While not immediately obvious, there is a wonderful and powerful mechanism at work which is bringing Osteopathic Doctors, Physical Therapists and bold Medical Device Inventors together in a synergistic movement to treat, heal and alleviate chronic pain in joint pain sufferers across the world in what we call the Golden Age of Regenerative Medicine.
Doctors of Regeneration
Few people realize that our discipline has been around for some 100 years, tasked with treating acute injuries, chronic diseases like osteoarthritis and congenital malformations. With the latest breakthroughs in stem cell biology, regenerative clinics offer new viable hope in providing alternatives to invasive knee, hip, lower back or shoulder surgeries. Our field continues to grow, and we are finding new partners and champions in the form of physical therapists and medical device inventors who seek to complement our treatment plans with their own skill sets. This is the backbone of functional medicine, treating the body as a whole and using new, dynamic and scientific approaches to orthopedic healing. By keeping an open mind, we can adapt faster to the ravages of age, disease and injury.
The Evolving Physical Therapist
We cannot forget the role physical therapists play in regenerative medicine, especially after patients undergo stem cell procedures, including PRP and Prolotherapy, for joint pain, osteoarthritis (OA), and annular tears (rips in the tough exterior of an intervertebral disc).
This role requires compassion, knowledge and an intricate understanding of the muscular-skeletal system as they help patients mobilize all the key muscles and hinge-joints to accelerate the healing process.
Since our clinic is built upon the science of osteopathic medicine we pay particular attention to the physical rehabilitation process, working closely with select therapists to coordinate a careful, biomechanical flightpath to speedy recovery.
The best results for our patients come by combining rest, correct biomechanical loading, tissue mobilization and various other protocols to gently and methodically guide patients to maximum mobility and skeletal function in the period after the initial stem cell injections.
We also pay close attention to the objectives and goals defined by the Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research and Training which seeks to foster and nurture a strong collaborative relationship between Osteopathic Doctors such as Dr. Steve Coleman (D.O), Founder of MedicalMasters.org and other Physical Therapist partners, including those operating in and around Bonita Springs.
By educating PT’s on stem cell biology and regenerative medicine protocols, the treatment options available to our patients become more powerful and effective over shorter periods. The AR3T is thus an instrumental body in helping align the groundbreaking medical procedures being implemented by MedicalMasters.org and the evolving rehabilitative structures and processes of nearby physical therapy centers.
We remind our readers that regenerative medicine is currently evolving at a dramatic pace promising to greatly improve the methods and tools for repairing or replacing lost tissue from injury, disease or age via the enhancement of endogenous stem cell function or the transplantation of exogenous stem cells. By working closely with PT’s, we improve the application of mechanical and other physical stimuli to promote functional recovery.
These synergies are something we are extremely excited about and believe will become more advanced and integrated over time as we grow as a regenerative clinic.
But, while our partnership with physical therapists and physical rehabilitation centers is an important component of the regenerative landscape, we sometimes fail to mention other innovators in our realm who use the power of entrepreneurship and compassion to introduce new medical devices that hold the hope of helping you heal faster without the need for invasive surgery.
We are of course talking about medical device inventors, some of them very ordinary people who either suffer from the affliction of degenerative joint disease (DJD) or have a close relationship with somebody who does. In nearly all instances, their personal desire to alleviate suffering ends up having worldwide implications for other sufferers in the form of relief and hope.
In this respect, let’s examine two everyday inventors on opposite sides of the world, Hong Kong and Minnesota respectively, whose devices hold some hope for alleviating the pain and discomfort relating to arthritic joints. Their journey from idea to production, is both heart-warming and relevant. It is also an inspiration to us all, revealing how human ingenuity can transform our daily lives if we use the power of observation.
