Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy for Joint Pain

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy for Joint Pain

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis in the shoulder, knee, hip, or thumb. But when it comes to the use of platelet-rich plasma therapy to treat joint pain, one size does not fit all.  To reach its maximum benefit, PRP should be customized to the specific joint or tissue being treated.

How PRP Works  for Joint Pain

Platelet rich plasma is an FDA compliant treatment where a small amount of the patient’s own blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge to isolate and concentrate the platelets from the blood sample.  The concentrated platelets release numerous growth factors that help to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing and repair of injured cartilage and tissues.  Experienced regenerative medicine specialists know how to determine the correct formulation needed and then use ultrasound or fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance to deliver this customized platelet rich plasma concentration directly to the joint in need of treatment. Sometimes the tendons and ligaments around the joint need to be treated as well.

Key Factors that Impact Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy 

We’ve already stated that PRP needs to be customized to the specific joint being treated, but there are other factors that also play a role in successful treatment. These include:

  • Diet: Because the platelets are drawn from the patient’s own body, their quality can be highly influenced by the patient’s diet. A folate-rich diet or a diet rich in berries, such as blueberries, may help boost platelet count in a patient’s blood.  
  • Medications: Patients may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (Advil, Aleve, etc.), blood thinners or other medications that interfere with platelet function.
  • Targeted Delivery: Some practices simply inject PRP into the joint without using any image guidance. This is quite literally “stabbing in the dark.” The best results occur when the treatment is delivered specifically to the damaged area using image guidance.
  • Technology: Many practices offering PRP do not have the highly specialized equipment necessary to process the patient’s blood so they can receive the highest levels of growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair. 
  • The extent of the damage or injury: All patients require a thorough history, physical exam, and imaging studies to determine if their joint is appropriate for PRP treatment.  Occasionally, damage to the joint in question may be too advanced for PRP to be considered a viable treatment option. 

How Effective is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been practiced for years, having been one of the first biologic therapies used to treat orthopedic conditions. It is both art and science: art in the skill and expertise of knowing exactly where to deliver the treatment; and science in knowing how to formulate a specifically customized concentration of PRP to achieve maximum benefit.

When administered correctly under the right protocols, most patients gain relief within four to six weeks following PRP therapy and do not require any additional care. 

And since the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, there is no need for hospitalization or lengthy rehab. Nothing more than ice and rest are needed to minimize discomfort as the body begins to heal itself immediately after the injection, and patients are often able to resume normal activities within days. Physical therapy may also be recommended to regain joint mobility and strength.

Fill out the form below to learn more about PRP Therapy for Joint Pain at SDOMG.

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Living Your Best Life With Chronic Pain

Living Your Best Life With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can adversely affect your quality of life and your ability to engage in daily activities. It also has repercussions on your family life, work environment, and social life. It is important to emphasize the need for a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to improve patient’s function.

Research shows that the ability to live a meaningful life with chronic pain depends on you taking a leading role in your life. 

With this in mind, here are some tips to get you started on making your life more meaningful despite living in chronic pain.

Managing Life with Chronic Pain

Developing Some Coping Mechanisms

You probably get a grim picture when you think of living life with chronic pain. However, the reality is that you can continue to enjoy a happy, healthy, and productive life. Consider:

  • Learning deep breathing mechanisms or meditation to help you relax
  • Reducing stressful situations in your life
  • Cutting back on alcohol and smoking, which can make the problem worse
  • Joining a support group
  • Learning biofeedback to decrease tension


It’s not a good idea to allow yourself to get lost in chronic pain, but instead, use it to your benefit. When you are in pain, leading a sedentary life can make the pain worse. Talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist about a safe exercise program that suits your condition.

The program should match your current fitness level and take into account your diagnosis.

Exercise doesn’t have to be in the gym. You can do it from home with streaming videos, or you can join a rehabilitative exercise program in your area. Exercise has a pain-reducing effect because the brain releases some chemicals to block pain signals.

Try Complementary Treatments

Together with getting the proper medications and procedures, you may also want to try other effective alternative treatments that can be powerful tools to help you cope with chronic pain. Common alternatives include:

It can be challenging to manage chronic pain all alone. If you would like more professional help managing chronic pain for a more meaningful life, fill this form to request an appointment with pain management specialists at SDOMG.

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Dr. Mary Ambach was a Speaker at Orthopedic Conference

Dr. Mary Ambach was a Speaker at Orthopedic Conference

Dr. Mary Ambach was invited to present at the Orthopedic Nursing Conference, B.O.N.E.S. Bonafide Orthopedic Nursing Education Symposium, at the Marriott in Liberty Station, San Diego. She talked about the Orthopedic Applications of Platelet Rich Plasma and educated the nurses on basic concepts of PRP, most common conditions treated and current evidence.

Dr. Ambach Presenting on PRP therapy

Is Your Doctor Selling An Illegal Drug?

Is Your Doctor Selling An Illegal Drug?

