Since becoming certified to perform Regenerative Injection Therapies, Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Angela Cortal, has helped many patients at Heart Spring Health to restore function and strength to their body with the added benefit of reducing pain. If you are new to this topic, please see our earlier post, a general overview on Regenerative Injection Therapies.
The most common complaints that bring someone to Dr. Cortal are osteoarthritis of the knees, hips and shoulders, chronic weakness (sprains, dislocations) of ligaments and joints and lastly, incomplete recovery after surgery (even years later). We have seen such great success with these therapies at our clinic that several case studies are being actively prepared for national publications as well as international research presentations.
Below are a few such stories. Although these are success stories that make us love what we do, there is nothing neither surprising nor uncharacteristic about the responses seen below. At this point, we expect great things, and see great recovery. We are happy to be able to provide Regenerative Injection Therapies at Heart Spring Health because of the phenomenal responses we see every day.
Case 1: The Active Patient with Weak Ankles
Like many athletic women, Miss D is a 40-something female with a very active history full of minor injuries. Involved in sports since a young age, she has suffered many “rolled ankles,” sprains of differing severity that had left her unable to jog run. Physical therapists teach patients how to exercise to improve fitness, move about safely, and prevent further injury. This often necessitates demonstrating exercises, stretching techniques, and much more to their patients. Miss D was often demonstrating techniques that it would have been best for her to avoid, due to her own injuries. After taking her case and completing a full physical exam (which, for providers of Regenerative Injection Therapy, has a unique focus on joint, tendon and ligament integrity, stability and tenderness), we discussed how she would be an excellent candidate for prolotherapy. Due to the “colorful” history of multiple small traumas to her ankles (on one side in particular), we anticipated her needing a short course of prolotherapy injections, spaced about a month apart.
Within a few days of the first injection session (injections were made to all regions of ligament weakness, swelling and instability), Miss D reported feeling more balanced and stable in her daily life and work activities. Within three weeks she noted continued stability and strength and tentatively tried a short jog- for the first time in years! Now two months later, she is warming up for her first 5k in a decade and will be returning to us soon for her second session. All this after just one treatment! It fills us with gratitude to be able to provide this type of care to our patients.
Case 2: The Achy Knees and Stiffness, Well Ahead of His Time
Like many office workers, Mr. R is in his early 50s, overweight and works a sedentary job. Over the years he has had surgery on both his knees and was recently diagnosed with mild to moderate osteoarthritis in both knees. To top it off he would like generally improve health, and also lose weight, but finds sustained exercise of all types too aggravating to his knee pain so is very limited in his choices. Going at this rate, Mr. R could easily find himself caught in a snowball effect of reduced activity to avoid knee pain, resulting in more sedentariness and further weight gain.
With Mr. R (after a full case history, reviewing past MRIs and completing a full physical exam), we decided that he would be a great candidate for Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections (PRP). PRP is often a top choice when there are areas of cartilage loss and more severe degeneration. Many patients are hesitant about Regenerative Injection Therapies, as the healing modality is new to them. So was the case with Mr. R, so we decided to start with one session and discussed how a second one may also be beneficial.PRP is stronger but more gradual in its treatment effect. When Mr. R came back to the clinic two months after the first session he was bursting with happiness, describing his new exercise regimen at the gym (he had had a gym membership previously but never used it- sound familiar?). He also proudly displayed his ability to squat down and rise back up without the snap, crackle and pop chorus that used to present with such movement.
Since that first session, about six months ago as of this writing, we performed one prolotherapy session to help improve joint stability and are planning one last PRP session eminently as recently a small degree of achiness (and accompanying crunching sounds) have returned. Dr. Cortal anticipates after this second PRP, Mr. R will be fully able to exercise to his heart’s content,which will bode well for his joint recovery and health goals overall.
So those are just two of many happy patients, returning to exercise, sport or just being able to climb stairs and play games with the grandkids. If your joints hurt, and you have not been pleased with your conservative or surgical treatment options, give us a call and Dr. Cortal will let you know if and how you might be able to benefit from Regenerative Injection Therapies.
Dr. Angela Cortal is a Naturopathic Physician at Portland’s Heart Spring Health. Dr. Angela is an expert in Regenerative Injection Therapy- Prolotherapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections. She loves offering these treatments to patients at Heart Spring Health, and sees phenomenal recoveries from past injuries, degenerative joint conditions and chronic pain or instability.
Dr. Cortal recently earned Portland Monthly’s Top Doc Award for 2016, is a member of several Naturopathic professional associations as well as the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine. She is certified in Regenerative Injection Therapies of the extremities through the Naturopathic Association of Therapeutic Injections at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Dr. Cortal is a native Portlander, loves strength training and hiking the beautiful mountains and coast in the Pacific Northwest. She regularly travels to visit family in Catalunya, Spain, and is currently learning Catalan.