Dr. Steve Coleman
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
In my position as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, I have the unique and challenging position of often meeting patients only once their joint condition has deteriorated into the direst end of the pain spectrum. This means I am literally their final port of call – a last-chance Hail Mary pass by their inner quarterback to restrain and limit the effects of degenerative joint disease in the knees, hips, shoulders and frequently their lower back.
Rising up to the Challenge
If my team fails in this noble pursuit of alleviating chronic pain and increasing joint mobility, the patient usually has no choice but to undergo the surgeon’s knife as part of invasive knee, hip or back surgery.
This puts an enormous responsibility on my shoulders and that of my functional medical clinic to give my patients not only hope, but results. It’s a position that I do not take lightly. Fortunately, my profession and training has armed me well for this challenging assignment.
As an “Old School” osteopathic physician, I take my Oath of Hippocrates extremely seriously. It informs each and every decision I make especially when it comes to treating chronic joint pain that plagues aging Americans. I feel privileged to treat patients like Joan Conner, 73, who tell me, “you are the only doctor who has ever really helped me. All the others would tell me things, but you are the one that actually fixed my lower back!”
Nothing is Easy With Back Pain
To understand the magnitude of her kind statement, one must understand the gravity of her pain which plagued her daily activities. Simply sneezing or coughing sent her into fits of writhing agony. Since her condition had reached bone-on-bone osteoarthritis, she found it virtually impossible to get out of bed each morning.
“Quite literally, I could not put my feet on the ground,” she said. “It felt like I had broken my back.”
I of course wish older patients like Joan would come to me well before it reaches these advanced stages of pain. It is much harder and more challenging to heal the latter stages of osteoarthritis with regenerative approaches once it reaches bone-on-bone, although I have done so successfully in many cases as evidenced in my numerous patient success stories.
A comprehensive medical assessment (CMA) scheduled several years earlier would have detected her predisposition towards osteoarthritis and allowed a series of interventionist treatment modalities to ensure she never experienced the pain in first place. This preventive approach is one of the proud cornerstones of my osteopathic clinic and I hope those reading this article will consider a CMA if they have passed the aged of 45 and NOT currently experiencing pain in the lower back, knees, hips or shoulders.
Comprehensive Medical Assessment
If you are experiencing lower back pain and past the age of 45, consider scheduling a consultation with our cellular therapy team.
It’s an ageless cliché, but prevention is better than a cure!
Shaking Americans out of their addiction to symptomatic treatment plans including conservative therapies such as cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, - even braces - is an ongoing challenge for our wellness clinic in Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Estero. The pain usually returns in greater degrees while joint mobility continues to degrade over time.
In an effort to help patients like Joan BEFORE their joints arrive at these advanced stages of Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) I often hold public educational stem cell seminars to highlight the advances made in both regenerative cellular therapies and our preventive medicine program.
I have even travelled abroad to countries like Honduras to share my knowledge of prolotherapy procedures and new strides being made in stem cell therapy.
Working in disadvantaged communities has strengthened my resolve to use cellular injection techniques as a viable alternative to invasive surgeries such as a full hip or knee replacement.
Treating hundreds of patients in third-world conditions has allowed me to witness first-hand the power of cellular medicine in helping patients reduce pain and gain more joint mobility.
A Medical Mission
This was the 47th annual two-week trip to Honduras organized by the Hackett Hemwall Patterson Foundation
Surgery as a Last Resort
While I am not anti-surgery on any level, I have made it my duty to educate the general public on the dangers of total joint replacement which include both operative and post-operative health risks, risk of infection, plus putting severe cost-pressures on our bloated healthcare system.
Yet as a proud and diligent exponent of both functional medicine and osteopathy, I realize that MedicalMasters.org is often a patient’s last stand after traditional medicine inevitably fails to heal and treat joint pain with opioids, steroids, cortisone and other pain killers which are doomed to treat symptoms while ignoring the underlying causes.
Other side effects of this approach may include addiction, weight gain, lethargy, fatigue and a general sense of helplessness as medication fades in effectiveness over time. When all this fails, the last and final option – as I mentioned above - is often invasive surgery which quite rightly fills most of my patients with dread.
Joan Says NO to Back Surgery
In Joan’s case the lower back pain became all-consuming. She reached out to my clinic in a last ditch effort to regain the ability to perform simple daily functions like walking, climbing stairs or getting into a car seat without pain.
Visibly hurting, I gently took Joan through my 100 Point Health Score or CMA which includes a thorough patient history synopsis and an examination of her entire physiological state, to determine whether she may be a suitable candidate for minimally-invasive Level 3 outpatient procedures, including stem cell therapy.
The results of the 100 Point Health Score confirmed several overlapping issues in the lower lumbar area from L2 down to L5 that help compose the spinal vertebrae. Since these large movable bones need to support more weight than the upper regions of the spine, they are particularly susceptible to the specter of osteoarthritis through aging and injury. Once this happens these vertebrae are prone to nerve damage while also impinging natural movement, including walking.
