- FACT: Regeneration of meniscus and cartilage is difficult to heal especially in the ‘white zone’ where there is a lack of blood vessels and therefore deprives the meniscus of healing nutrients and oxygen.
- FACT: Stem cell injections and PRP injection treatments are in the infancy stages of research. These treatment options are as controversial as surgery.
- New York Times, Dr. Gordon H. Guyatt, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario states: Meniscus surgery is expensive and has potential complications (British Medical Journal even agrees with this).
- FACT: I want patients to return to sport or leisure activity as fast as possible.
- Researchers in Denmark have published: “patients undergoing arthroscopic meniscus surgery were too optimistic regarding their recovery time and postoperative participation in leisure activities. This highlights the need for shared decision making which should include giving the patient information on realistic expectations of recovery time and regarding participation in leisure-time activities after meniscal surgery.”1
- Can PIEZOWAVE Pulse Therapy and ENPULS Radial Shockwave Therapy regrow meniscus tissue? What about stem cell therapy and PRP? Is one more successful at treating meniscal damage? All of these treatments are very promising! I have not seen 80-100% predictable positive clinical outcomes yet with any of these! So far I see stimulation of stem cells (either non-invasive therapy or injections) as promising for meniscus repair and regeneration.4
- We need more University and Hospital based studies to confirm this trend.
- Again, everyone agrees that Meniscus injuries remain a significant challenge due to the poor healing potential of the inner avascular zone (the inner portion of the meniscus that lacks a blood supply).
- I use the non-invasive and less expensive EnPuls and PiezoWave therapy instead of PRP to achieve pain relief and attempt to halt the progression of meniscal damage. More time and research is required to see if this is the way to regenerate tissue.5
- Pihl K, Roos EM, Nissen N, JøRgensen U, Schjerning J, Thorlund JB. Over-optimistic patient expectations of recovery and leisure activities after arthroscopic meniscus surgery. Acta Orthop. 2016 Sep 13:1-7.
- Brelin AM, Rue JP. Return to Play Following Meniscus Surgery. Clin Sports Med. 2016 Oct;35(4):669-78. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2016.05.010. Epub 2016 Jul 9. Review.
- Noyes FR, Barber-Westin SD. Long-term Survivorship and Function of Meniscus Transplantation. Am J Sports Med. 2016 Sep;44(9):2330-8.
- Niu W, Guo W, Han S, Zhu Y, Liu S, Guo Q. Cell-Based Strategies for Meniscus Tissue Engineering. Stem Cells International. 2016;2016:4717184. doi:10.1155/2016/4717184.
- Blanke F, Vavken P, Haenle M, von Wehren L, Pagenstert G, Majewski M. Percutaneous injections of Platelet rich plasma for treatment of intrasubstance meniscal lesions. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2015 Oct 20;5(3):162-166.
Does shockwave therapy such as EnPuls and PiezoWave stimulate stem cells in inhibiting disc degeneration and disc herniation? The research and my clinical experience suggest the answer is ‘Yes’. Stem cells can be injected into the area of local damage but this is invasive and costly. We are using EnPuls and PiezoWave pulse therapy and laser (all non-invasive) to stimulate stem cells to interact with the local stem cells and immune system cells to achieve successful disc pain relief and tissue regeneration.
The current theory is that the combination of these non-invasive deep tissue treatments stimulates stem cells that are able to bring more oxygen to the damaged disc and accelerate healing by reversing the low-oxygen (degenerative or dying) environment in the spine. Also inflammation comes in many forms. To keep it simple one type is healing and another type is non-healing inflammation. Research supports stem cells are able to reduce or prevent herniation by suppressing the non-healing inflammation.
Here’s what we think is happening when a shock wave and laser treatment is applied to a damaged joint causing you (in your joints):
- Stem cell stimulation occurs which sends signals to the local stem cells and other growth factors to regroup and begin repairing damaged joints.
- Mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs – connective tissue stem cells) suppress inflammatory T–cell proliferation and provide anti-inflammatory effects. Applying these (Piezo Wave, EnPuls, TheraLase, Light Force) treatment modalities inhibits damaging chronic inflammation.
- Mesenchymal stem cells express various growth factors – these are active molecules that stimulate local tissue repair. These growth factors, and the direct cell to cell contact between MSCs and chondrocytes (the present remaining cartilage cells in the joint), have been observed to influence chondrogenic differentiation and cartilage matrix formation – in simple terms – stem cells regenerated cartilage.
Can shock wave repair disc lesions and other degenerated joints? We are seeing clinical outcomes that suggest it does. Do I think you should try this before more expensive and risky injections of stem cells? The answer is Yes!
If you have Achilles tendinopathy and/or plantar fasciitis, Theralase laser and PiezoWave acoustic therapy is an effective and safe alternative to injections and cortisone medications. These are cutting edge non-surgical treatments for tendinopathies that are safer and less costly than platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments.
Chondromalacia patella responds very favorably to our TheraLase laser and Piezowave acoustic regenerative techniques. Laser therapy stimulates cell metabolism while the Piezowave decreases pain and inflammation. If you need treatment for patellar tendinopathy or chondromalacia patella you may be thinking about platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP). I find we get better results with these less expensive and non-invasive therapies. Patient’s pain levels decrease and activity level improves.
There is an increasing awareness and popularity of laser and shockwave therapies (PiezoWave, EnPuls) for soft tissue injuries such as ligament, muscle and tendon tears and tendinopathies. We are the only office in the Los Angeles area with two types of laser and two types of impulse devices.
Cartilage is the soft padding that keeps your bones from grinding against each other.
When you’re young, the cartilage between your bones is moist and thick…but as you get older, that soft padding can start to get dry, wear thin or tear. Knee cartilage is meant to be smooth so you can walk, run, and even jump. If you have muscle imbalances this can cause excessive and uneven wear and tear in the joint cartilage.
Over time, friction may develop in the joint and you feel inflammation, burning, discomfort, and pain.
Cartilage pain relief – Patients ask me “Can I regrow and rebuild my joints?” The answer is yes!
I see this happen in patients who get laser and shock wave or pulse wave therapy. You can also make your joints fluid and flexible by decreasing inflammation by losing extra fat if you are overweight. I also recommend water-based “lubrication” supplements that help keep your joints soft and moist. If you need certain exercises I will teach you those.
These new technologies (laser and shock wave) are non-invasive without the pain and risk of costly surgeries or addictive drugs.
Some patients start to feel relief within the first 12-24 hours.
I used this very same procedure of laser and shockwave to help rebuild my knee when I had a meniscus tear years ago. I remember when the radiologist said “You need to go see an orthopedic surgeon”. After seeing the ortho surgeon I decided to use my own machines and it helped me avoid surgery and years of endless pain… and I think it could help you, too.
Laser and Shockwave is the Missing Technology that
Lets Your Body Build MORE Cartilage and Repair Tendons
Call 410-444-9393 for an appointment
We are the only office in West Los Angeles with two types of laser and two types of shock wave devices
Chiropractic care or medication/shots?
Bone marrow stem cell injections vs non-surgical, non-invasive therapy?
DC’s, PT’s and MD’s know that chronic tendon pain is a challenge to treat. Chiropractors and Physical therapists use non-invasive procedures while medical doctors use cortisone shots and now some are using stem cell therapy injections. Research by doctors at the National University of Singapore suggest that bone-marrow derived stem cells accelerate tendon healing.1 Resolving ongoing inflammation is the key to management of these cases.
This is why the great excitement in stem cell therapy, it has the potential to reduce inflammation. BUT, so does TheraLase laser therapy and the use of PiezoWave and EnPuls. These are non-invasive therapies that the general public are not aware of yet.
