FAQ Category: General


Is it true everyone living in the north should take vitamin supplements? What if I am very healthy, very active, and participate in outdoor sports activities like golf, tennis, and hiking? How do I know what I really need?

Current studies have provided convincing evidence that most people (children and adults) in the United States are Vitamin D deficient. You wouldn’t think athletes with their strong bones and muscles would need any Vitamin D supplementation. But they do. According to a group of researchers from Marshall University School of […]


How reliable are animal studies when checking out something that is going to be used on humans? I ask this because my surgeon wants to inject my own blood plasma into my elbow for a true golfer’s elbow. But when I went on-line, most of the studies using this blood injection therapy have been on animals. So I’m a little less than enthusiastic to try this new treatment. What can you tell me?

As you have probably already found out from your own look into this treatment, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (also known as blood injection therapy) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems (in humans!). Platelet-rich plasma refers to a sample of serum (blood) plasma that has […]


I’ve been thinking about have a PRP injection into my elbow to help heal a bad case of tennis elbow. When I looked on-line I found your Patient Guide to Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment. I work in a lab in a hospital so I know that preparations of this type are not all equal. How do I know I’ll be getting the exact right mix for my problem?

You are exactly right to suggest not all injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are the same. And you bring up a second challenging factor in using PRP for tendon problems: knowing how much to inject and providing the exact right ratio of leukocytes (white blood cells) to platelets. As you […]


I suffered my first gout attack about six months ago. After the second attack yesterday, my doctor gave me a prescription for colchicine. But my father (who also has gout) told me he’s never heard of this drug. Should I really be taking it? Should my father find out about it? Maybe HE should be taking it, too.

The treatment of gout is not always the same from one person to the next. What stays the same is the preventive steps patients are encouraged to take. For example, patients are reminded not to drink alcohol (beer or liquor) or eat foods with purines in them (e.g., red meat, […]


When should someone with gout have the fluid taken out of the joint and sent to the lab? I’ve never had this done but someone else I know has. Just wondering why there’s a difference in how we are treated when we both have the same problem.

Anyone who has ever suffered an attack of gout knows just how painful it can be. The red, tender, and swollen joint can be so painful that even the touch of a sock or sheet can be excruciating. Painful joint symptoms associated with gout are caused by the deposit of […]


It seems like all of my friends (yes, we are all “Seniors”) are taking something for their joint pain they found on the Internet. I’ve been advised to take SAMe, glucosamine, fish oil, capaicin cream, and a ton of other stuff. Is there any scientific proof that any of these things really work?

Well, you are in luck. As it turns out, a physician from Australia recently published an article with the latest findings in this area. It was intended as an update for physicians on the use of nutraceuticals for joint disease. But the information is just as valuable for patients like […]


The guy at our local vitamin shop has advised me against taking glucosamine for my arthritis. I have allergies to shellfish and these supplements are evidently made from the shells of shellfish. Are these pills really helpful? Does having an allergy to shellfish really mean I should avoid them?

Glucosamine is a sugar the body produces naturally that is needed for good cellular structure of joint cartilage. It helps keep the cartilage able to attract water and thus stay hydrated. Good hydration of the cartilage cells creates the positive pressure needed to stand up under load and pressure. This […]


I am 16-years old and the captain of both the girls’ volleyball and soccer teams at my high school. Lately, I’ve been having tendon problems. First it was my elbow, now it’s my knee. My parents don’t want me to have the steroid injections that have been recommended. And I certainly don’t want to miss out on my senior year if I opt for surgery. What can I do to get through this problem quickly?

Tendon repair can be tricky business. When the process gets interrupted for any reason, the tendon may get stuck in a lose-lose situation. Too much inflammation (and even sometimes not enough inflammation) can result in a process that produces a problem we call tendinosis or tendinopathy. Tendinopathy refers to any […]


I am not an athlete and I’m heading toward middle age (I’m 43 years old) but I seem to have developed the kind of tendon problems athletes deal with. In fact, the doctor calls it tendinopathy, which is the same term I’ve heard applied to some of my favorite athletes. How does a guy like me get a problem like this?

