Thursday, January 26, StemCell ARTS tested Facebook’s feature, “Facebook Live”, and Dr. Friedlis went live for the first time! If you were unable to catch the live video, hear what Dr. Friedlis had to say by clicking the link, below. In the video, Dr. Friedlis discusses spinal conditions and how the regenerative procedures offered at StemCell ARTS can help. The video was posted to our exclusive ‘Patient Discussion Forum’. This is a Facebook page that allows past, present and future patients to discuss their experiences with StemCell ARTS and regenerative therapies. This is an environment that encourages interactions between patients to discuss recovery, compare stories, etc. This also allows patients who have had a consult with one of the StemCell ARTS physicians to ask questions of patients who have been through the process. If you are interested in becoming a member of this group, you can submit your request via Facebook.
The “Facebook Live” feature allows patients to view our regenerative physicians and ask questions, in real time. Some of these questions may even get answered during the video. If a question does not get answered during the video, StemCell ARTS will attempt to provide answers to the questions and comments, following the completion of the video. This is a helpful tool if you have been thinking about the idea of regenerative therapies, but are not yet ready to commit to a phone call or evaluation.
StemCell ARTS will work to offer more “Facebook Live” videos to cover a variety of topics and questions. If you have an idea that you would like to see StemCell ARTS cover, head over to the StemCell ARTS Facebook page and leave suggestions. If you have any questions, keep an eye out for our next Live session to get your questions posted and answered.
Stay tuned for more Live videos from some of our other physicians!
For patients suffering from back pain, there are a number of treatments that can be suggested. Although surgeries of the spine, such as ‘fusions’ or ‘laminectomies’, can sound daunting and invasive, in some instances they are necessary steps to help patient return to a functioning lifestyle. For some patients, these surgeries are successful and patients can resume living their lives pain free. However, for other patients, the pain level post procedure is similar to what was experienced prior to having a surgical procedure of the spine. If surgery fails to resolve the patients pain, are all options exhausted? Are these patients destined to continue with life-limiting pain?
Luckily, StemCell ARTS is able to provide several regenerative treatment options that have helped our patients say “good-bye” to their post-surgical pain. Our procedure use the patients’ body’s own biologics to help itself heal. Our trained phlebotomists take a sample of the patients’ blood and process this, by hand, in the lab found in each of the StemCell ARTS offices. The blood is placed into a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds to separate the platelets from red blood cells. Those platelets are further processed and concentrated depending on their specific use. In Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), the platelets are injected into, and around the point of injury to jump start the body’s natural healing curve. For Platelet Lysate (PL), the platelets are frozen and broken open for immediate release. PL is recommended by the regenerative physician when PRP may be expected to cause too much inflammation. PL may also be suggested if the patient needs prompt relief since this procedure is comparable to a cortisone injection, but with the body’s own platelets in lieu of steroids.
One patient shares his story about how StemCell ARTS helped him regain his life following his spinal decompression surgery. When surgery failed to provide the necessary pain relief, Judge Thomas Moore sought the regenerative procedures offered at StemCell ARTS. Read more to see how our procedures changed Judge Moore’s life!
Regenerative Approach to Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common issues seen see at StemCell ARTS. The physicians perform a comprehensive exam to determine the cause of the back pain. Once the cause has been identified, the next step is to formulate a treatment plan to address the diagnosed condition. Fortunately, Regenexx procedures are revolutionizing the way the regenerative physicians at StemCell ARTS approach those problems. StemCell ARTS, with offices in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Chevy Chase, Maryland, have several regenerative procedures that can be utilized to combat low back pain.
Regenerative Treatment Options
Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma, and Platelet Lysate are all common injections utilized in the StemCell ARTS offices. Due to the specialized method in which the regenerative samples are processed, the physicians at StemCell ARTS are able to design a customized treatment plan to treat the specific patient and condition. These procedures are utilized to treat a wide range of diagnoses. This includes everything from minor strains and sprains, to varying degrees of Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). The procedures are done in the physician office, under local anesthesia. The procedures are very similar to interventional treatments, such as epidural cortisone injections, but use regenerative materials in lieu of steroids. The video below shows a complex disc treatment performed Dr. Pitts in the Broomfield, Colorado clinic. The procedure shown in the video is very similar to the disc treatments, using platelets instead of stem cells.
