Doctors treating debilitating pain with amniotic fluid to help patients self-heal

Doctors in The Woodlands are now treating debilitating pain with amniotic fluid to help patients self-heal.

They tell us that superstar athletes like the late Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and a growing list of pros are turning to a non-surgical alternative to repair injuries and speed recovery time.

We caught up with a professional boxer to find out how it got him back in the ring.

World Boxing Champion, Alfonso "El Tigre" Lopez, is known for his mean left hook, but 12 years in the ring finally caught up with his shoulder.

"I'm struggling to throw these punches, and so I'm either going to quit or find a way to heal this properly," says Lopez.

He did find a way, through the help of Dr. Ed Nash with Progressive and Pain Rehabilitation.

"He has a problem in his left shoulder which affects his hook. So he has a partial tear in one of his rotator cuffs and it also has bursitis in the joint, which sometimes catches a bit, so he has sought a lot of treatment and really had limited progress in getting back to the ring, until we brought in regenerative medicine for him," explains Dr. Nash. 

"I knew I didn't want to go the surgery route because I had surgery on my right rotator shoulder and it was 18 months out of the ring, and I don't have that kind of time. So we had to look for alternatives and WE GOT IT," exclaims Lopez.

He "got it" in the form of biologics that use his own body's healing capacity to correct the problem. He's getting injections of amniotic fluid.

"It's rich in growth factors, cytokines, and biological chemicals that the body uses to turn on healing, so we're going to try to recruit the cells to repair that area of his rotator cuff as well as activate his own stem cells," says Dr. Nash.

The amniotic fluid is first obtained only from consenting, healthy mothers, who undergo elective c-sections. Dr. Nash says it does not affect the baby or mother.

Ultrasound helps the doctor guide the amniotic fluid into the correct space.

"I initially got the shot, went to workout and three or four days later it was like... whaaat? Two weeks later, I progressively kept getting better and stronger," smiles Lopez.

Dr. Nash says he treats many professional athletes, but also all types of patients of different ages. He works closely with Dr. Jeff Pruski with 3R Regenerative Repair & Relief to offer a plan for pain relief.

"We'll talk about nutrition, deal with manual medicine, exercise, and modalities for healing, as well, a combo to increase the healing power for injury," says Dr. Pruski.  He says manually manipulating bones and joints can help get patients back on the road to recovery.

Whatever the injury, we can all learn from Lopez's motto, also inked on his arm: "in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity". 

Lopez is relieved that regenerative medicine is giving him opportunities that injury almost took away.

"The sport of boxing is very mental and when you're hurting, it worries you in the ring. So not only did it give me all of my tools back, but mentally, it put me in a place to feel confident for what I was trying to accomplish," says Lopez.

Insurance will often cover the procedure, if the patient has tried other types of treatment for pain, like physical rehabilitation and steroid shots.

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