We want to make you aware of a public health risk that has emerged in San Diego – the illegal sale of fetal tissues for orthopedic conditions. As a result, the FDA and Federal Trade Commission have issued these warnings:

  1. FTC Hold Companies Accountable for Deceptive Claims Regarding Stem Cell Therapy
  2. United States of America Department of Health and Human Services: FDA’s Regulatory Oversight of Regenerative Medicine Products

What is Wharton’s Jelly?

Wharton’s jelly is a tissue within the umbilical cord – the tube connecting a developing fetus with its mother’s placenta. It contains blood and cells that are claimed to useful for orthopedic conditions. But, because it comes from a donor’s body there are multiple safety concerns. Several medical clinics in San Diego now sell Wharton’s jelly injections to their patients, making unsubstantiated claims about its safety and efficacy. We would like to share several issues with this illegal practice with you.

Is Wharton’s Jelly Safe?

The safety of Wharton’s jelly in patients is unknown as no research studies on its use have been conducted in humans.

Is It Effective for Arthritis?

Again, this is unknown. There are no research studies on the efficacy of Wharton’s jelly for any orthopedic condition. Claims made to the contrary are simply unsubstantiated.

Is Wharton’s Jelly FDA-Approved?

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance to physicians regarding the use of Wharton’s jelly. They maintain that Wharton’s jelly is a drug and requires FDA approval. But Wharton’s jelly is not FDA-approved because there are no studies on it’s safety or efficacy and physicians are not permitted to inject it into their patients.

Is my Doctor Permitted to Sell a Drug that is Not FDA-Approved?

Selling a drug that is not FDA-approved constitutes the sale of an illegal drug and may put patients at risk. The FDA has filed injunctions against medical practices that sell illegal drugs and the Federal Trade Commission has fined doctors who make unsubstantiated claims of safety or efficacy.

Is there Any Scientific Evidence for the Use of a Patient’s Own Cells in the Treatment or Orthopedic Conditions?

There are several FDA-compliant, cell-based therapies available to patients with orthopedic conditions. These treatments use a patient’s own cells and include: platelet-rich plasma (PRP), micro-fragmented adipose tissue (MFAT), and bone marrow aspirate (BMAC). These non-surgical treatments have substantial scientific evidence to support their safety and efficacy for several types of orthopedic conditions.


The physicians at SDOMG are board certified, fellowship-trained and nationally recognized experts in using a patient’s own cells to treat orthopedic conditions. We only offer FDA-compliant therapies with substantial scientific evidence for safety and efficacy. If you have any questions about our innovative therapies, please call us for a consultation today. Please use the form to get in touch with our team, or use the contact information listed below. 

Thank you and stay safe,

San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group
6125 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92011
(760) 909-2355
[email protected]

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Exploring Prolotherapy: The Groundbreaking Technique for Pain Management and Healing

Exploring Prolotherapy: The Groundbreaking Technique for Pain Management and Healing

Prolotherapy has become increasingly popular due to its numerous benefits and effectiveness in treating various musculoskeletal conditions. This treatment technique, which stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms, is an effective option for pain management and to promote healing. In this article, we will delve into the world of prolotherapy, explore its advantages, and discuss the conditions it can treat. We will also provide an overview of the prolotherapy treatment process to give you a better understanding of this innovative approach to pain management and healing.

Introduction to Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy, also known proliferative therapy, is a non-surgical treatment that promotes the body’s natural healing processes. It involves injecting a solution, typically consisting of dextrose, into damaged or injured areas of the body. This solution triggers an inflammatory response, which, in turn, stimulates the body’s healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen damaged tissues and joints. Unlike other treatments, prolotherapy addresses the root cause of pain by targeting the damaged tissues and promoting healing rather than simply masking the pain with medications or relying on surgery.

The concept of prolotherapy dates back to the 1930s, when Dr. Earl Gedney, an osteopathic physician, first introduced the technique. Dr. Gedney discovered that by injecting a solution into the weakened area of the body, he could trigger the healing process and relieve pain. Since then, the technique has evolved and gained recognition as a viable option for pain management and healing, with numerous studies supporting its effectiveness. The term “prolotherapy” was first used in the 1950s by Dr. George Hackett.

Benefits of Prolotherapy for Pain Management and Healing

Prolotherapy offers several benefits as a treatment for pain management. Some of the key advantages of this therapy include:

  • Effectiveness: Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of prolotherapy in reducing pain and improving function in patients suffering from various conditions. In many cases, patients experience significant improvement in their symptoms after just a few sessions.
  • Non-surgical: As a non-surgical treatment, prolotherapy presents a lower risk of complications and fewer side effects compared to surgical procedures. It is an excellent option for individuals seeking a less invasive approach to treating their pain and promoting healing.
  • Minimally invasive: Prolotherapy involves the use of small injections, making it a minimally invasive procedure. This means there is little to no downtime, and patients can typically return to their normal activities shortly after treatment.
  • Natural approach: Prolotherapy harnesses the body’s natural healing abilities by stimulating an inflammatory response at the site of injury. This natural approach to healing is appealing to many individuals who prefer to avoid medications or surgery.
  • Long-lasting relief: By addressing the root cause of pain and promoting the repair of damaged tissues, prolotherapy offers long-lasting relief from pain. This stands in contrast to other treatments that may only provide temporary relief.