Even the Center of Translational Regenerative Medicine researchers, in Torino, Italy say: “Tendon injuries represent even today a challenge as repair may be exceedingly slow and incomplete. Regenerative medicine (Tucker’s note – meaning laser and shockwave like the EnPuls & PiezoWave) and stem cell technology have shown to be of great promise.”2
I would much rather have patients try these non-invasive and less expensive therapies before getting a cortisone shot or going through expensive stem cell therapy first.
Can fish oils help my arthritis?
Health benefits of using Omega 3 fish oils include lowering your risk of heart disease, blood vessel disease, lowering triglycerides, and “thinning” the blood (reducing the risk of clots). It may improve brain development, concentration, learning ability and behavior in children as well as enhancing brain function in adults (60% of the brain is fat and half of that is DHA). I do find it helpful for my arthritic patients (see dose below). Along with recommending supplements for arthritis I use lasers directly over painful joints. These offer a deep heat sensation and helps relieve pain in arthritic joints.
Do tinned and smoked fish count?
Regarding eating fish, I would say that ALL fish is good for you. It is a very lean source of protein. It’s normally the way that fish is cooked that detracts from its goodness – think battered and fried (Not good). Oily fish such as fresh salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines contains the ‘healthy’, or polyunsaturated, fats that we are advised to eat more of. These types of fish are high in Omega 3 which is called an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid – it is ‘essential’ because our bodies cannot make it so we need to consume it through our diets.
If a product’s been tinned or smoked it will have fewer micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) than the fresh version, however it will still be a good source of protein, low in fat and contain a certain amount of vitamins and minerals. The fish to really avoid are the ones that have been battered, breaded or already have cheesy or creamy sauces on them. Also, fish to eat the least often are deep sea fish (especially large fish) such as shark, marlin, tuna and swordfish. These may contain particularly high levels of mercury. These fish should be avoided by pregnant women and children under 16 years old. Mercury is potentially harmful for children and it can harm fetuses.
How Much Fish Oil Do I Need?
It is recommended that adults and children over 12 years old eat 2 portions of oily fish per week – a portion is 140g cooked fish and it will contain approximately 450mg of Omega 3’s. I typically recommend that clients take supplements of 3 grams of Omega 3 fish oils each day (order at www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com)(try EPA-DHA 720 or SPM Active). If a client has acute or chronic pain I may recommend even higher doses.
There are some vegetarian sources of omega-3’s like walnuts, flaxseed (linseed) oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc., all of these are short chain polyunsaturated acids which must be converted by the body into longer chain PUFAs to be useful. Since fish oil already contains long chain PUFAs, it’s the best dietary source. For vegetarians I recommend Biotics Mixed EFA’s.
When taking fish oil supplements, it is generally a good idea to take vitamin E (3 mg for every 1 gram of fish oil) to protect against oxidation. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E counteracts free-radical formation from unsaturated oils.
The bottom of your foot hurts. Maybe one side, or worse both feet hurt! The cause of the pain is probably something related to a change in your walking or running habits. People say to me “I haven’t changed anything so how does it happen?” There has to be something that you are doing wrong that you don’t even know you are doing wrong. It’s often in your gait or posture causing an excessive strain that is creating repetitive irritation of the arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis starts with some inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of the foot and eventual thickening of the plantar fascia. I don’t have to tell you that it can be a severe irritation. In order for me to evaluate and correct plantar fasciitis I examine the whole Superficial Back Line of fascia, which starts at the bottom of the foot and goes all the way up to your head. We might find this fascial band tight anywhere along its entire length. Fascia is the primary force transmission system in your body. If it cannot transmit force efficiently, there is too much strain in certain places: the bottom of the foot is often one of the spots that takes the burden of the excess stress (resulting in too much strain).
