The Best Non-Surgical Treatment for Arthritis: Your Own Stem Cells!

What is Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints affecting millions of people worldwide. Those suffering from arthritis can experience joint pain, swelling and or stiffness. The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips, and shoulders, but other areas such as the spine, feet and hands can also be affected

With osteoarthritis, the joint cartilage is broken down which can result in inflammation, pain and stiffness to that area. Reasons for this breakdown can include loose ligaments, weak muscles, as well as overuse or trauma.

Typical Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately, many of the standard treatments for arthritis come with significant risks and side effects. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and Advil can help decrease pain and inflammation, but can cause serious complications such as kidney failure, stomach ulcers and increased risk of heart attack.

Steroid injections into arthritic are also commonly used. If repeated, steroid injections can speed up the process of joint degeneration and cartilage breakdown, accelerating the need for a joint replacement.

Joint replacement is generally the last line treatment for severe arthritis that is not adequately managed with the above therapeutic options. This is an invasive procedure that, even when done correctly, has significant risks including infection, blood clots, nerve injury, and malfunction of the prosthesis.

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Stem Cells, a New Treatment Option

Luckily for arthritis sufferers, stem cell procedures offer a natural and effective treatment for osteoarthritis.

Stem cells are the “master orchestrators” of healing and regeneration. Through the release of signaling molecules and growth factors, stem cells regulate the local immune response, decrease inflammation, and stimulate tissue healing. Stem cells can also replace injured cells, recharge old and tired cells and stimulate the production of necessary proteins. Through these mechanisms, stem cells can significantly improve the health and function of an arthritic joint.

Multiple scientific studies on knee arthritis have shown that bone marrow stem cell injections can significantly reduce pain, decrease inflammation and most importantly improve function. Best of all, in many patients, these effects were shown to last for many years.

Bone marrow stem cells are real living cells that are derived from the self, unlike many other “fake” stem cell products on the market. In 2019, Dr. Lisa Fortier from Cornell University published a study testing multiple amnionic fluid products that are sold as “stem cells”. Her findings showed that there were no living cells in any of these products nor did they contain any significant amounts of growth factors.

The only place to get living stem cells that are programmed to heal your tissues is from your own body, such as the bone marrow of the pelvis.

Maximizing Your Stem Cells Results

At Integrative Rehab Medicine we offer a comprehensive treatment program to maximize your results.

We educate our patients on specific nutritional support for optimal healing. A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and high-quality proteins as well as specific nutritional supplement are used to prepare the body for healing.

We complement our stem cell injections with a personalized physical therapy program which can include manual therapy, muscle strengthening, balance training, and or bracing protocols. We also incorporate state of the art energy modalities such as low-level laser and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to improve the healing process.

The whole joint and surrounding structures need to be treated. Joint strength and stability can also be maximized through prolotherapy injections to the surrounding ligaments prior to and after the stem cell procedure.

At Integrative Rehab Medicine, we specialize in treating arthritis with bone marrow stem cells. Dr. Sebastian and our team of highly trained professionals are pioneers in non-surgical Regenerative Medicine treatments for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Our Integrative Advantage ™ is the most comprehensive arthritis treatment in South-west Florida. Arthritis patients now have a safe and effective options to eliminate symptoms, improve function and regain quality of life.

Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dr. Sebastian is a leading physiatrist in Estero, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs (Southwest Florida). He is the founder and medical director of Integrative Rehab Medicine in Estero, FL. He combines his extensive knowledge in Regenerative Medicine, Osteopathic musculoskeletal medicine, Physical Rehabilitation and Functional & Natural medicine to create personalized and integrated treatment plans for each patient.

Dr. Sebastian completed his medical studies at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) followed by a residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After residency, he worked as an Assistant Professor for Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. In 2014, he moved his family to Southwest Florida to work at Lee Health’s Spine Center. In August 2019, Dr. Sebastian opened his private clinic, Integrative Rehab Medicine. Dr. Sebastian has extensive training in prolotherapy, PRP injections and Bone Marrow Stem Cells. During his time in Florida, he further advanced his knowledge in Integrative Medicine through course work with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Since, he has educated doctors and the public on the Integrative approach at numerous medical conferences and community events.

Note: This article originally appeared in the May 19, 2021 issue of Health & Wellness Magazine.