpful for temporary relief, but don’t restore healthier function back to the affected area(s) after injury.

In the case of more serious conditions such as rotator cuff tears, severe anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, tennis or golf elbow, ulnar collateral ligament injuries, and tendonitis, the widely used application of cortisone injection, or surgery, can often result in complications such as instability, stiffness, and overall failure to increased healing, or patient satisfaction.

PRP Therapy as an Effective Alternative

In short, PRP therapy is a proven holistic procedure in which a blood draw from a patient is treated to extract and separate a rich mixture of platelets and growth factors found naturally within the blood. This concentration is then injected back into the local site of injury. Bioactive proteins found in the PRP concentrate prompt the body’s own natural healing of degenerative tissue via the affect of the growth factors, reducing and easing chronic pain and discomfort within weeks.

Conversely, cortisone injections do not promote healing capabilities. Rather, they only mask inflammation and inhibit the patient from fully feeling pain, and surgery does not guarantee healthy stabilization back to the body.

If you suffer from a sports injury or osteoarthritis, and want to find out if regenerative medicine could be the right treatment option for you, contact us today at Regen Doctors in Ventura County. Our Regenerative Medicine Specialists are here to help you heal and get back in the game.

By | 2015-01-21T01:51:15-07:00 December 23rd, 2014|PRP Therapy|0 Comments