Knee Deep In Relief

Regenerative medicine protocol restores injured joint, eradicates pain.

Susan Jackman

Susan Jackman enjoyed a multidimensional career. It began at the Internal Revenue Service, where she worked for six years. Susan left the IRS to join the Hanes apparel company in its distribution division. She spent the best years of her career at Hanes.

“I worked for Hanes distribution for 19 years,” Susan reveals. “I started out delivering L’eggs® pantyhose to stores but later became a supervisor and district sales manager. I had eight full-time employees under me and serviced a four-state area.”

Susan got wind of the job with Hanes while working at the IRS. She was drawn to it by the novelty of the enterprise, as well as the opportunities and benefits the position afforded.

“I actually took a pay cut to take the Hanes job, but I could see it would pay off down the road,” Susan explains.

“And it did.”

Susan eventually left Hanes. When she did, a close friend of her mother took Susan under her wing and helped Susan establish herself in real estate. Susan, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, sold real estate for six years but wasn’t exactly thrilled with the job.

“There are many negatives to the real estate business,” Susan shares. “You have to know a lot of people and use a lot of your personal time without compensation. And with so many disappointments, selling real estate didn’t make me happy. That’s why I didn’t last longer. After I stopped selling real estate, I cleaned houses for 10 years. Then I retired in 2014.”

Susan and her husband snowbirded from their Kansas City suburb to Florida for three years. When they tired of driving back and forth, the couple relocated permanently to the Sunshine State in 2017.

One thing Susan noticed right away about her new home was its proximity to Johnson Medical Center, the practice of Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC. At the end of last year, Susan found herself in need of the chiropractor’s services.

“In November, right before Thanksgiving, I hurt my back,” Susan remembers. “I think I did it lifting our dog, who weighs 40 pounds. I must have turned the wrong way while lifting him and put out my back. The pain was terrible, a 10 on a scale of one to 10. I could hardly walk from one room to another. I couldn’t run the vacuum or bend over the sink to brush my teeth.

“We live close to Johnson Medical Center, so I gave them a call. Instead of popping my back and sending me on my merry way, Dr. Johnson introduced me to his stretching technique.”

Dr. Johnson specializes in a protocol for back and neck pain called Sedative Stretching, an expanded form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia. He recommended the protocol to Susan to relieve her back pain. While receiving Sedative Stretching treatments, Susan told Dr. Johnson about a second problem she was experiencing: severe discomfort in her knee.

“I injured the ACL in my right knee 20 years ago playing volleyball,” Susan recounts. “There was sharp, shooting pain in the knee that felt like someone was stabbing it with a knife. The pain would come on out of the blue. I had no control over it whatsoever. My knee kept giving out on me and I was limping badly. I couldn’t walk around the block or stand for very long. I couldn’t walk up and down stairs because of the pain, which was a 10 out of 10. It was horrible, and I was tired of dealing with it.”

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). It is a key stabilizing structure in the knee that runs diagonally through the middle of the knee and controls the back and forth motion of the knee.

Dr. Johnson told Susan about a treatment he recently added to his arsenal against pain called regenerative medicine. He detailed how regenerative medicine works by harnessing natural healing factors in the body to treat disease and injury and relieve pain.

“Susan’s knee pain was likely contributing to her back problem,” Dr. Johnson discloses. “Her limping was altering her gait and throwing her back off balance. Relieving her knee pain by rebuilding the joint could have a positive impact on her back pain as well. Susan was an excellent candidate for our regenerative medicine protocol.”

Nonsurgical Option

The objective of regenerative medicine is to place renewing substances into a degenerated or injured joint to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself, Dr. Johnson observes.

“First, we take some of the patient’s blood, spin it down in a centrifuge and use the platelets to create platelet rich plasma, or PRP,” the doctor educates. “PRP contains healing and growth factors that help the body’s stem cells rebuild tissue in the damaged joint.

“After the PRP, we inject another material called Wharton jelly, which contains more of the vibrant substances that promote the body’s healing ability.”

Wharton jelly is the protective tissue that surrounds the arteries and veins that are part of the umbilical cord, a vital component of fetus development. It contains a high concentration of healing and growth factors.

