Don’t Operate – Regenerate!™

Regenerative medicine treatments help Master swimmer get back in the pool

Cynthia Ciampa

Like most athletes, competitive end to reach peak heir mid-20s. Cynthia Ciampa was working and star ting at that time of her life, so she didn’t reach her peak in the pool until a  few yeas  later. Thirty years, to be exact.

“It was 2015, and I swam the 200-meter butterfly in 2 minutes, 53 seconds, which was second best in the world in my age group,” says Cynthia, who earned that distinction as a 55-year-old member of

U.S. Masters Swimming, a program for adult swimmers.

Cynthia joined U.S. Masters Swimming 10 years earlier, when she discovered a local Masters group at the pool where her daughters swam competitively.

“I figured I could get my exercise in while my daughters were training, but it wound up rekindling my interest in competing,” says Cynthia, who swam competitively  through  her  freshman year in college. “But the butterfly wasn’t my stroke back then. I was a distance freestyler; I’ve always leaned toward the more agonizing events for some reason. I was just fortunate that after I got back into it, I was able to swim the butterfly rather well.”

Cynthia’s  pool  prowess  resumed despite a nagging right shoulder problem that she’s dealt with since she was involved in a car crash many years ago. Then last year, that shoulder problem suddenly intensified.

“I began to feel numbness and tingling throughout my right arm,” Cynthia describes.  “The  shoulder  pain  was something I had adjusted to over time and tried to ignore, but I couldn’t ignore the numbness and tingling in my right arm. To me, that was significant.”

Cynthia immediately sought medical help for the issue. An x-ray revealed that the cause was moderate to severe degeneration of a vertebra in her cervical spine.

“That caught everybody by surprise,” Cynthia offers. “Even my doctor was surprised because I had never complained of any neck pain. I always thought the problem with my shoulder was just that, a problem with my shoulder.

“But the x-rays came back and showed that one of the vertebral spaces in my neck was almost bone on bone, so there was a lot of degeneration. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Well, this makes sense.

“I mean, a lot of people have a lower back problem that manifests itself in their foot or leg and because of that wind up dragging their leg around. With me, it was a problem with my neck that was causing me to drag my arm around.”

Treatment  for  the  degeneration of  cervical  discs  can  range  from occupational and physical therapy to surgery. Cynthia was told she would more than likely need surgery to repair her  cervical  spine,  but  she  wanted nothing to do with that.

“As soon as I learned that this problem needed to be addressed, I began researching regenerative medicine therapy,” Cynthia informs. “My thinking was, I would rather risk trusting my own body getting some help with regeneration than go under the knife.

New-Age Specialty

During her research, Cynthia came across a practice in Tampa that specializes in the regenerative medicine protocol: Regenerative Orthopedic Institute. The more she read, the more she became convinced it was the place for her.

“I wanted to go somewhere where they had experience treating the spine because that’s a scary thing,” Cynthia explains. “I also wanted to go to a place where they know  how  to properly prepare the  restorative tissue  because you can kill it if it’s not prepared properly.”

Regenerative Orthopedic Institute, founded by Erick A. Grana, MD, specializes in regenerative medicine, which promotes growth in tissue ravaged by injury, arthritis or degeneration.

“Regenerative medicine therapy treats disease and injuries by harnessing the body’s natural healing powers,” Dr. Grana educates. “The natural healing process occurs by combining patients’ tissue with platelet rich plasma (PRP), a concentration of platelets from their own blood.

“Unlike surgery, which can result in blood loss, scarring and long, painful recovery periods, regenerative medicine therapy requires only injections into the damaged joint. This process results in a safe, effective treatment.”

Stem cells are the most basic building blocks of all tissues and organs, and they can be collected directly from the bone marrow or fat of the patient. There are no side effects or rejection.

The procedure used to collect tissue is similar to a blood draw. Once the tissue has been harvested, the stem cells and PRP are isolated and injected into the painful area to spark the regeneration of damaged tissue.

Regenerative medicine therapy can be used to treat damage in the knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists, hips, back and neck. It can also be used to treat arthritis and  peripheral  neuropathy  almost anywhere in the body, as well as muscle and tendon tears.

At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Grana developed a system for delivering restorative tissue and PRP into joints called RegenaJoint™. He also developed a similar system to treat the spine called RegenaSpine™.

“RegenaJoint   and   RegenaSpine are  convenient,  minimally  invasive procedures that are performed in my office using a local anesthetic,” Dr. Grana points out. “Patients typically resume normal activities immediately following the procedures.”

Immediate Impact

Cynthia first visited Dr. Grana in October. Because she was visiting from Cape Coral, her wish was to sit through a consultation, complete a blood draw and receive her regenerative medicine injection during the same visit. Dr. Grana gladly granted that wish.

After obtaining the restorative tissue directly from Cynthia’s bone marrow, Dr. Grana processed the tissue and used the RegenaSpine protocol to trigger the regenerative process in Cynthia’s cervical spine.

“When I told my friends about the procedure, a lot of them were surprised to hear that Dr. Grana used tissue from my own bone marrow because they had heard that a lot of people use tissue from other sources,” Cynthia notes.

Dr. Grana obtains the restorative tissue from the patient’s bone marrow, which was Cynthia’s preference as well.

“My friends thought age would make a difference and that the better tissue came from umbilical cords,” she says. “But I would counter that by saying that my body is used to my own tissue and that it is better for me.

“So, I was very happy to go through the blood draw and use my own tissue, and the bottom line is, I could not be happier with the results. I started to feel a difference from the injections just two or three days after receiving them.

“The first thing that happened was the tingling and numbness in my arm went away. I knew all along, though, that the real test would come when I started really using my arm again and pushing it. And when I did, I didn’t have any shoulder pain.”

Since  receiving  her  regenerative medicine injections, Cynthia has also engaged in a physical therapy program to  strengthen  her  shoulder.  Since beginning that program, she has pushed her shoulder and arm as her therapist sees fit and experienced no setbacks.

“I followed every recommendation and guideline that Dr. Grana laid out for me, and I’m back swimming again, so this has really worked out well for me,” Cynthia gushes. “As I said, I could not be happier with the results and absolutely recommend Dr. Grana to others.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings

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