Sure, social media is an easy platform for sharing photos, but I want this to last longer than a "like."
A lot of my patients who come to me specifically for Prolotherapy or Platelet Therapy either come with MRI in hand, or are urgently wanting an MRI to show me their pain and health conditions in order for us to make a treatment plan.
But in reality, that is putting the cart before the horse so to speak.
What do I think of as holding more weight than an MRI?
Your history (complete history of all leading up to, during, and after the injury)
The rest of your medical history
An assessment of your "foundations of health": stress, activity level, nutrition, sleep, energy
What the physical exam shows in-office
And then, after all that, if imaging could potentially be helpful to confirm a suspected diagnosis, then by all means I will order it. Though nowadays with insurance being what it is, patients often have to meet large "imaging deductibles", have a pre-authorization approved or any other number of insurance hoops.
So no, I do not knee-jerk reflex to MRI ordering, and use that as a road map for injecting. Why? Because that would be a very inefficient and unhelpful way to provide care. I want to be effective in my care, and as you can see below the vast majority of middle-aged Americans have "disc degeneration" and "disc bulges." Being as you don't see 80% of our Baby Boomers in chronic pain clinics, ultra sensitive imaging is not all it's cracked up to be.
Are you providing the right environment for healing?
A lot of my patients coming to me for Regenerative Injection Therapies haven't thought much about all the factors external to and leading up to their main concern. The one that stops them from exercising and wakes them up due to the pain.
Pain and immobility to not exist in a vacuum.
What led up to it?
What (if known) caused it?
What's making it worse?
What's impeding your recovery?
Most chronic injuries and pain are due to a variety of factors. Maybe it was that weird tweaking motion while moving boxes, but what set the stage to make your knee susceptible?
I suspect that most of us collect unhealthy movement patterns over the course of our life. Hips not moving right, maybe then causing knees and/or back to not move right. Maybe it started with the feet. Maybe it just started with terrible posture while using a phone or computer for hours on end.
Then couple that with very-common mild nutritional deficiencies, chronic stress, lack of fresh air, relaxation and exercise, and well, that's just a recipe for chronic pain and immobility.
So Regenerative Injection Therapies are great. Wonderful. I love Prolotherapy and Platelet Therapy and am beyond ecstatic to be offering them to my patients. But for many, they can be much more effective when coupled with proper movement and nutrition on an on-going basis.
For that reason I work frequently with Chiropractors, Acupuncturists (often at Heart Spring Health where I practice), Physical Therapists (often at New Heights) and Personal Trainers (often at Training Day) to collaborate and work together to provide the best healthcare and the best health and performance outcomes possible.
Because I truly do want what is best for my patients. And if that involves Prolotherapy or Platelet Therapy, then I let them know. But often times there are foundations of health that are not yet in place as much as would help the injection therapies truly be their most effective. And in that case, I also let my patients know. It is about them, and what will be of most help for them, their health concerns and their health and performance goals.
For Regenerative Injection Therapies (prolotherapy and Platelet Therapy/PRP)
What was thought to be entirely self-pay services (i.e. no insurance coverage), may in fact be partially covered by your insurance plan. This is a not too commonly used method by some RIT providers - particularly those of us who have a mostly insurance-billing practice.
The gist of it is that if you have an insurance plan that covers ND care, then you know at least your office visit will be covered. That then leaves the injection services themselves and then the PRP processing (if you are doing that; this is not an extra cost for prolo-only appointments).
So how do you know if the injection therapies (done for prolotherapy and Platelet Therapy/PRP) are covered? Well, it's nothing that you nor I can guess. Those answers can only be obtained by talking with your insurance company, and asking very specific questions.
Below is a helpful document, a step-by-step guide, so that when you call the Member Services number on the back of your insurance card, you can get all of your questions answered exactly to the detail that we need.
For all patients who are wanting to see whether some of the injection therapies can be covered by insurance, this is a necessary step before any injections are done- because I do not want to bill something to your insurance plan that gets denied.
Why? Because neither of us like surprise bills, especially when they may be for hundreds of dollars. It's much better to spend 5 minutes on the phone to find this info out ahead of time.
Any further questions? (Because I know, this insurance stuff is confusing) Let me know during your initial consult or any new/return office visit and we can talk more at that time.
Over the upcoming months, there will be some weeks that I will not be in the office. Never fear, I am away learning more to serve you the best I know how.
In April I will be attending the Regenerative Injection Therapies Advanced Extremity Workshop at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences and will be out for one week.
I am very excited to learn more and bring even more Prolotherapy and Platelet Therapy services to my patients. I love helping them overcome chronic injuries and degenerative conditions, get them back on their feet and back to the sports and daily activities that they've been missing.
Then in June I will be out during the last half, nine time zones away in Spain. I am visiting family over there for a period of time, but the main reason for my trip is to present my research poster on Naturopathic Anti-inflammatory methods at the 3rd Annual International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine. I am very excited to be sharing my knowledge and learning from colleagues on a truly global scale.
I will be back to schedule-as-usual the Monday after July 4th. Dr. Reba Akin will be seeing patients in my stead during this absence, she is great and I know that my patients will love her as well as being in good hands.