As a health and physical education teacher, Mark Pankau has spent his entire life encouraging his students to keep moving and be active. Yet a knee injury 10 years ago left him unable to practice what he preached.
I was not able to live my life in my normal fashion. I could not do many of my own physical conditioning activities, especially any movements that required side-to-side movements, or extreme forward-and-back foot strike activities.
But then a Facebook ad for National Spine & Pain Centers caught Mark’s attention and he decided it was time to see if there were new treatment options that would enable him to finally address the pain in his knee.
He met with National Spine & Pain Centers’ Ben Newton, M.D., who suggested that Mark might be a good candidate for platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. These cutting-edge treatment options enable patients to use their own blood products to speed the healing of injured areas.
Given Mark’s background, he was able to establish an immediate rapport with Dr. Newton. “He and I were able to discuss a wide range of topics from exercise, sports and anatomy based on my professional teaching knowledge of the body,” Mark recalled. “Dr. Newton was very thorough in his explanations of PRP and stem therapies. He also thoroughly explained how the withdrawals and re-injections would occur.”
As his body continued its natural healing process—with the added boost of the PRP and stem cell therapies—Mark found his knee getting stronger by the day. As such, he has advice for others who may be struggling with long-term injuries. “Do not postpone an examination and treatment,” he said. “The longer one waits, the higher the risk of increased injury, which could limit some of the treatments available.”
As for those who might question the use of PRP and stem cell therapies, Mark steps into his familiar role of educator. “These procedures are all you, your own body cells that are able to repair damaged parts,” he explained. “Check out National Spine & Pain Centers’ web page and take advantage of their free, monthly presentation with their team of doctors so you can get questions answered and learn from patients who have already had a treatment and are back for another procedure.”
In fact, Mark is living proof of the old adage that we never stop learning. “If I were to do it over, I would have scheduled the procedure sooner,” the teacher said.