Pain Control Procedures Q&A

Pain control procedures at VMH ... Pictured above is Linda Thompson of Waterville climbing the steps outside the Sycamore Floral flower and gift shop in Waukon where she helps her daughter-in-law. “I had stem cell injections on both my knees last fall and have had great results. I had some troubles with my left knee, but had terrible pain in my right knee whenever I walked up steps and especially when I went to games and tried to walk up the bleachers. It was bone on bone and Dr. Schwartz thought there was a lot of arthritis and rheumatism in there. Now I get up the steps no problem. When Dr. Schwartz did the injections, I didn’t feel a thing. I’m 74 years old and now I can do everything like I used to, where before I had to sit down after just 15 minutes of working. Now I don’t have to!” Submitted photo.

Two new injection options are now available at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon to help with chronic pain or soft tissue musculoskeletal pain - Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). These new procedures provide patients with another option for pain control instead of only traditional means, such as surgery or pain pills. Both procedures have been successful in reducing or relieving pain, making it possible for many patients to resume their normal activities or delay surgery. The following is a series of questions and answers about these procedures as answered by the provider, Dr. Dave Schwartz.

Who should have BMC or PRP procedures?
These procedures are recommended for those who have trouble with the thought of having surgery, for those where surgery is not an option, and for those who are too young for total joint replacement. Your problem will be diagnosed after a consultation, which may include lab work, x-rays or MRI. Your insurance will typically cover the costs of these tests.

How does Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) work to help my pain?
Platelets are fragments that float freely in the bloodstream, and are part of the clotting process. In this procedure we take a small volume of your own blood and separate the platelets from the rest of the blood components. We then inject these platelets into your trouble spots to assist the body’s natural healing process and improve function.

What types of pain does PRP help?
PRP is primarily used to help muscle and soft tissue pain. It will make things feel better for a short while, but it doesn’t get to the bottom of the problem. It is a good answer if you need to feel good for awhile, such as recovering from a hamstring injury.

How does Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) work to help my pain?
Bone marrow is retrieved from the inside of your hip bone, specifically the firm spots on the back of the hip. The hip has very easy access and is a good source of bone marrow. We typically fill two to four large syringes with bone marrow material. It is then processed to separate just the bone marrow for injection. You are given light sedation for this procedure. All preparation of the bone marrow and the injection is done right in the operating room under sterile conditions.

What kind of preparation is needed?
Patients should be off their anti-inflammatory medications for one week before and two weeks following the procedure so they don’t interfere with the natural healing process. You also want to plan your injection for a time when you can limit your activities for approximately two weeks.

For more information, or to set up a consultation, call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Surgical Coordinator at 563-568-3411.

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