Wharton jelly also contains mesenchymal stem cells, which can develop into other types of cells with specialized functions, such as bone, cartilage and ligament cells, to rebuild arthritic or injured joints. Wharton jelly is obtained from women who donate their baby’s umbilical cord following a healthy birth.

“Within a week or two after finishing the treatment, I had a brand new knee.” – Susan

“Dr. Johnson told me about the stem cell therapy and gave me a brochure about it,” Susan recalls. “After discussing it with Dr. Johnson, I decided to go ahead with the treatment in my knee.”

The regenerative medicine protocol used at Johnson Medical Center begins with three consecutive weekly PRP injections.

“The PRP gets the joint ready for the Wharton jelly injection, which is the last of four injections that are part of our protocol,” Dr. Johnson explains. “Wharton jelly is the most effective tissue we use to promote healing.”

Injections are less invasive than surgery and patients recover much faster, Dr. Johnson asserts. In addition, there is a very low risk for complications, such as bleeding and infection, which can occur with joint replacement surgery.

“Regenerative medicine provides an option for patients with conditions that a year ago I would just refer for surgery,” Dr. Johnson reports. “It’s been a terrific addition to our practice, where we also use physical therapy, chiropractic and other modalities to assist with the process of rehabilitating the joint. The goal is for the treatment to be a long-term restorative event, not just a short-term fix.

“Best of all, it works. We’re seeing tremendous results with our regenerative medicine protocol. Within weeks of treatment, patients are experiencing terrific relief from joint pain. In a period of months, we’re seeing an actual increase in the joint space and true healing of the joint. You don’t see that level of healing with joint replacement or other surgery.”

At Johnson Medical Center, regenerative medicine injections are administered by a specially trained medical provider under ultrasound guidance, which ensures the injections are appropriately placed at the site of the degeneration and/or injury.

“Our provider has traveled across the country to receive the best training in regenerative medicine techniques,”

Dr. Johnson elaborates. “She has developed expertise in using ultrasound to get the PRP and Wharton jelly exactly where it needs to be in the joint. She doesn’t give the injections blindly.”

“The injections are like normal shots and don’t hurt at all,” Susan assures. “There’s a little bit of pressure when the injection is given, but it’s nothing painful. I felt a little discomfort when I got home after the second shot, but it went away within an hour or two.”

“Brand New Knee”

Dr. Johnson’s regenerative medicine protocol worked wonders for Susan.

“Within a week or two after finishing the treatment, I had a brand new knee,” Susan enthuses. “Now, I can walk up and down stairs without discomfort. My knee doesn’t give out on me anymore, and I no longer limp, which helps my back. The pain level in my knee, which was a 10, is now zero.

“My knee gets a little stiff from time to time, especially when I ride my bike, but the exercises Dr. Johnson taught me, particularly the stretching exercises, usually work it out and keep the knee in good working order. If I stay on track with the injections and a few simple exercises, my knee will be fine.”

That’s good for Susan, who desperately wanted to avoid surgery.

“I recommend Dr. Johnson’s treatment,” she relates. “It’s definitely worth it because I didn’t want a total knee replacement. I’ve always been against surgery and put it off for years.”

Susan is happy with her treatment at Johnson Medical Center. She’s also pleased with the center’s staff and leader.

“Dr. Johnson is a sweetheart,” Susan raves. “He’s really down to earth. He’s very professional, yet talking with him is like talking with your brother. He tells wonderful stories and relays a lot of good information, even about topics outside of medicine, such as life in general. We always have really good conversations.

“I love the staff at Johnson Medical Center. There are wonderful people working there. Everyone is super nice and very accommodating. They always call me by my first name.

They’re awesome.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos courtesy of Susan Jackman. mkb
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    • Johnson Medical Center

      Dr. Jeffery P. Johnson has practiced in Venice, Florida since 1986. His practice is focused on treating patients with many conditions, including those that are not responding to conventional treatments such as physical therapy, chiro... Read More

    • Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC

      Dr. Jeffrey P. Johnson has been in private practice since 1986. At Johnson Medical Center, Venice’s premier, fully integrated medical clinic, Dr. Johnson and his team can treat every member of the family. The practice specializes in dia... Read More