Hit the Refresh Button

Stem cell therapy rejuvenates damaged tissue, erases need for surgery.

It was about 20 years ago, not long after she and her husband moved from Stamford, Connecticut to Florida, that Theresa Bongo learned that she was one of approximately 1.5 million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Stem cell therapy rejuvenates damaged tissue, erases need for surgery

Theresa is walking and exercising regularly
following stem cell therapy

Different than the far more common osteoarthritis – a degenerative joint condition affecting some 27 million Americans – rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes aches, pain and swelling in the joints as the body mistakenly attacks itself.

“I apparently had it when I was living in Connecticut, but it never showed up on any of the tests I was given,” Theresa, 69, explains. “The doctors there always thought I just had regular arthritis, so that’s what I was treated for.

“I was always a little skeptical because the medications they gave me never worked. It wasn’t until we moved to Florida and I had a particularly bad attack that they started looking further, and even then, it still took about a year to figure out what it really was.”

Theresa’s bout with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, slowly chipped away at her modestly active lifestyle. After a few years, she had to quit the bowling league she’d joined, and soon after that, she was forced to cut back on regular exercise, including her daily walks.

As her condition worsened, she tried physical therapy, but neither that nor medication did much to alleviate her symptoms, which grew to include a bothersome left knee. Finally, with the help of her son, she found some relief.

“My son had been going to a chiropractor, and one day, I asked him if he could find out if his chiropractor could help me,” Theresa explains. “I was hoping he could do something to help me go about my daily business a little better.”

Theresa’s son’s chiropractor is Bryan Call, DC, at Coastal Integrative Healthcare. After his initial consultation with Theresa, he recommended a regimen of light physical therapy and exercise, the effects of which provided Theresa with the relief she was seeking. With one exception.

“The only exercises he gave me that I couldn’t do were the ones that had me on my knees, so I finally asked him, What’s going on with this knee?” Theresa relates. “That’s when he said, Well, would you mind getting an ultrasound done on it? I said, No.”

The ultrasound revealed that Theresa had a large tear in her meniscus. With her primary care physician suggesting she avoid surgery, Theresa turned to Dr. Call, who suggested she try stem cell therapy, which she agreed to.

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 tissue or organ, they support the natural healing process by regenerating that tissue.

Also known as regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy uses stem cells to stimulate 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. “That’s because 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’s 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. Then, 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 relates. In addition to knees and shoulders, medical providers at Coastal Integrative Healthcare have performed the procedure on hamstrings, ankles and wrists.

Not all patients are good candidates for the procedure. Patients who have suffered a tear of more than 50 percent of the rotator cuff in their shoulder, for example, would be encouraged to try other options first.

Unbelievable Results

The tear in Theresa’s meniscus was not so severe that it eliminated her from candidacy for stem cell therapy. She was, however, concerned that her autoimmune condition might reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. As it turns out, she needn’t have worried.

While most patients receiving stem cell therapy begin to notice a reduction in pain and an increase in comfort within a month of the treatment, Theresa noticed a significant reduction in pain within 48 hours of receiving the injection on May 29, 2017.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Theresa exudes. “I said, How can this be that I’m feeling so much better so soon? But it makes sense because when they gave me the injection, they knew right where the tear was, and they directed the injection right into that area.

“And Bryan told me that these stem cells go right to where you have a lot of inflammation. And I want to emphasize that he’s the reason I went ahead and did it, because I trust him, and he was so confident that it would help me.

“So was my family doctor. He was all for it. He said, This is the wave of the future, and he was confident it would help, too. Here I am a year and a half later, and my knee still feels good.”

So good that Theresa is walking and exercising regularly again. Her exercise routine is not an intense one. It’s designed primarily to keep her limber, and she is able to perform her exercises and walk modest distances without pain.

“I even think the stem cells have helped my arthritis because I don’t seem to be as achy as I was before,” she adds. “I still have a lot of inflammation and swelling, but overall, I feel a lot better than I did before the stem cell therapy.

“It’s really an unbelievable treatment. It’s the best thing I ever did, which is why I have already recommended it and Bryan and Coastal Integrative Healthcare to so many people. And they’ve all gone to him, and they’re all very happy with him.”

Print This Article
    • 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

    • ... 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

    • Adam M. Katz, MD

      Adam M. Katz, MD, is board certified by the prestigious American Board of Ophthalmology. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Union College in New York, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded his medical degr... 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