Welcome to the first blog post for Atlantic Regenerative Joint and Spine Center!
As you likely already know, we are a partner clinic of the Regenexx network. Regenexx is a worldwide network of physicians who specialize in using regenerative treatments to treat orthopedic and spine conditions. These physicians are held to high standards and must undergo additional training, pass exams, and demonstrate proficiency before practicing. I am proud to be a part of this elite group of musculoskeletal expert physicians.
Three weeks ago, I was in Denver, Colorado for the annual meeting of the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation. This is a two-day conference which provides education to physicians on the use of stem cell, platelet rich plasma, and other orthobiologic injections to help facilitate tissue healing. There were some fantastic lectures and new studies presented. We’ll get to many of these studies in later blog posts. Before we get to that, I wanted to share why I believe that regenerative treatments will be the future of how we treat many spine and orthopedic problems.
At the core, I am a physician who believes in treating the whole person and working with the body’s natural attempts at healing.
Unfortunately, many of the conventional treatments that we have for orthopedics work in opposition to the body’s attempt to heal itself. For example, pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong and inflammation occurs as the body tries to heal. Current standard treatments such as steroid injections and NSAIDS block the inflammatory response and hence, the attempt at healing. Treatments such as radiofrequency ablations and opioids block the pain response but unfortunately, none of these modalities get to the underlying root cause of the problem. In addition, most of these treatments trade a short-term improvement in symptoms for significant side effects and sometimes even worsening of the underlying problem. For example, we now know that some local anesthetics (numbing medications) and steroids are toxic to the cartilage of the knee. However, they give a short-term improvement in pain so they are used frequently. Even surgery is often not a final solution to many pain problems. Surgery is simply cutting out or attempting to fix the tissue that is causing the problem, sometimes causing biomechanical issues or further trauma in the process. This is not to say it doesn’t have its place, only that many times there are other viable alternatives at our fingertips. For a long time, these standard treatments were the only options we had as physicians. So, we offered them to patients in our best attempt to heal or improve symptoms. However, we now have an emerging group of procedures (regenerative orthopedics) that improves on our older treatments.
Regenerative orthopedics is different because it works with the body’s natural mechanisms to help heal.
By using a person’s own blood platelets, stem cells, or other tissue to help improve the underlying structural problem in a minimally invasive fashion, inflammation can decrease more naturally and we are often able to improve pain and function with less side effects, less trauma, and an overall more satisfactory experience. I believe this paradigm shift of working with the body to help heal is a tremendous benefit to patients and will hold a significant place in spine and orthopedic treatment.
There is a saying in osteopathic medicine, “To find health is the object of the physician; anyone can find disease.” It’s not enough anymore to simply find the disease and block it, cut it out, burn it, or simply manage it. We must strive for health and healing. I believe we owe this to our patients.