Tackling Joint Pain

Hall of Fame linebacker finds relief for lingering soreness, discomfort.

Perhaps it was good fortune. Or maybe he just got lucky. However you choose to categorize it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that during his 14-year National Football League career, Derrick Brooks never missed a game because of an injury.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Derrick Brooks is one of dozens of former professional athletes who have been treated by Dr. Lox.

That doesn’t mean the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker didn’t play hurt. Or injured. He surely did. Across a span of 235 straight games, the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee played through a lot of pain.

But in a league where the players all know that it’s not a matter of if you get hurt but when you get hurt, Derrick managed to beat the odds and kept on playing. It wasn’t until he was out of the game that the odds finally caught up to him.

“Through engaging and disengaging blockers, grabbing and tackling ball carriers and falling and things like that, I developed some wrist injuries while playing that lingered on into post-retirement from the game,” Derrick reveals.

“And it was about three years ago now that it got really bad. I literally started to have difficulty grabbing and holding onto things. It eventually got to a point where I couldn’t grip anything heavier than a pen, so even writing became a problem for me.

“For years, even back to my playing days, I was being treated for my wrist problems by an orthopedist, and when this happened, he said we needed to look into getting this treated in a more aggressive manner to relieve my discomfort.”

One of those more aggressive options was surgery, but Derrick never had to undergo surgery during his playing days and wanted to keep that streak intact. With that in mind, he was advised by his orthopedist to visit Dennis M. Lox, MD.

Wide Spectrum

Dr. Lox is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who specializes in sports medicine. He treats a wide spectrum of patients that includes everything from weekend warriors to retired pro athletes such as Derrick.

“I treat a lot of young, teenage athletes, but just the other day, I also treated a ninety-nine-year-old who is going to be one hundred in October,” Dr. Lox says. “I recently treated two marathoners, both of whom are in their sixties, so I see all types.”

Dr. Lox began his care of Derrick, then 43, the same way he does with all his patients – by conducting a thorough examination. In this case, the examination revealed the cause of Derrick’s wrist pain to be cartilage damage and an advanced case of arthritis.

“With Derrick, someone might hear arthritis and think, Well, he’s too young to be suffering from arthritis,” Dr. Lox explains. “But arthritis can start with an initial injury such as the kind Derrick dealt with as a player, and over time, it just gets progressively worse.

“Arthritis always starts as aches and pains in the joints and then, eventually, it progresses and gets to a point where there’s no joint left. I see a lot of people in their seventies, for example, who have no hip left. That’s the end-stage of arthritis.

“Derrick’s arthritis wasn’t at that stage yet, and what I do with patients like that is stop the breakdown caused by the arthritis and repair the joint. It’s the same with cartilage degeneration. We treat both in a way that builds up the joint and stops the breakdown.”

Derrick says he was initially a bit apprehensive about the treatment Dr. Lox recommended. In time, though, he developed a great deal of confidence in both Dr. Lox and the recommended treatments, so much, in fact, that he agreed to give them a try.

“What really convinced me to stay in this particular lane regarding my treatment options was not just the therapy itself, but Dr. Lox,” Derrick says. “He really took his time to educate me on the process all the way through.

“It wasn’t like he was trying to rush me in, get me treated and move on. We had a few visits even before the treatment started where his goal was to educate me about the process and get me to a point where I was comfortable with it.

Derrick Brooks

“That’s one of the main reasons I went ahead with it. Being comfortable with the treatment and knowing it was the right fit for me was one thing. But being comfortable with Dr. Lox and being able to develop a personal relationship with him was another.

“That was a huge factor for me in terms of having peace of mind going forward, because when you know someone like that, you know they have your best interest in mind. That’s something Dr. Lox and his staff develop with everyone that walks through their door.”

Another thing that gave Derrick peace of mind was the expected results of the repair treatment. Dr. Lox says results vary depending on the activity level of the patient receiving the therapy, but in Derrick’s case, he always expected a superior outcome.

“The thing about athletes is, a lot of them are still beating themselves up,” Dr. Lox says. “With the two marathoners, for example, their results are going to be different because they’re going to go right back out there and run marathons again.

“The difference with Derrick is that he’s not tackling anybody anymore. He’s taking better care of himself now. So we always expected his outcome to be very good, and that success rate, whatever it may be, is something I always discuss with the patient.”

“Incredible” Results

After hearing another professional football player, former Buccaneers teammate Ian Beckles, discuss Dr. Lox, Derrick inquired further. He also consulted with his personal orthopedic surgeon, who gave him the green light on the treatment.

Armed with those endorsements, Derrick received Dr. Lox’s repair treatment on both his wrists in July 2016. Within a month, Derrick says he was feeling the positive effects of the treatment. The effects were so positive, in fact, that Derrick returned for more.

“Once Dr. Lox treated my wrists, I thought, Wow, this is incredible,” Derrick says. “The pain was gone, and my ability to do all the normal things that I couldn’t do before returned, and it just got better and better.

“It got so much better that after a few months, I went back to Dr. Lox and told him I wanted to get more aggressive in treating some other areas that were giving me problems. That’s when he treated my left knee.

“That was early in 2017. Now, in both my knee and my wrists, I have no issues at all, and I’m confident that going forward, I won’t have any problems with those areas the rest of my life. And if similar problems develop elsewhere, I know exactly where to go.”

Derrick says he’s proud of the fact that, in addition to never missing a game while playing in the NFL, he never had to undergo surgery during his playing days. He says Dr. Lox is the reason he has kept that streak alive into post-retirement.

“He gave me an alternative to surgery, and I am so thankful for that,” Derrick says. “Obviously, there are some things where surgery may be the best way to repair the problem, but for me, this repair treatment was the best option.

“Dr. Lox’s treatment really works and not just for me but for anyone who has joint pain. I’ve seen it work for people all across the board. Whether you play sports or not, this is a treatment that can help everybody, which is why I so highly recommend Dr. Lox.”

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    • Office of Dennis M. Lox, MD

      Dennis M. Lox, M.D. is a world recognized Sports and Regenerative Medicine Specialist. He did his undergraduate studies at The University of Arizona, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Lox did his medical training at Texas Tech University, with a ... Read More

    • Dennis M. Lox, MD

      Dennis M. Lox, MD, is a world recognized Sports and Regenerative Medicine Specialist. Dr. Lox did his undergraduate studies at The University of Arizona and did his medical training in Texas, with a Residency in Physical Medicine & Rehab... Read More