Don’t start 2017 wrestling with the same back pain that had you sidelined in 2016. Visit StemCell ARTS, where the phsysicians take extra care to diagnose the underlying cause of the back pain, leading to more focused and effective treatment options. In addition, the physicians are able to offer regenerative treatments, such as Platelet Rich Plasma and Platelet Lysate. These procedures can help patients who have failed , or those who may not be able to receive, traditional interventions for one reason or another.
Back pain is a broad term that can encompass a variety of conditions. Is the back pain related to the facet joints? What about the epidural spaces or the disc? Sometimes, determining the cause of back pain can be difficult, resulting in treatments that can be insufficient. Often, patients are treated with well-known, traditional treatments when they cite back pain as their primary area of discomfort. These treatments can include steroid injections, physical therapy, surgical intervention, bracing, etc. But what happens when those treatments fail to provide long-term relief? What happens when patients have residual pain following surgery? StemCell ARTS has alternative treatments that can help!
Listen to Dr. Wagner describe different causes of back pain, how the physicans at StemCell ARTS develop accurate diagnoses, and some of the regenerative treatment options.
Cervical spine (neck) pain is a common condition, suffered by many people. Whether it’s spinal stenosis, a disc herniation, or simply overexertion, the pain can become debilitating and lead to long term suffering. The cervical spine is a vulnerable structure that is comprised of joints and ligaments, working together to support the head. Its susceptibility to injury can result in a number of conditions causing spasm, headaches, or shooting pains. Finding the source of the pain is the first step, since damage in one area can affect many supporting systems. In the majority of cases, cortisone injections can help in the management of neck pain. In other patients, surgical intervention may be recommended. However, there are those who suffer from severe or chronic pain who have exhausted conservative treatment measures, or still have pain post surgery, and are left searching for an alternative solution.
Newly developed biological treatments have provided an opportunity for chronic pain sufferers to experience a long-lasting, natural solution to their neck pain. Regenerative treatments, such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or Platelet Lysate, contain highly concentrated growth factors from a patient’s own blood to attract repair cells and initiate the body’s healing process. In some cases, Prolotherapy, a concentrated solution of Dextrose and anesthetic can be used in conjunction with the platelet procedures, or on its own. Prolotherapy helps stimulate the body’s natural ability to strengthen ligaments and tendon surrounding the cervical spine. The regenerative treatments offered by the physicians at StemCell ARTS can offer relief to patients looking for a solution to their chronic neck pain.
A female patient has followed Dr. Benjamin Newton from Boulder, CO to Philly and, now, to StemCell ARTS in McLean, VA. She receives PRP and Prolotherapy injections for low back issues, SI joints, and facets. The patient reports that each time Dr. Newton has injected the affected area, she is virtually pain free within 24 hours and back to normal activities in just a couple of days. After finishing her last procedure, the patient dealt with airport travel, including delays and sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes prior to departing. The patient took one pain reliever to get home and hasn’t had any since. Not even Tylenol. The patient explains, “I believe in the power of regenerative medicine and my hope is that many more people will know more about this very effective option in overcoming injuries or arthritis instead of life altering surgical intervention.”
Click here to read the patient’s previous Facebook post
Recent studies found that chronic neck pain is a serious problem. It affects anywhere from 13% to over 25% of the general population. Of this percentage, 37% contribute their pain to a motor vehicle accident, where a whiplash-type injury is very common.
Whiplash can cause neck and shoulder pain, and another recent study found that it can also be attributed to headaches, dizziness, visual impairment and nausea. It is caused when stationary neck joints rapidly and violently shift and then return to their original position. In the case of a car accident, typically joints on the top of the neck shift back, while joints on the bottom of the neck go forward. Ligaments, which hold the joints in place, are stretched as a result. Potentially severe pain now exists, as there is increased motion in the joints after the injury. Muscles in the neck become tense to compensate for the loose ligaments and hold the joints in place. A patient suffering from whiplash can have both tense muscles and pain in the ligaments and in neck joint capsules.
The good news is that 90% of patients can heal from a whiplash injury in just a few months through a combination of physical therapy and anti-inflammatories. But in the other 10%, the ligaments are stretched too far, or the joint itself is damaged and cannot heal on its own. To find the root cause of pain with these patients, a local anesthetic or nerve block is administered at the injury site to accurately pinpoint whether the joint is the source of pain. If pain is relieved, it confirms the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan can be developed to jump start healing.
