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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Powerful Plasma: Medicine of the Future, Today

Oct 01, 2012 02:39PM ● By Kathie Gonzales, ARNP

Mark Wells is a 31 year old father of two small children, patrol officer and SWAT team member, who suffered from chronic Achilles tendonitis that limited his training, lifestyle and enjoyment of his active life. He had seen many medical practitioners and tried many therapeutic protocols, all to no avail. When Wells came to Millennium Health and Wellness it was determined he was a candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy. After just one injection of his own platelets by Kathie Gonzales, ARNP, he is currently pain free and enjoying an active lifestyle, running six miles per week. Wells states, "Being in law enforcement and on the SWAT team, resting and coddling my Achilles tendonitis wasn’t always an option. After weeks or months of rest and compression socks, training or job operations would interfere and cause me to regress in treatment. Having struggled with the ailment for well over a year, PRP was the only treatment that worked. Within two weeks of the PRP treatment all my pain was gone! Even that telltale bump that comes with Achilles tendonitis was gone. Now I am back to running and training with no pain. It’s been around three months since the PRP treatment and my pain is still gone."

"PRP is particularly effective on the Achilles (ankle) tendon," states Gonzales, who has successfully treated numerous patients like Wells. "I have treated Mark Wells as a patient for several years and he would call every four to six months and request steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications to temporarily stop the pain in his ankle to allow him to train for or perform the physical competencies required for his job. I was so pleased to have corrected his chronic pain with a natural treatment of PRP that works for the majority of people."


So what is PRP? PRP is a unique approach regarding treatment options for non-healing tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, knee and shoulder tendonitis, and as in Wells’ case, Achilles tendonitis. Utilizing your own blood, a specialized EmCyte kit and centrifuge produces pure PRP, a concentration of your own platelets and growth factors, concentrated up to 500 percent.


How is PRP performed? The injured tendon, muscle, ligament or joint is evaluated thoroughly and we at Millennium Health and Wellness utilize x-ray fluoroscopy for image guidance to place the PRP in the correct location. The region to be treated is cleaned with an aseptic technique and local anesthetic is applied to make the procedure comfortable. One specific guided injection may be all that is needed to get the natural healing process initiated.


Is PRP right for me? Following are some of the conditions treated with PRP: Arthritis for any joint, including shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, ankle, toes and TMJ joint. Tendonitis or tearing of any tendon, including the rotator cuff, tennis or golfer’s elbow, tendonitis in the wrist and hand, hip tendonitis, patellar and Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis of the foot as well as heel spurs. Muscle tears and trigger points, as well as scar tissue, etc.


What are the potential benefits to PRP treatment? Patients, just like Wells, can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms, elimination of the need for more traditional treatments such as medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy or surgery, and a dramatic return of function. After PRP is injected, a natural healing occurs over the next six to eight weeks. There is minimal down time and recovery period is injury dependent. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in November 2006 showed that over 90 percent of patients with tennis elbow were "completely satisfied" with the results of their PRP treatments and avoided surgery.


What are the risks of PRP? There are very few risks since your own blood’s healing factors are utilized. Although extremely uncommon, the risks include those signs and symptoms associated with any injection, including pain, no relief of symptoms, infection, post-procedure calcification, skin discoloration and allergic reaction to local anesthetic.


How is PRP paid? PRP is a cash procedure costing $750. Forms are provided for self-submission to insurance for possible reimbursement.


Summary: PRP therapy is a unique, natural approach for patients plagued with unrelenting soft tissue injury, such as Wells. PRP is not just for famous athletes that have utilized it, such as Tiger Woods, Carl Crawford, Troy Polamalu, but everyday athletes and people such as Wells and many chronic pain sufferers. According to leading sports medicine providers, it’s a better option for problems that don’t have a great solution because it is a non-surgical approach and uses the body’s own cells to heal. Many physicians believe that platelet rich plasma has the potential to revolutionize not just sports medicine but all of chronic joint pain.

At Millennium Health and Wellness, we believe that PRP deserves all the attention it has garnered over the past few years with researchers looking for ways to help the body heal and regenerate via safer and more natural mechanisms. The future of medicine, practiced today at Millennium Health and Wellness, is increasingly moving towards gene therapy and the utilization of "biologic" solutions such as your own PRP to treat common problems of cartilage, bone, ligaments and tendons.

Kathie Gonzales, ARNP has been practicing in surgery and trauma since 1979 and for the past 10 years has been focusing on the integrative approach to chronic disease. Some of her interests include PRP, bio-identical hormone pellets, HcG, and lap band fills for weight loss, as well as a holistic approach to every patient.


Millennium Health and Wellness is located at 10033 9th Street North, St. Petersburg, 727-541-2675.

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