Natural Repair Regimen

Stem cell therapy eliminates joint pain, discomfort.

Sandwiched between Susan Anderson’s two stints as a medical assistant – first for a general family practitioner and later for a cardiologist – was an 11-year-long career detour into the friendly skies that began literally on a whim.
“My husband and I were at the airport one day picking up our daughter, who was in the military at the time, and I said to my husband, One day, I’d like to wear one of those red coats and pull a suitcase for a living,” Susan explains.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Before stem cell therapy, Susan feared she’d never walk or ride her bike without pain again.

“A few months later, I applied for a job as a flight attendant with Northwest Airlines, and before I even realized what I’d done, I was in training. I stayed with Northwest until my husband and I moved to Florida, and after that, I went back to work as a medical assistant.”
Susan’s initial move to Florida was to Panama City, where her parents had traveled to as snowbirds for years. Then, a little more than a year ago, Susan and her husband moved to Edgewater, where some everyday housework wound up grounding Susan for months.
“It was on Labor Day, and I was down on my hands and knees all day, scrubbing our tile floors, trying to clean the grout,” Susan, 67, explains. “I was tired afterward but felt fine, then three days later, my left knee hurt so much, I couldn’t walk.
“I tried doctoring it myself at first, just taking ibuprofen, but the pain was excruciating, especially in the back of my left knee, which is why I thought at first that it might be a blood clot that was causing all the pain.”
Susan’s fears of a blood clot were soon ruled out by her primary care physician, who also took an x-ray that read negative for any skeletal damage and recommended Susan visit an orthopedist and get an MRI.
Susan followed those directions, and her MRI revealed two tears in her meniscus, which is the cartilage that cushions the knee joint and keeps it stable. Surgery to repair the tears soon followed, but long after the surgery, the pain persisted.
“I thought I was going to have my surgery and a week later get up and do whatever I wanted again, but it didn’t work out that way,” Susan reveals. “I was in so much pain that there were days when I hobbled around so bad that I couldn’t do anything.
“It hurt just trying to make the bed or do other normal things around the house. I couldn’t even make it from my car to the grocery store to buy groceries. It was so bad that some days, I literally just fell down to my knees and cried.
“When I first went back to the doctor, she said, You just have to give it time. So, I gave it time and went back in January. She gave me a cortisone shot, but that didn’t help. That’s when she said, There’s arthritis in there, so there’s really nothing else I can do for you.
“That was the first time I’d heard anything about arthritis, so I thought, Well, this is how my life is going to be from now on. I’m done riding a bike. I’m done walking. I’m just done. After that, I really didn’t know what to do next.”
It was at that point that Susan received some guidance from a medical practice she once visited while seeking relief for a sore back. The practice is Coastal Integrative Healthcare, which had sent a Facebook post to clients regarding a seminar on stem cell therapy.

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 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 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. 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.
Intrigued by the possibility of what stem cell therapy could do for her, Susan attended a seminar conducted by Dr. Steflik and immediately made an appointment with Coastal Integrative Healthcare to learn if she was a candidate for the treatment.
During her initial examination, conducted by Greg Salter, MSN, ARNP, it was determined that the damage to Susan’s left meniscus and the loss of cartilage in her left knee joint was indeed significant, but not so great that she would not benefit from stem cell therapy.

“There are a lot of people that can benefit from this, so I want to help get the word out.” – Susan

“She got to us just in time,” Greg reports. “She was really close to being bone on bone in that left knee, and she had worn out the meniscus in it, so we went ahead with the stem cell injection.”
Susan was given the stem cell injection in mid June. Over the course of the next month, she twice returned to Coastal Integrative Healthcare for follow-up visits that included receiving cold laser treatments designed to activate the stem cells.
“Cold laser treatments do for stem cells what the sun does for Vitamin D,” Greg informs. “If you step into the sun, the sunlight activates the Vitamin D in your body. Cold laser does that with stem cells. It’s a cellular activator that encourages the cells to replicate.”
Following the cold laser treatments, Susan began doing physical therapy. It was at the end of her first month of physical therapy, and about two months after receiving the injection, that she noticed a significant difference in the comfort level in her left knee.
“I was making the bed one morning and noticed that when I walked around the bed, I wasn’t limping or feeling any flares of pain like before,” she relates. “All of a sudden, there was no pain, and to this day, I’m pain free. It’s like a miracle happened.”

My Regeneration

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,” according to Charlotte. Several months later, she was still experiencing a lot of pain in her knee, especially when she walked up or down stairs or tried 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. When I played golf, I could definitely feel the pain,” 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,” Dr. Steflik 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 because 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 or shoulder issue slow me down.

Active Again

Though some patients notice a reduction in pain and discomfort within a couple of days or weeks of receiving their stem cell injection, most begin to notice the effects of the treatment after a month or two. Just as it was with Susan, that was the case with Charlotte as well. And, much as it was with Susan, the improvement came all at once, seemingly out of nowhere.
“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 again.
“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.
Susan has enjoyed a similar experience. A very active woman who walked or biked every day prior to experiencing the debilitating knee pain that grounded her, she has slowly eased her way back into a regular exercise routine the past few months.

“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.”-Dr. Steflik

Susan is certain she would not have been able to renew that regimen had she not discovered stem cell therapy and opted to have it performed at Coastal Integrative Healthcare, where she gives the staff rave reviews.
“The people there are just fabulous,” she says. “When you go in there, you’re one on one with whichever professional you’re seeing, and they treat you like you’re the only patient there. They’re really good people, and I’ve told several of my friends about them.
“I’ve also started telling people about stem cell therapy because I think there are a lot of people out there who are just like me and don’t really know about it but would want to. There are a lot of people that can benefit from this, so I want to help get the word out.”
Charlotte is doing her part to get the word out as well and highly recommends Dr. Steflik and the staff at Coastal Integrative Healthcare for anyone who is suffering from joint or muscle pain and wants a cure that doesn’t require surgery.
“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 need to commend Greg. 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

    • 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