Alleviating Arthritis Pain

Nonsurgical stem cell therapy eliminates joint discomfort, promotes tissue regeneration.

Sally Kisler loves to travel. Good thing, too, because this active 75-year-old wife of a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel who served two tours of duty in Vietnam spent a good portion of her adult life moving from place to place.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Sally Kisler

“We moved twenty-six times during the twenty-one years my husband was active,” Sally relates. “They were all short stays, and all but one of them were here in the United States, so I’ve seen a lot of the country.”

Williamsburg, Virginia is the area of the country Sally likes most, but she and her husband settled in Florida because they also have an affinity for New Smyrna Beach and because they have a married daughter with children who lives in the area.

It’s there that the couple now devotes most of their time to a charity called Segs4Vets that provides Segways®, specially designed wheelchairs and other mobility devices to disabled veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Not long ago, Sally would have benefitted from having a Segway herself. A former high school cheerleader who had knee surgery as a youth, she began experiencing debilitating knee pain about three years ago.

“I have a high tolerance for pain, so for me, the pain wasn’t excruciating,” Sally says. “It wasn’t extreme. The bigger problem was all the swelling I was getting, especially in my right knee. I figured it was a result of all the walking I do.”

Sally was walking more than three miles a day almost daily when the discomfort began. She eventually had to cut her daily walks in half. After about six months of taking those shorter walks, she began looking into potential remedies for her knee pain.

“I definitely did not want to go through surgery again because I can still remember the pain I experienced with the knee surgery I had when I was young,” Sally says. “I wanted to avoid that at all costs, so I started looking into alternatives.

“One of the alternatives I found was stem cell therapy, which I’ve always been interested in anyway. I know it’s being used in a lot of different ways now, and one day, I heard about a seminar on stem cells that was being held nearby.

“I talked to my husband about it and went to the seminar, and I was so impressed by what I heard that I went and scheduled a consultation for the very next day with the practice that conducted the seminar.”

That practice is Coastal Integrative Healthcare. It’s an integrative medical center dedicated to serving its community and providing pain relief for patients through the use of advanced chiropractic equipment and technology and stem cell therapy.

Our Body’s Building Blocks

Stem cells are the basic foundation cells that grow all of the tissue and organs in our body. When injected into a damaged organ or tissue, they support the natural healing process by regenerating that tissue.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Since receiving stem cell therapy, Sally has no trouble going up or down steps.

Also known as regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy stimulates the body’s natural repair mechanisms. Many in the medical community, including those at the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine, consider it the future of medicine.

“It’s definitely on the leading edge of medical technology,” states Timothy Steflik, DC, of Coastal Integrative Healthcare. “It’s a great alternative to surgery. It regenerates the body instead of trying to fix it or cover up a problem with surgery.

“The real beauty of it is that it is a one-and-done, in-office procedure that takes about fifteen minutes and needs no anesthesia. It’s a simple injection of the cells that are cryo-preserved right in our office.

“For some patients, we do a color ultrasound to guide the injection because we need to be very specific where the cells are placed. Once the cells are injected, the patient just needs time to heal. They can return to normal activities right away.”

Stem cell therapy can be used anywhere in the body where there is arthritis or a muscle or tendon tear, Dr. Steflik educates. In addition to knees and shoulders, medical providers at Coastal Integrative Healthcare have also performed the procedure on hamstrings, ankles and wrists.

Not all patients are good candidates for stem cell therapy. Patients who have suffered a tear of more than 50 percent of the rotator cuff in their shoulder, for example, or have absolutely no cartilage left in their knee would be encouraged to try other options first.

Easy Process

Sally’s first visit to Coastal Integrative Healthcare was back in January. During that visit, she was given a thorough examination that included taking x-rays of both her knees. Those x-rays showed Sally was suffering from arthritis in both joints.

“The right knee was far worse than the left,” Dr. Steflik reveals. “She was almost bone on bone in that right knee. But she had enough cartilage left in both knees that stem cell therapy would work well for her, so we scheduled the injections for her next visit.”

Dr. Steflik says Sally’s left knee was typical of many that he sees. Though she did have some discomfort in that knee, it was minimal. The x-rays showed, however, that her discomfort level would soon increase dramatically if that knee wasn’t treated.

“I agreed with Dr. Tim’s recommendations and got the injections in both knees, and the process really could not have been simpler,” Sally says. “It was the easiest thing. Just a couple of simple injections, and I was on my way.

“Afterward, I wore a knee brace on each knee for a while and was given some restrictions that I had to follow for a few weeks. I went to physical therapy and did all the exercises at home that they gave me, and I did really well with that.”

Dr. Steflik notes that some patients notice a reduction in pain and discomfort within a couple of days or weeks of receiving their stem cell injection. Most, however, begin to notice the effects of the treatment after a month or two.

Sally was one of those who began to feel the effects after a month or two, and she has gradually improved ever since. She says she recently put her knees through one of their biggest tests yet during a trip to St. Simons Island, Georgia.

“Going up and down steps used to bother me,” she says. “I’d really feel the pain then, but during this trip to St. Simon’s Island, I climbed the ten or so steps up and down to our condo every day without any problem.

“I also took a recent trip to New York, where I took about thirteen thousand steps a day and was climbing stairs, and I did just fine. I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I still get a little swelling after a long day on my feet, but that’s typical at my age.”

Evidence of Sally’s recovery is also available through the results of follow-up x-rays that were taken of her knees about four months after she received her injections. Those x-rays showed the formation of new cartilage in both knees.

“That shows the stem cells are working and generating new tissue,” says Dr. Steflik, who along with the entire staff at Coastal Integrative Healthcare received high marks from Sally for their professionalism and care.

“I felt very comfortable the whole time I was there, and I was very confident in the process,” Sally says. “I was so pleased with everything that I’ve already told one of my friends and a neighbor about Coastal Integrative Healthcare and stem cell therapy. Both of them are great.”

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    • Coastal Integrative Healthcare

      The mission at Coastal Integrative Healthcare is to provide members of their community of Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach, and Oak Hill with quality care at affordable rates. They believe everyone deserves to receive specific and customized... Read More

    • Timothy Steflik, DC

      Timothy Steflik, DC, is a licensed doctor of chiropractic who graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida in 2011 and now serves as the clinic director and president of Coastal Integrative Healthcare. He is an adj... Read More

    • Greg Salter, MSN, ARNP

      Greg Salter, MSN, ARNP, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Pre-Med from University of Tampa. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Bethune-Cookman College and earned his Master of Science degree in N... Read More

    • Bryan Call, DC

      Bryan Call, DC, is a chiropractic specialist who graduated with honors from Palmer College Chiropractic in Davenport, Florida in 2016. He has more than two years of diverse experiences and now provides his services for Coastal Integrat... Read More