PRP Vs. Surgery: Combating Opioids

With major surgery often come prescription opioids, a painkiller that has hooked hundreds of thousands and killed over 70,000. Used to relieve severe pain, its chemical makeup is highly addictive and lures users towards more dangerous drugs including illegally-sourced opioid derivatives, heroin, and fentanyl. 

In a recently published study, researchers discovered an increase in opioid prescriptions for ankle sprains over a nine-year period. The scary part is this: 8.4% of those patients were still filling the prescription three months after the original diagnosis. 

Ankle sprains do not require such a strong painkiller as an opioid – ibuprofen does the trick. These drugs have never been included in medical treatment recommendations of ankle sprains. Besides, three months is enough to heal grade 1 and 2 ankle sprains; while grade 3 tears take several months to heal, opioids are still not medically necessary. 

In fact, the healing time of ankle sprains can be significantly reduced with regenerative therapy. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) can be injected into the ankle every 3 weeks, depending on the severity of the sprain. The treatment strengthens and renews sinews, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and cartilage by using the body’s own healing components. PRP signals the body to stabilize the joint, alleviating pain and quickening recovery. 

The Connection Between Surgery & Opioids

When surgery is the only way to treat a problem, there isn’t much you can do, right? However, more and more research is emerging about the alternatives to this invasive approach. According to a study at Stanford Medicine, arthroscopic surgery for meniscus tears results in a significantly lower rate of total knee replacement and, as a result, subsequent opioid prescriptions.

But what if there was a way to treat these tears without surgery, even the minimally-invasive kind? Enter, platelet-rich-plasma. 

How Does PRP Work?

It involves a simple and non-invasive process; doctors draw blood from the patient, centrifuge the blood in a lab to isolate the platelets and white blood cells and inject the concentrated cell cocktail into the affected area. 

PRP releases growth factors that possess multiple regenerative properties. The white blood cells contain enzyme-rich neutrophils and infection-fighting macrophages and phagocytes. All of these compounds work together to regenerate cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone. 

In a study analyzing meniscus repair, PRP had a substantial protective effect on meniscus repair failure. This means that PRP significantly reduced the risk of more surgery in the future. These findings suggest that surgery is not always the best route to take. There are other ways to heal injuries, and the safest way to do that is to harness the power of your own body.

If you have a musculoskeletal injury and are considering surgery, or can’t seem to find the right way to relieve pain and improve function, schedule a consultation with Dr. Scott Greenberg. He has over 20 years of experience treating patients with regenerative therapies, using stem cell therapyPRP, and prolotherapy.

The Link Between Sugary Drinks & Cancer

We’ve been hearing about the negative consequences of sugary drinks and sodas for decades, but a causal link has not been able to be established. As more research was conducted and published over the past few decades, researchers have slowly added to the collective repository of knowledge on the effect of our diet on the onset and progression of cancer.

Sugary drinks have long been linked to obesity, which is a very strong risk factor for cancer. However, with more research coming out, scientists are closing in on the gap between sugary drinks and cancer while controlling for various risk factors. 

What Are The Stats?

In a study of over 100,000 healthy adults, sugary drink consumption was recorded and correlated with the first cases of cancer reported by the participants. Medical information was validated by medical records. External variables were controlled for, including age, sex, physical activity, smoking levels, family history of cancer, and educational level. 

Ingesting sugary drinks daily is already shown to correlate with cancer prevalence, but increasing your consumption each day by a small amount significantly increases your risk. The study found that in people who ingest sugary drinks daily, a mere 3.4-ounce increase per day was associated with an 18% higher risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.

What’s The Link? 

So what’s the mechanism behind this probable link? Well, consuming sugary drinks increases the body’s fat storage mechanism. The sugar contained in these drinks is very easily converted into fat. However, fat cells aren’t the problem here – fat cells are a beneficial part of the body when stored properly and in moderation. 

The fat stored from sugary drinks is almost exclusively visceral fat. This isn’t that extra junk in the trunk or the pear shape that’s trending in media. Lower body fat is subcutaneous, as is upper body fat that you can pinch. While this may not ‘look good’, it doesn’t pose a serious health risk.

Visceral fat collects and accumulates around and in between the organs, and it’s very dangerous. This fat can compromise the functioning of certain organs such as the liver and pancreas. It is associated with higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol). 

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances that significantly increase the risk of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In women, it is associated with breast cancer and an increased need for gallbladder surgery.

Increased levels of visceral fat are associated with higher blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers. This means that it disrupts the normal balance and functioning of hormones. Visceral fat pumps out cytokines, which are types of immune system chemicals – these compounds increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and insulin sensitivity. In addition, they affect blood pressure and blood clotting. 

So What Does All Of This Mean? 

Drinking sugary drinks increases your risk of visceral fat – and visceral fat increases your risk of a myriad of diseases. How is this linked to cancer? Well, cancer occurs more often in those who also have cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. While this may seem like a far-fetched connect-the-dots, science has shown that it’s more of a snowball effect. 

People don’t like to believe that they may be the victim of this cascade, but its so much more common than they might think. No one is immune – not from genetics, drinking ‘diet’ sodas, or any other excuse. While you may look just fine in your early 20s, 30s, and maybe even your 40s, appearance doesn’t equate to health. 

What About Artificially Sweetened Beverages?

Many people opt for ‘diet’ drinks and sodas thinking they are a healthier alternative to caloric sugary drinks. On the contrary, the artificial sweeteners present in these drinks have been found to be just as unhealthy as their sugary counterparts.

study published by the American Diabetes Association found that daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Another study confirmed similar results, gathering data from 81,714 participants over the span of 7 years. Researchers found a link between higher intake of artificially sweetened beverages and an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality.

The Bottom Line

We must look at the reality. Based on data from 2013 to 2015, 38.4% of people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. In 2018, 1,735,350 cases were diagnosed. 

A proper diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins coupled with regular physical activity is the best approach to take. Cut the sugary drinks and opt for lightly sweetened teas, water with fruit in it, cold-pressed juices (in moderation), and other healthier alternatives. 

Eat well, avoid processed foods, exercise, and teach the same to your children. In addition, consider making lifestyle changes for immune support and cancer prevention. For a more in-depth approach to the immune system, we offer IV vitamin therapy, supplementation, and anti-inflammatory diet recommendations for our patients.  Please schedule an appointment with us at 833-440-4325 to learn more!