Platelets initiate tissue repair by releasing growth factors. These growth factors start the healing process by attracting cells that repair us, including critical stem cells. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy intensifies this process by delivering a higher concentration of platelets. The therapy involves a small sample of the patient’s blood placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The concentrated PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing. Our process for PRP is much different and sets us apart. Because our samples are all hand processed, we are able to produce PRP that is free of contaminating red and white cells, which can inhibit repair. This same special process also allows us to customize the concentration and volume for each individual and each injury type. This greatly improves outcomes.
PRP treatment typically takes about an hour, and the patient will go home that same day. Recovery from the injection is usually within 1 week of the procedure. On average, 3-4 treatments are necessary to heal a whiplash injury. Once the joints and tendons heal, then tension in the muscles will relax and the patient can experience significant improvement.
Pain from a whiplash injury should never be accepted as the “new normal.” Real help is available, even when traditional treatments fail. PRP is a solid answer for those 10% of whiplash patient still seeking relief.
 Bovim G, Schrader H, S and T, “Neck Pain in the General Population,” Spine, (1994), 19:1307–9
 Freeman, M, Croft, A, Rossignol, A, Centeno, C, Elkins, W, “Chronic Neck Pain and Whiplash: A Case-Control Study of the Relationship between Acute Whiplash Injuries and Chronic Neck Pain,” Pain Research and Management, (2006 Summer), 11(2): 79–83, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2585479/?report=classic#b28-prm11079
 Ishikawa S, Yokoyama M, Mizobuchi S, Hashimoto H, Moriyama E, Morita K, “Epidural Blood Patch Therapy for Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorder,” Anesthesia and Analgesia, (September 2007), 105(3):809-14, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17717243?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
It may start as an aching sensation in your neck or back that fades and returns. The pain may increase and last longer over time. You may begin to lose flexibility and stretching or turning your back might increase the pain. If you have these symptoms, you might be suffering from facet syndrome.
Facet syndrome is a common diagnosis for back, mid-back and neck pain. The facet is a joint that lies between each of the vertebra in the back. These joints are in constant motion, providing the spine with both the stability and flexibility needed to walk, run, bend, sit, and twist. The joint surfaces are lined with cartilage allowing them to glide easily over each other. The joint can be become damaged from an injury, or due to a degenerative condition, such as arthritis. When the joint cartilage deteriorates, friction between the bones leads to the tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and pain. The muscles will also work harder to protect the injured area, becoming very tense and stiff.
A treatment plan for Facet Syndrome can start with physical therapy to improve strength, mobility and range of motion. MRIs and x-rays can help confirm the diagnosis, and the diagnoses can be confirmed further through an injection of anesthetic and cortisone into what is believed to be the affected joint. If there is a reduction in pain, then this confirms the true source of your pain.
Cortisone is also helpful in reducing inflammation around the facet joint. However, these treatments may not return the patient to the flexibility and comfort level desired. This is where biologic regenerative treatments, such as Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), are particularly effective in actually helping the facet joint to heal, instead of merely reducing the symptoms. These treatments actually help to restore the strength to the neck or back.
Prolotherapy contains a solution of concentrated dextrose and local anesthetic (steroids are not used). This solution stimulates the body’s natural ability to repair damaged tissue, encouraging new growth and creating a positive environment into which the stem cells are placed.
Platelets initiate tissue repair by releasing growth factors. These growth factors start the healing process by attracting cells that repair us, including critical stem cells. Platelet Rich Plasma therapy intensifies this process by delivering a higher concentration of platelets. The therapy involves a small sample of the patient’s blood placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The concentrated PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing. Our process for PRP is much different and sets us apart. Because our samples are all hand processed, we are able to produce PRP that is free of contaminating red and white cells, which can inhibit repair. This same special process also allows us to customize the concentration and volume for each individual and each injury type. This greatly improves outcomes.
With treatments such as Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma, it is possible to restore the facet joint back to normal function. The muscles around the joint will begin to relax as a result, and the patient can return to the normal range of motion and flexibility experienced before the onset of Facet Syndrome.