How Brian escaped Pain with Stem Cell Therapy
For nearly all his life, running was central to Brian Katz’s daily activities. “I was born to run,” Katz, 47, said. Athletic efforts included triathlons, marathons, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball. In late 2013, though, an annoying lower back pain didn’t go away. It stayed through most of 2014. At first, he thought the soreness was a natural reaction to strenuous runs and workouts and endured it. Eventually, an intense training run produced an excruciating groin pain. After that, a 50-yard walk across the parking lot at work each day was a painful journey.
“I limped severely for a few weeks,” Katz said. “After seeing a lower back specialist, I was told my back was fine, but I had moderate to severe osteoarthritis in my right hip and my left hip wasn’t far behind.”
Katz visited an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hips and was told steroid injections would be the best option to delay the inevitable: hip replacement. “I had the injection to rule out other issues and isolate the injury,” Katz explained. “The steroid injection worked well, but by month three, I had a slight limp and the pain was slowly returning.”
The Chandler, AZ rocket engineer researched stem cell technology and visited a half-dozen local physicians who performed the procedure. He checked out physicians from across the U.S. and even abroad. All were accommodating, providing consultations and reviews of x-rays. A chat with another prominent local orthopedic surgeon, though, unlocked the puzzle: “If you want Stem Cell Therapy,” the surgeon said, “Dr. Wolff is the best I know.”
That’s all Katz had to hear. Immediately, he made an appointment with Southwest Spine & Sports.
Katz had stem cell therapy on both hips in January 2015, and a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment a month later. Four weeks after the stem cell therapy, he began a consistent weight training program focusing on his legs. Katz increased the intensity of the workouts and continues the program. “I felt progress within two weeks of the therapy,” Katz said. “By the fourth month, I had already begun light runs.” Two months later, he was running the trails at South Mountain and sprinting after a Frisbee, just like before the injury.
Katz’s notes post-therapy progress is usually measured via pain-reduction surveys, but he wanted to know what’s going on physiologically, interested in seeing tissue-regeneration evidence. Post-procedure x-rays didn’t show noticeable tissue growth, but the healing still has been remarkable. Through last fall, Katz still felt significant progress. “It’s likely we have slowed and perhaps ceased the progression of arthritic degeneration and supported tissue repair,” he said, still hoping to see that in an x-ray.
“Dr. Wolff is passionate about stem cell research and therapy and he takes personal care of his patients,” Katz said. “Prior to my treatment, I requested a wide range of information regarding equipment used, the approach, etc., right down to needle sizes. Dr. Wolff provided all of my requested information and took the time to give me a thorough understanding of the details surrounding the equipment and procedure.”
The staff at Southwest Spine & Sports are top-notch, Katz adds. “Everyone has been exceptionally accommodating: The nursing staff shows sincere compassion and the procedure is conducted in an exceptionally well-equipped modern facility and the supporting staff works like gears in a gearbox – they are an outstanding team.”
Katz notes he has no illusions the osteoarthritis is gone for good or that he can go back and run marathons and chase Frisbees at the pace he once did. “The Stem Cell treatment has given me a second chance of life, though, with renewed optimism that I can still run like the wind – but being nearly middle-aged, perhaps not as excessively as I did in my 20s.”