Stem Cell Protocol Heals Arthritic Joints

Regenerative medicine rebuilds shoulder of 76-year-old former bodybuilder.

Even at age 76, and with his days as a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter far behind him, Jimmy Cafaro still looks as if he was cut from a block of granite. That’s what spending four days a week in the gym will do for you.

Stem cell therapy is keeping Jimmy in the game.

“I started going to the gym about 45 years ago when I was working as a probation officer,” Jimmy reveals. “When you’re in a job like that, you have to be physically fit. You have to show people you aren’t going to be pushed around.”

There was no pushing Jimmy around. At 5-foot-8 and 235 pounds, he was harder to move than a refrigerator. Like a Spartan warrior, his physical appearance alone earned him a modicum of respect. He earned even more as a bodybuilder.

“I started doing competitions when I was 36 or 37, and I did five in two years,” Jimmy details. “I placed third a couple of times, which is something I never thought I’d do. But I bowed out after five years because there’s a lot of work involved.

“You really need to watch everything you eat, and when you get up on stage, you have to have music picked out and everything. There’s a lot to it, and I told myself, You did really well at something you never thought you’d do, so you should be proud.

Jimmy gave up bodybuilding but continued working out to remain fit for work and for the baseball and softball leagues he competed in. A few years ago, a right shoulder injury forced him to the sidelines.

Borne of arthritis that was worsened by the powerlifting, Jimmy’s injury mostly affected him in the gym, where he had to alter his workout routine, and on the baseball and softball fields.

“I could hardly do anything that involved lifting my shoulder over my head, which meant I couldn’t throw a ball very well,” Jimmy reports. “I could throw it softly, but my throws had no snap to them. It hurt to swing a bat, too.

“For years, my shoulder doctor had been giving me steroid injections to keep me going, but the pain eventually got so bad that I really couldn’t play ball anymore. I’ll never forget the day I came to that realization.

“My shoulder doctor told me that he couldn’t do anything more for me and that I was going to need a shoulder replacement. I remember going home that day and being really depressed because I wasn’t going to be able to play ball anymore.”

New-Age Specialty

That same day, Jimmy received in the mail a copy of Florida Health Care News. As he read through it, he came across an article about two softball players whose knee injuries were treated with stem cell therapy.

“Both of these guys had been told they were going to need knee replacements, but they went to this doctor in Tampa who was doing stem cells instead,” Jimmy relates. “The next thing you know, they were playing softball again. So, I called the doctor.”

The doctor is Erick A. Grana, MD, of Regenerative Orthopedic Institute. Dr. Grana specializes in regenerative medicine, which promotes new growth in tissue ravaged by injury or arthritis through stem cell therapy.

“Stem cell therapy treats disease and injuries by harnessing the body’s healing powers,” Dr. Grana educates. “The natural healing process occurs by combining patients’ stem cells and platelet rich plasma (PRP).

Unlike surgery, which can result in blood loss, scarring and long, painful recovery periods, stem cell 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.

Stem cell 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 stem cells 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.”

Try It, You’ll Like It

Dr. Grana used RegenaJoint to treat Jimmy’s shoulder. Prior to the injections, Dr. Grana explained that the regenerative process takes time and cautioned that Jimmy may not feel the full impact of the treatment for a few months.

“I don’t have much fat on me, so Dr. Grana took the blood draw from my bone marrow,” Jimmy remembers. “It was a very simple process. Then he put the blood in a machine that separates all the parts. Then he performed the injections.”

“The stem cell injections gave me several more years of playing softball.” – Jimmy

Jimmy began to feel the positive effects about a month after the injections. Within two months, he was able to throw a baseball and softball and swing a bat without pain.

“The stem cell injections gave me several more years of playing softball, and I could be doing that now, except that I’ve decided to take a break and concentrate on working out.

The treatments really worked well for me.

“But even working out is easier now because my shoulder feels great. I sometimes forget that I ever had a problem at all, so I definitely recommend stem cell therapy to anyone who has shoulder or knee problems or anything like that.

“In fact, I already have recommended it. I’ve probably sent seven or eight people from the gym to see Dr. Grana, and I’ve recommended him to a couple of family members. He’s a great doctor who really knows what he’s doing.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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