Simple bending and twisting motions become extremely painful and severely impact the quality of life.
Joan scored her pain level at 10/10 in the lower spinal column, revealing the extent to which osteoarthritis had eroded the natural cushioning pads that encapsulate the intervertebral discs. Compression fractures, improper posture, injury, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis are other conditions which may affect aging patients and spike pain levels.
Lower Back Pain in Sporting Arena
Golfers are particularly prone to lower back pain, including Jack Nicholas who was diagnosed with facet joint syndrome. This narrowing of space between vertebrae negatively influences spinal alignment, leading to “wear and tear” grinding on the vertebrae exacerbated by osteoarthritis.
Lower Back Pain and Golf
Another golfer and patient of mine, Ken, experienced similar lower back issues that radiated the pain towards the left hip. His patient history file confirmed previous surgeries for a herniated disk that failed to curb the awful pain each time he teed off at his favorite golf course.
When Traditional Medicine Fails
Traditional medicine may dictate that all three individuals above would be perfect candidates for cortisone injections and possibly lower back surgery. However, in both Joan and Ken’s case, the final findings from a CMA confirmed an alternative approach.
While osteoarthritis was in its advanced stages, cellular therapies such as prolotherapy, PRP and stem cell injections could alleviate the pain and bring back workable joint mobility. In Jack Nicholas’s case, he grew tired of cortisone shots which lost their effectiveness over time. And, by the age of 78, he elected to try stem cell therapy.
This minimally-invasive approach to dealing with both pain and joint mobility is key tenant of regenerative medicine and is gradually finding more acceptance across the world as various breakthroughs are made in stem cell biology. This interest has accelerated with the recent news that stem cell researchers have discovered the molecular agent responsible for generating the entire skeleton in the human body.
Look to Ancient Rome
I explained to Joan that the underlying injection modalities which underpin cellular therapies have been around for centuries. For instance, there is historical evidence that Roman gladiators used early prolotherapy techniques (i.e. dextrose solution) to treat joints ravished by combat. As early as 400 B.C. the legendary Greek physician, Hippocrates used a hot poker to repair a dislocated shoulder. Simple irritants injected into a weakened joint or disc have been shown to stimulate healing cascade in the body.
Over the last 100 years these techniques have been crafted and perfected to remarkable degrees of precision by osteopathic doctors seeking to heal joints without invasive surgery. Overlapping and emerging disciplines in herniology, dermatology, sclerotherapy (treatment of varicose veins), and stem cell biology have allowed modern-day regenerative clinics to offer powerful same-day treatment plans that are both FTC and FDA compliant.
By fusing together three cellular injection technologies – Prolotherapy, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), and Stem Cells - MedicalMasters.org can stimulate a rapid, pro-inflammatory response in the spinal vertebrae that compose the lower back or spine.
The key aspect of this approach is that it uses the patient’s own cells to stimulate joint healing. PRP is essentially concentrated blood platelets obtained by spinning the patient’s own blood in a centrifuge.
The best results in regenerative healing emerge, however, once we also mix in the patient’s stem cells. These are obtained by extracting fat adipose (mesenchymal stem cells) and bone marrow (hematopoietic stem cells) from the patient, which are mixed in with the dextrose and PRP solution to formulate a powerful cellular cocktail.
Cellular Injection Results for Joan
When re-injected back into Joan’s lower lumbar and sacroiliac joints the results went well beyond expectations. The cellular injections helped return normal body function while also virtually eliminating her pain. Overall, she reported less tightening around the lamina and general improvements in mobility.
Joan, 73, and Ken, 45, reflect the spectrum of ages that suffer from osteoarthritis, either due to injury or age, or both. They both benefited from the power of cellular therapies that utilize cells from the patient’s own body to trigger inflammatory healing.
While the results are not immediate – it takes several weeks before the joints gradually restore themselves – they are powerful and often long-lasting.
The great Jack Nicholas confirmed this himself stating that while he did not sense immediate relief, he noticed the pain subsided dramatically in the ensuing months, particularly after playing golf.
My patient Ken shared similar conclusions in his follow-up visits to my stem cell clinic.
While the physical repair itself is remarkable, what is even more joyful to my team is the renewed sense of hope, optimism and determination displayed by my patients after experiencing stem cell therapy.
For instance, Joan recently returned to my clinic to explore cellular injection therapies for her ailing knees solely based on the experience of having her lower back pain resolved. She no longer feels helpless when she confronts joint pain. Nor does she feel pressured to explore joint replacement options or necessarily undergo cortisone injections.
Instead, she can tap in the rich, emerging field of regenerative medicine complete with holistic solutions to treating pain by tackling their causes. In this world, prolotherapy, PRP, stem cell therapy, NAD+ nutritional counseling and hormone balancing rule, as we move towards a world which limits the effects of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis as we age.