The examination includes checking for tightness in the muscles around the calf, especially the soleus and toe flexors. I also check stability and force generation in your glutes, psoas, quads, and abdominals. If they are inhibited or weak the lower leg and foot have to do more work. More work leads to pain and discomfort. A common movement pattern dysfunction of plantar fasciitis is lack of strength and timing of the Gluteus Maximus. Weak glutes contribute to foot dysfunction.
Key non-invasive treatments:
EnPuls (radial pulse therapy or shock wave therapy) and Piezowave Therapy (Acoustic pulse therapy)
These therapies significantly reduce pain and inflammation while stimulating the formation of new collagen matrix in damaged foot tissues. Properly applied shock wave therapy with optimal dosage is one of the best modalities available for effective treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. Often you will feel significant changes and improvements within several sessions.
Taping is an effective tool for alleviating symptoms and helping to form new movement habits. Sensory input from the tape on skin ignites the brain maps in discovering new options for movement. Tape adds stability. More stability leads to increased movement variability. Being stability is a good thing.
I am the only Chiropractor in Los Angeles with these combinations of modalities to target treatment to the site of pain and I teach patients the use of corrective exercises. This approach leads to more positive outcomes. The body will tell you very quickly what it likes and what it doesn’t like. If you feel better and it lasts you are on the right track. If you don’t, that’s a sign you need to change approaches. I can combine radial pulse waves, acoustic pulse waves, laser therapy, taping, and strength work to help you heal better and faster.
In the Journal of Knee Surgery doctors from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh had this to say about regenerative medicine:
- Biologic agents (stem cells and blood platelets or PRP therapy) are gaining popularity in the management of bony and soft tissue conditions about the knee. However, what they don’t say is that these therapies have risks! I encourage patient’s to start with non-invasive, non-operative therapy in the athletic and aging population.
I agree that Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells have shown promise in the treatment of various conditions. I see improved outcomes following shockwave therapy and or laser therapy in early osteoarthritis of the knee, as well as in chronic patellar tendinopathy conditions. My feeling is to start with non-invasive regenerative therapies such as laser and shockwave and then go with injections on an as-needed basis.
- There is evidence that supports PRP in the augmentation of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. But there is research for shockwave too. Shockwave therapy research exists for collateral ligament and meniscal injuries as well. I’m especially excited about the results we see with knee osteoarthritis using the laser and shockwave devices.
- …As the volume and quality of evidence continue to grow, biologic agents are poised to become an integral component of comprehensive patient care throughout all orthopedic specialties. (2) I completely agree with this statement.
- The use of stem cells as a biological approach to treat cartilage lesions and osteoarthritis has widely increased. The same is true for Laser and Shockwave therapy.
- Different sources have been investigated for clinical application, especially targeting knee or ankle cartilage disease.(3) I continue to be especially excited about the results we are seeing with the shockwave therapy and laser combination treatment.
I think athletes or high activity people with joint pain need to learn about the choices between stem cell injections and non-invasive laser and shockwave treatments to restore damaged cartilage, and also to act as a protector against future deterioration of the knee joint.
1 Kopka M, Bradley JP. The Use of Biologic Agents in Athletes with Knee Injuries. J Knee Surg. 2016 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]
2 Filardo G, Perdisa F, Roffi A, Marcacci M, Kon E. Stem cells in articular cartilage regeneration. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. 2016;11:42. doi:10.1186/s13018-016-0378-x.
3 Yang X, Zhu TY, Wen LC, Cao YP1, Liu C, Cui YP, Meng ZC, Liu H. Intraarticular Injection of Allogenic Mesenchymal Stem Cells has a Protective Role for the Osteoarthritis. Chin Med J (Engl). 2015 20th Sep;128(18):2516-2523. doi: 10.4103/0366-6999.164981.
- Nyland J, Mattocks A, Kibbe S, Kalloub A, Greene JW, Caborn DNM. Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, rehabilitation, and return to play: 2015 update.Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;7:21-32. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S72332.