From Hong Kong With Love
Our first intrepid inventor is located in Hong Kong who could not stand the sight of his elderly dad in agonizing pain stemming from arthritic knees. For years he watched his dad struggle to walk properly, his gait despairingly altered by the effects of osteoarthritis. Each night, without fail, he would apply a heating pad upon his knee to ease the pain and stimulate mobility. Unfortunately, a few minutes later it would cool off prompting him to ask his wife or son to help him heat it up again. This scenario played out night after night. Surely, Stanley Kwok Chi-Hung thought to himself, there must be a better way.
He had to help his poor dad.
As fortune would have it, Mr. Chi-Hung happened to co-own KnitWarm, a manufacturing company. He brainstormed some ideas with his staff even while he noted that most manufacturing work was increasingly heading to mainland China.
After months of prototyping his team came up with a knee-heating wrap with a special breathable yearn that can be produced without extensive knitting, fully formed.
It is in many respects a breakthrough product for not only helping his ailing dad’s knees but also to a region that is aging quickly leading to a large spike in joint pain sufferers.
In fact, a recent study suggests that among local residents aged 50 and older, 7 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women suffer from osteoarthritis – an age-related condition that causes excruciating pain in the knee and other joints.
Within the next several years these numbers are expected to rise dramatically. The South China Posts reports that some 21 per cent of local residents are expected to be 65 or older, showing the connection to increasing levels of osteoarthritis.
Yet as long as we have compassionate inventors like Mr. Chi-Hung, the field of regenerative medicine can arm itself with more weapons to fight chronic joint pain without necessarily resorting to risky surgery.
The Minnesota Violinist With Healing Strings To Her Bow
Our next inventor, and much closer to home this time, is a young violinist from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, who happily plucked those musical strings from three years old until she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age nine.
The condition was especially prominent in her hands and wrist joints, but she refused to let this stop her from pursuing her musical vocation.
Normally, arthritis only affects those much older. Sarah Betts was indeed unlucky, but she used this misfortune to become a medical entrepreneur.
As time went on Sarah noticed that the more she played her violin, the less pain and swelling her left hand that presses the strings appeared to have compared to her right hand that holds the bow.
This, she thought to herself, was a surprising discovery. Most of the doctors and experts who examined her seemed to have missed this development.
This curiosity became the genesis for a new device she invented to help strengthen and mobilize the joints in the right hand.
She coined the orthopedic hand exercise device, ViEx, and industrially went about securing two patents for her medical invention.
"It has recycled violin strings that you can press down on top of a 3D printed base. Exercises take 10 minutes a day," she said.
The device is now being trialed at several orthopedic centers and received glowing reviews from onsite staff.
Now aged eighteen she has even built up an outreach programs to help the elderly benefit from her device.
"One lady, she could barely open her hand. Now, she's been using it for about a year and a half, and I mean, she can move her hand," Sarah said.
The device is highly affordable, priced at a paltry $3, but the young lady believes she make it even cheaper! See in her action below at a statewide graduation recital - she is quite impressive.
An Intersection of Science, Hope & Entrepreneurship
The preceding discussion shows the symbiotic relationship between osteopathic clinics, cellular treatment breakthroughs, physical rehabilitation and the allied contributions of medical device inventors in America and elsewhere.
The most advanced stem cell treatment protocols rely on using a functional approach to guide the initial Comprehensive Medical Assessment (CMA) and combine with physical therapists to develop a holistic treatment plan that will give the fastest and most productive healing approach for our patients.
But we must also be proactive and find new ancillary - often simple tools - that aid in this process. In this respect, we watch the medical device field closely and cheer the progress of inventors like Kwok in Hong Kong and Sarah in Minnesota who used the power of observation and love to combat the awful effects of arthritis that plague all of us as we age.
If there is a commonality among the three approaches mentioned above, it is probably compassion. Without this attribute we cannot develop careful approaches that meets the individual’s own unique physiology and medical history.
This is the driving force behind regenerative medicine which has now entered a new golden age of research, development and treatment protocols that we believe hold the key to aging gracefully without pain, while still enjoying a high degree of mobility.