Tendinopathy is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms such as pain, swelling, and impaired movement. The cause may not be an athletic injury but it is usually associated with overuse or repetitive motions. The everyday, average adult like yourself who develops these symptoms should take a look […]


Maybe I’m being a bit obsessive compulsive but that is my nature. I’m investigating the use of platelet-rich plasma to treat a chronic tendon problem I have. So far, I understand the concept and the procedure. But now I find there are dozens of “kits” the surgeon can choose from to actually do the blood draw and make the injection. How do they know which one to choose? Should I investigate further?

From your personal research, you have probably discovered that Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (also known as blood injection therapy) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Platelet-rich plasma refers to a sample of serum (blood) plasma that has as much as nine times more than […]


Are there any safety issues with blood injection plasma for tendon tears? I’m planning to have this treatment but thought I’d do a little checking on the Internet before actually going through with it.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (also known as blood injection therapy) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Platelet-rich plasma refers to a sample of serum (blood) plasma that has as much as nine times more than the normal amount of platelets. This treatment enhances the […]


I’m reading various articles on-line about platelet-rich plasma therapy. I’ve had several key players on my basketball team get these treatments. I’m trying to figure out if they really work well enough to insist other injured players get the same treatment. I’m having some difficulty understanding what is meant when studies are deemed “low-quality” or “moderate evidence.” Help?

Any time a new treatment technique is tried approval depends on how well it works, long the effects last, and the balance between risks and benefits. Risks usually include problems during the procedure and complications after the treatment. One of the new treatments for orthopedic conditions currently being investigated is […]


I have a question about the new blood injection therapy available for sports injuries. I understand they take the patient’s own blood and spin it down to get just the platelets. Then they inject those platelets into the injured area. But don’t platelet just cause blood to clot? How does this help the sprained ankle for example?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (also known as blood injection therapy) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Platelet-rich plasma refers to a sample of serum (blood) plasma that has as much as four times more than the normal amount of platelets. This treatment enhances the […]


I’m doing a little research for the orthopedic surgeon I work for. She uses platelet-rich plasma treatments for some carefully selected patients. We have recently found out that the lab where the samples are collected is reporting different blood (platelet and white blood cell) counts. I have the task to find out more about this. Is this happening everywhere? Are there any studies to help us investigate this further ourselves?

There was a recent study published from the University of Connecticut that reported platelet-rich plasma differs according to preparation methods and human variability. This isn’t the first study of its kind but the authors do compare their results with other similar studies already published. The platelet-rich plasma therapy has been […]


Can you tell me a little about the kind of surgery they might do for psoriatic arthritis? I have pretty severe joint damage and I’m just starting to explore my options.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis is individual and really a matter of medical management. In fact, it could be said that “it takes a village” to treat psoriatic arthritis. Dermatologists, rheumatologists, medical doctors, and physical therapists must work together to guide the patient and prevent as much damage as possible. The […]


I just added a new word to my medical vocabulary: myofascial trigger point. Turns out that’s what’s been causing my neck and arm pain. A physical therapist figured this out and now I’m getting the right treatment for the problem. Can you tell me a little more about this condition?

Trigger points are defined as hyperirritable areas of tenderness in a muscle that when pressed or pinched can cause local and/or distant referred pain (e.g., someplace else down the arm or leg). Trigger points can be active (currently already causing pain) or latent (only painful when pressed or pinched). Trigger […]


My brother has this annoying habit of coming up behind me and pinching the muscle above my shoulder. He says it’s the “Vulcan death grip.” I can believe that because it is incredibly painful. Brings me to my knees every time. What is he really pinching and what can I do to stay relaxed and unresponsive to this technique?

Star Trek lovers are familiar with the “Vulcan nerve pinch”, a technique used by Dr. Spock to cause someone to lose consciousness. The technique was to pinch a pressure point at the base of the victim’s neck but in fact, it’s likely the pinch was in fact a trigger point […]