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Written by: Dr. Neil Raff

Below is a traditional list of things that cause pain from both our skeletal system and our nervous system with brief descriptions of each.

What I want to call your attention to are two causes, one musculoskeletal and the other neuralgic, which are very common, severe, and yet not fully understood or fully diagnosed and therefore difficult to treat effectively.

The first is back pain, especially low back pain. It is quite common, affecting all ages, and can be quite severe and disabling. Yet the traditional treatment of muscular relaxants, pain pills, hot or cold packs, physical therapy and bed rest often does not provide the prompt or complete relief we need. Indeed, it often becomes a chronic and recurrent problem. Why?  Doctor John E. Sarno, a famous orthopedic and back surgeon from the 1980s noted the poor response to various types of back surgery and came to the conclusion it was due to a psychological cause, mainly repressed anger and frustration which in turn, all the blood flow to the muscles causing severe spasms. Through a form of emotional awareness and psychotherapy, his clinic has claimed to cure thousands — yes cured thousands of people from this condition.

I totally agree with his concept.  However, in the last 40 years of understanding of inflammation, environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and the importance of the autonomic nervous system has added many other elements to this equation. This has led to the opening many of the doors of effective treatment, avoiding unnecessary surgery.

Because of our office’s  interest in nutrition environmental effects on health, medical detoxification, and the importance of the autonomic nervous system, there is a separate section which enumerates the various types of treatments listing the various types of treatments that are available two more rapidly and successfully control treat those who suffer from this common chronic recurrent and disabling condition.

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Regenerative Cellular Therapy ( stem cells ) and Knee Pain

Many joints in your body such as hips, ankles, shoulders, and wrists can move in many directions, but not the knees. The knee is a hinge-like joint that moves in only one direction and is kept in alignment by many ligaments and tendons. Twisting the knee and athletic side blows cause devastating injuries by tearing and loosening support structures that keep the hinge aligned. When this happens the knee joint rapidly starts to deteriorate resulting in pain on movement and swelling of the knee area.

Regenerative cellular therapy (stem cells) is an in-office one-day procedure that has been extremely helpful in stimulating the body’s natural healing and repair, resulting in a return to almost, if not complete function, and avoiding major surgery. This is great for younger athletes but, even greater for the senior citizens for surgery and anesthesia represents an increased risk.

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Alternatives to Joint Surgery

Dear Dr. Raff,
I am 70 years old and have tremendous pain in my knee and hip. My orthopedist says I need a joint replacement, but I dislike surgery. Are there any other alternatives?

This is an important question especially for those over 60 years – old who suffer from severe ankle, knee, hip, lower back, neck, shoulder, elbows or any other joint pain and limited motion. Joint replacement surgery is an option for improving mobility and reducing pain. However, in spite of technical improvements, it still remains major surgery with a potential for complications and serious risks. The recovery time can often be several months or longer.

Yes, there is an alternative treatment. Due to the fact, that joints and ligaments have the least blood supply of any body tissue, the healing process from the injury or wear and tear is minimal. Doctors develop a treatment called prolotherapy for proliferation, which helps improve the blood flow to injured areas. The two forms of treatment are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and whole blood. PRP is a treatment where we take some of the patient’s own blood and separate out some of its components. The components are injected back into the damaged areas, which help stimulate more effective blood flow. An even more effective treatment is extracting stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow and fatty tissues, and then reinjecting them into damaged joints or ligaments.

Stem cells provide a much more powerful healing force especially for older patients or more severe situations, and it usually takes one treatment to alleviate the pain and improve mobility. Whole blood or PRP can be used for less severe cases but may require several treatments depending upon the patient’s response.

Both treatments are outpatient or office procedures which are extremely safe and are increasingly used to help avoid the major surgery of joint replacement.

Sincerely, Dr.Raff