I am happy and feel great after my first PRP injection. I am very positive about the experience. This is my personal running commentary to inform you of an extremely successful treatment for injury and arthritis, including my natural health advice, to reduce discomfort and speed healing. Platelet Rich Plasma PRP injections have been used for some thirty years in operating rooms and on the battle field to speed and increase natural healing of wounds. Blood is taken from the patient, whirled in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, which contain growth factors, and the platelets are re-injected into the wound site. It cuts healing time to a fraction because the body uses its own building materials to heal torn ligaments, worn out cartilage and many other injuries.
Last summer I heard about this medical process in a local Vermont newspaper article about an MD who treated knee injuries. Later that summer I met a retired orthopedic surgeon who called PRP injections the future of medicine. I too am hopeful. Using our own blood, eliminates the possibility of the body’s rejection of a mechanical part. There is no need to dangerously weaken immunity in order to prevent the body’s rejection of metal, ceramic or whatever new mechanical apparatus they think of. I hope to avoid hip joint replacement surgery completely with enhanced PRP injections using the growth factors in my blood, fat, and bone marrow.
The NIH has a Net article about PRP injections, suggesting that bone marrow injections, which contain stem cells, are much more effective than blood platelets. However, as usual, NIH recommends additional research because most of the results (they are extremely positive) are anecdotal. I will become part of the story. The process is still considered experimental because stem cell research was discouraged by President Bubba. Our stem cells are neutral: They have neither a political nor religious agenda. They can be injected into an organ and will duplicate its cells. Nice if you have an injury. Would you really prefer to have a pig’s liver? I would rather use my own liver stem cells to grow more and better liver tissue cells if necessary.
Each person’s story is different, but mine may shed some light on yours and I will describe the process and my progress. Mine is not a sports injury or accident. It took place over a lifetime. Like many people, one of my legs is a fraction shorter than the other, no more than ¼ inch different. No one noticed it, but every step I took over a lifetime cost me cartilage at the hip and knee joints. Every step came down with the force of my weight on that leg with a bang. Over time joints wear out because the cartilage that cushions them becomes thin. Bones swell with fluid in an attempt to shield the endangered joint. Holes (AKA cysts) can eventually form in the bone because of the shock of exercise and sports. An entire joint area—wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, or ankle–can become swollen, inflamed, stiff and painful. That is arthritis. Arthritis can also develop after an injury when the body builds up extra bone matter as a cushion. After whiplash, the neck may eventually become stiff and bent out of shape.
Natural Pain Remedies
For years I have used natural remedies to ease joint and muscle pain and improve mobility. It is my profession. I teach classes and write books and articles on natural medicine. I have learned a lot from experience, reading and my health practice in acupuncture and Asian herbs. Certain foods can reduce pain because they reduce irritating acids. Minerals are very important for bone health. Foods like very ripe citrus, okra, celery, and goat whey make the body more alkaline and are sources of sodium, which aids in the absorption of calcium. That helps prevent arthritis and osteoporosis, thinning bones.
Black Cherry concentrate is a liver cleanser and source of iron that helps reduce gout. You can add a tablespoon to water each morning as refreshing liver cleanse. Acupuncture can enhance circulation, bringing blood and oxygen to heal injury and treat painful areas.
I have taken herbs, supplements and homeopathic remedies for pain control such as homeopathic dulcamara, which treats pain that feels worse with rainy or humid weather (rheumatism.) Homeopathic formic acid, the acid from ants, is diuretic and reduces uric acid, which underlies gout and nerve pain. A homeopathic remedy must be taken between meals, not mixed with foods or beverages, because it is refined enough to affect cells and the blood. The pills or liquid remedies are dissolved under the tongue and enter the blood stream by way of blood vessels in the mouth. Over the counter homeopathic remedies with names such as “arthritis” can treat symptoms, but to correct a longterm problem, expert diagnosis is necessary.
I think it is very useful to combine a natural/Eastern approach with a high tech medical approach. I am especially open to the experimental when it can heal the body with the body’s own building material. That comes close to a natural approach.
Why I Want to Avoid Joint Replacement Surgery
It is major surgery. The down time, though shorter than it once was, is still considerable. Something like 770,000 joint replacement surgeries are done yearly in America. They don’t all work. LOTS of people do not have insurance and are too young for Medicare. I have looked into having it done abroad, where it costs a fraction of the American price (approx. U.S. $20,000 – 25,000.) In India, for example, it costs about ¼ of the American price. In Europe, say in France, it cost a bit more than ½ or ¾ the U.S. price depending on the clinic. One nice thing about going abroad is visiting the country. BUT the problem with having a surgery abroad is that it may become open-ended. It may result in infection and multiple surgeries because of botched jobs. That means a return trip! A study was done in England, which found that roughly 1 in 4 foreign surgeries had to be repeated. Most of the time it was necessary because the surgery did not take – the body rejected the fake joint or as a result of infections.
So I looked into PRP injections to save myself the pain, expense, and hassle of surgery. Hopefully, it will spare me those or at the very least delay surgery until I can get Medicare (if it exists then.)
So far, I am delighted. I had my first PRP injection using blood, tummy fat, and bone marrow yesterday. And here I am writing this. My joint stiffness is no more than what I might feel on a rainy day. The lyposuction to get tummy fat is more painful, but tolerable. I am using a powerful Chinese herbal remedy to reduce pain, swelling, bruising, and to speed healing. A pleasant surprise: the bone marrow harvesting did not hurt because it was taken from the ileocrest an area of my pelvis that contains no nerve endings, no feeling. I will describe the pre and post-op natural remedy protocol in the following article.
To feel the results of the injections, in my case to both hips, requires several weeks. As my cartilage grows to cushion my joints, I can expect some discomfort. But results vary. I heard of one may who threw away his cane 2 weeks after the injections. And a woman who after 2 weeks went dancing all night. That was a bad idea because she used up the collagen in her tummy fat injection. After PRP, you have to take it easy and only do very light exercise like walking so that the PRP material does not move away from the injection site. It can squish out of the joint area and take somewhere else because it is your own blood material.
I found my doctor, Alan Lazar, MD, FACS, board certified orthopedic surgeon, on the internet. I knew I was spending winter in Florida so I googled “PRP injections Florida.” When I had tried to find the same therapy in New York no one had heard of it at the Hospital for Joint Health. New York is still very tied up with drugs and surgery. However, some forward-looking doctors are more open. One of my favorite New York MDs, head of Plastic Surgery at NY Downtown Hospital, Dr. Gerald Ginsberg, emailed me that he absolutely thinks such injections will work. Dr. Lazar, in Florida, said “Doctors love this therapy. My first fifty patients were MDs.”
I think that PRP enhanced with stem cells can be applied to many fields of medicine. Time will tell.
To be continued.
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