HOW I AVOIDED KNEE SURGERY WITH PRP INJECTIONS Many people take for granted the movement and mobility of the human body. We are able to move our limbs with freedom and great range of motion to perform the many amazing things with our bodies. So let’s talk about knee pain and surgery. I have had personal experience with knee (patella) dislocations, arthroscopic surgery, ACL tear, ice pack machines, painkillers, physical therapy, and recovery. Let me tell you, it’s ZERO fun. I have had personal experience with knee pain that motivated me to really dive into the science and anatomy. This has shaped my clinical opinion regarding knee pain and the treatment options. Please consult with your medical provider about these alternative therapies for your complaints. “APPROXIMATELY 700,000 KNEE REPLACEMENT PROCEDURES ARE PERFORMED ANNUALLY IN THE US. THIS NUMBER IS PROJECTED TO INCREASE TO 3.48 MILLION PROCEDURES PER YEAR BY 2030” Dr. Jason Phan’s Theory Regarding Pain Patterns
Pain stems from the anterolateral spinothalamic tract sending a signal to the brain of “pain”. Within a joint space a damaged connective tissue sends a signal up this tract to tell the brain – “this tissue is damaged”. The body then sends immune cells (interleukins, cytokines, growth factors, calcium) to the affected area – known commonly as inflammation/swelling. The body’s healing process has started and I commonly call this process the “patch & repair” system.
The “patch & repair” system is your body’s best capability of healing connective tissue. Think about when you 1st sprained your ankle. Is your ankle the same as the other healthy ankle or does it look puffy and swollen? Most likely you sprained your calcaneal fibular ligament and placed “scar tissue” or calcium within the ligament to “patch & repair”. Now when you go to use that ankle or an explosive movement – the calcified ligament is under stress which causes pain.
Typical Knee Injuries
- Triad – MCL (medial collateral ligament), ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and medial meniscus.
- Coronary ligament injury
- Meniscal injuries (anterior or posterior horns)
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament)
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament)
- Patella tendon tear
- Condromalacia patella (torn cartilage)
Any injury to these connective tissues will lead to a path of pain and discomfort. Over TIME these ligaments and tendons will degrade and cause joint dysfunction (typically diagnosed as osteoarthritis or arthritis).
Treatment Options For Knee Pain
Physical Therapy – excellent treatment option for knee pain. Improving joint strength, flexibility and range of motion. Physical therapist understand the human biomechanics and have methods and strategies to improve each category of the pain patterns and movement patterns. They also have external modalities such as ultrasound, cold laser, TENs units, and E-stim.
Chiropractors – I like to call them movement and mobility specialists. Chiropractors have an increasing knowledge base of the human nervous system and how that correlates to physical pain. Chiropractors are very knowledgable about the human body in the treatment of knee pain, addressing biomechanics, subluxations, and the cause of your joint pain.
Surgery – orthopedic surgeons are talented physicians that have saved many lives with their blade. The new advances in orthopedic medicine has been life-changing but the trauma to the body during surgery is worth noting. Down-time of weeks to months has individuals seeking 2nd opinions and the pain postoperative leads patients dependent on painkillers which has a whole other set of complications. Surgery is a good option for some – but not for the majority.
The Different Types of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine has gained some serious publicity but also successful clinical and scientific data. Regenerative medicine consists of promoting or stimulating the human body to regrow connective tissues to promote healing and long-term results. Regenerative medicine consists of stem cell therapy (mesenchymal stem cells, adipose derived stem cells, bone marrow aspiration stem cells), PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy, and prolotherapy.
The science behind regenerative medicine is extracting and injecting pluripotent or totipotent stem cells into a specific joint, ligament, tendon, or connective tissue to stimulate the body to heal oneself. These procedure are for the most part non-surgical (besides bone marrow aspiration and adipose derived stem cells). These injections are performed with a small-gauge needle and injected into specific points of dysfunction or pain in the body.
Why You Should Get A Second Opinion To Avoid Knee Surgery.
Joint replacements are common in the USA. 1 million per year is estimated and increasing to approximately 4 million in 20 years. Total hip joint replacement places a 10 year life expectancy of patients due to the immobility and sedentary lifestyle post-surgery. There has to be a better option, right?
Orthopedic surgeries are indicated for a select amount of individuals but regenerative medicine should be a consideration before any major joint surgery.
““Dr. Phan treated my knee meniscal tear with three PRP injections across the course of about 4 months. Pleased to report I am back to running (I could not run at all prior to the injury, and was slated to have surgery for the repair after 6 weeks of PT which did not help (my tear is interior poor blood flow region). At 44yrs old surgery was destine for significant downtime. I am very happy to have made the decision to seek and opt for regenerative therapy rather than surgery. Dr. Phan and his office associates are outstanding – also Dr. Phan himself has had knee problems in the past, so he has excellent knowledge of the knee anatomy (in fact I was skeptical but it went very well, all three procedures went smoothly).””
— Tara H.
The Future of Medicine – Regenerative Medicine
PRP (platelet rich plasma) has astonished me (Dr. Jason Phan) with the clinical results that my patients have experienced with PRP injections to treat their joint pain. The amount of pain that my patients walk into the clinic with is jaw-dropping. The pain tolerance and discomfort these individuals face day to day is heartbreaking. After the patient understands the regenerative medicine procedure, they gain confidence in that their joint can heal and they can live a pain-free life again.
“ON AVERAGE – PATIENT’S EXPERIENCED 50% IMPROVEMENT IN PAIN, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THEIR AFFECTED JOINT”
In the beginning of my practice I was surprised that individuals came back into the clinic with the results and improvements that they have seen with just 1 injection. Regenerative medicine still to this day surprises me with the power it possesses to change millions of individuals lives who experience pain and loss of function of their joints.
Dr. Jason Phan NMD – LIVV Natural Health | Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in IV Vitamin Therapy, PRP (platelet rich plasma)/Prolotherapy Regenerative Injections, Men’s and Women’s Health, and Optimal Living.