My Regeneration

Avoid joint surgery with stem cell therapy.

Charlotte Smith is one of the more involved and active members of the New Smyrna Beach community. A real-estate agent by day, she’s a member of the Foundation board at Florida Hospital New Smyrna; she serves on several committees at the East Volusia Chamber of Commerce and she’s active in the Kiwanis Club. She also jogs and power walks regularly and golfs at least one day a week. She did, at least until knee and shoulder pain forced her to the sidelines.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Stem cell therapy has allowed Charlotte to return to her active lifestyle.

The knee was the first to go. Charlotte tore her right meniscus while running in the New Smyrna Beach Turkey Day 5K in 2016. She had surgery a few months later to repair that, but the surgery “didn’t quite take,’’ Charlotte says. Several months later, she was still experiencing a lot of pain in her knee, especially when she would walk up or down stairs or try to climb her way out of a sand trap on the golf course. Then her right shoulder began to give her problems.
“I could only draw my arm back just so far, so when I played golf, I could definitely feel the pain there,” Charlotte, 61, relates. “But the bigger problem with my shoulder was that when I was in my car, for example, I couldn’t reach over to the passenger seat and reach into my purse for anything. I definitely could not reach into the back seat for anything. I couldn’t lift a bag of groceries or even pick up my briefcase. It was so painful. And because of the pain in my knee, I couldn’t jog or power walk.”
Charlotte initially tried to rid herself of the knee pain by wearing a brace and taking a lot of Advil®, which contains ibuprofen. When that didn’t work, she sought the advice of another doctor. She was skeptical when she was told the problem was a bad case of arthritis and she would eventually need to have the knee replaced. Shortly thereafter, a friend suggested Charlotte accompany her for a shared appointment at Coastal Integrative Healthcare, where the friend was seeking information regarding the use of stem cell therapy to repair a hip problem.
“We see it quite a bit where someone will say he or she has been told they need surgery because it’s bone on bone in the joint,” Timothy Steflik, DC, states. “But we’ll take x-rays right there in our office, and a lot of times, we can show them that it’s not quite bone on bone, that there actually is some cartilage left, and they are a good candidate for the stem cell procedure.”
Dr. Steflik followed that process in determining Charlotte’s candidacy. He completed a digital x-ray of her knee, an MRI and orthopedic exam of her shoulder and concluded that stem cell therapy could improve the condition of both by at least 90 percent. Charlotte decided to give this new-wave approach a shot.
“I thought, This makes sense. I believe in the stem cell therapy,” Charlotte reveals. “My thinking was, I’m very busy, very active and very involved in the community, and I need to get this done because I can’t have a knee issue or a shoulder issue slow me down.

The 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. Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, 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,” says Dr. Steflik, the director and president of Coastal Integrative Healthcare. “That’s because it’s a great alternative to surgery. It regenerates the body instead of trying to fix or cover up the problem with surgery. The beauty of it is that it’s a one-and-done, in-office procedure that we do in about fifteen minutes.
“There’s no anesthesia. It’s just a simple injection of the cells that are cryo-preserved in our office. For some patients, we can do a color ultrasound to guide the injection because we need to be very specific with where the cells are going. 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, however. Patients who have suffered a tear of more than 50 percent of a knee ligament or the rotator cuff in their shoulder, for example, would be encouraged to try other options first. Dr. Steflik does, though, take great strides to determine a patient’s candidacy for the therapy.

Active Again

Charlotte didn’t get back to full speed immediately. Though some patients begin to notice a significant reduction in discomfort within a couple of days or weeks of having the procedure done, Charlotte went more than three weeks without noticing a difference, which is typical of most patients, Dr. Steflik confirms. All at once, and seemingly out of nowhere, Charlotte’s symptoms simply disappeared.
“We had just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, and I stretched my arms above my head and out to my sides like you do when you’ve eaten too much, and I suddenly realized, I just did that and it didn’t hurt,” Charlotte recalls. “I didn’t even think about it. I just did it naturally, and it was amazing. And now, I can power walk, I can jog, I can play golf.

“Now, I can walk up and down stairs again, I can power walk, I can jog, I can play golf.” – Charlotte

“Where I get my hair done, there’s this set of stairs that I have to walk up and down, and I used to think, Oh, this is going to hurt, especially when I went down, but now it doesn’t. And I was telling someone at lunch the other day, I can wave my arm around like it’s nothing again.
Charlotte says she highly recommends Dr. Steflik and Coastal Integrative Healthcare for anyone who is suffering from joint or muscle pain.
“Dr. Steflik is very knowledgeable and down to earth,” she describes. “I knew he was listening to me when I was sitting with him. And I really have to commend Greg [Salter, ARNP], his nurse practitioner. He was fantastic at giving me the shot and working me through it all. The staff is great, and I have to say I love the science behind it. It’s really a blessing.”

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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