Conditions That Can Be Treated

Prolotherapy has been proven effective in treating a wide range of conditions related to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Some of the most common conditions that can benefit from prolotherapy include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Prolotherapy can help alleviate pain and improve joint function in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis by stimulating the body’s healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen the affected joint.
  • Tendinopathy: Tendons are fibrous bands that connect muscles to bones, and when they become damaged or irritated, it can result in tendinopathy. Prolotherapy can be an effective treatment for tendinopathy by promoting the regeneration and repair of damaged tendons.
  • Chronic back pain: Back pain is a common condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Prolotherapy can provide long-lasting relief from chronic back pain by targeting the damaged tissues and promoting healing.
  • Sports injuries: Sports injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears, can be effectively treated with prolotherapy. The treatment can help repair and strengthen damaged tissues, allowing athletes to return to their sport more quickly.

The Prolotherapy Treatment Process

The prolotherapy treatment process typically involves several sessions, spaced apart by several weeks. During each session, a solution is injected into the damaged area, triggering an inflammatory response and promoting healing. The number of sessions required will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment.

Before the treatment, the healthcare provider will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if prolotherapy is the right treatment option. They will also discuss the treatment process and potential risks and benefits with the patient.

During the treatment, the healthcare provider will use a small needle to inject the solution into the damaged area under ultrasound guidance. The patient may experience some discomfort during the injection, but it is typically brief and well-tolerated. After the injection, the patient may experience mild swelling and pain at the injection site, which should resolve within a few days.

Following the treatment, the healthcare provider may recommend rest and limited activity for a short period. They may also recommend exercises or physical therapy to help strengthen the affected area and promote healing.


Prolotherapy is an effective treatment option for pain management and to promote healing. This non-surgical and minimally invasive technique harnesses the body’s natural healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen damaged tissues, providing long-lasting relief from pain. Prolotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of conditions related to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. If you are struggling with chronic pain or seeking a natural approach to healing, prolotherapy may be an excellent option for you.

To learn more about prolotherapy and whether it may be right for you, talk to the experts at San Diego Orthopedics Medical Group. Fill out the form below to get started.

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Treating Partial Rotator Cuff Tears

Treating Partial Rotator Cuff Tears

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that connect the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons work together to provide stability and support for the shoulder joint, allowing for a wide range of movement and flexibility. However, when these muscles and tendons become damaged, it can result in a rotator cuff tear.

Rotator cuff tears can happen for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes is overuse, especially in people who engage in repetitive overhead activities. Other causes include aging, injury, or degeneration from arthritis.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain, weakness, and stiffness in the shoulder, as well as difficulty moving the arm and a loss of range of motion. If left untreated, a rotator cuff tear can lead to chronic pain and loss of function in the shoulder.

Why does this happen?

Rotator cuff tears are common in people over 40, especially those who engage in repetitive overhead motions, such as athletes or manual laborers. These tears can occur due to the overuse of the shoulder and the gradual wear and tear on the muscles and tendons over time.

Another cause of rotator cuff tears is injury. The rotator cuff can become torn when the shoulder is impacted, such as in a fall or accident. Additionally, degenerative conditions such as arthritis can also lead to rotator cuff tears.

How can Rotator Cuff tears be prevented?

Maintaining healthy shoulder muscles and tendons is the best way to prevent rotator cuff tears. This includes engaging in regular exercise, such as weightlifting, swimming, and other activities that work the shoulder muscles.

For people who engage in repetitive overhead activities, it is important to take frequent breaks and avoid repetitive movements that may cause strain on the shoulder. Additionally, warming up and stretching before participating in activities that involve overhead motions can help to prevent rotator cuff tears.

What treatments can be used for Rotator Cuff tears?

If a rotator cuff tear is diagnosed, several treatment options are available. Conservative treatment options, such as rest, physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help to manage pain and inflammation.

Another option for the treatment of rotator cuff tears is the use of biologics, such as platelet-rich plasma or cell-based therapies, which can be used to help promote tissue regeneration. Biologic therapies are injection procedures. Blood, bone marrow, or fat tissue is collected, processed, and injected into the shoulder to help repair the damaged tissue and promote healing. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. There are no large incisions or lengthy hospitalizations involved. 

For more severe tears, surgery may be necessary. Surgery options include arthroscopy, which uses small incisions to repair the damaged tissue, or open surgery, which involves a larger incision and a prolonged recovery. 

In conclusion, rotator cuff tears can happen for various reasons. Maintaining healthy shoulder muscles and tendons is the best way to prevent them. When a rotator cuff tear is diagnosed, several treatment options are available, including biologics such as platelet-rich plasma injections and cell-based therapies. These treatments can help to manage pain, promote healing, and restore function in the shoulder. Consult with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.

The team at SDOMG has vast experience treating shoulder pain and using orthobiologic treatments to reduce chronic pain. Fill out the form below to learn more about how our team of experts can help.

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