It’s not every day we get to treat active athletes in their mid-70s. But the fact that we get to treat patients like this at all speaks volumes about the world we live in today.
This patient in question is a gentleman who plays tennis five days a week. He recently scheduled an appointment to meet with Dr. Arkady Lipnitsky, Pain Physicians NY’s chiropractic and rehabilitation specialist, not because he was experiencing pain, but because he wanted to get better at tennis.
Now, just take a moment consider what changes the world has undergone in this man’s lifetime. When he was born, aspirin was on the cutting edge of pain management, and the majority of working adults got paid to do some kind of physical labor.
Today, we are using lasers and shockwaves to actually repair injured tissues. The majority of working adults, however, have simply traded one poor working condition for another: Sitting long hours in uncomfortable positions, bringing about new health conditions previous generations would never have considered.
As such, cutting edge therapies have had to proliferate out of necessity. There are literally millions of Americans with damaged spines because their lifestyles keep their cores weak, or with joint pain because those parts of their bodies have lost elasticity over time and hardened.
This is precisely why a septuagenarian who wants to up his tennis game is so inspiring. His story highlights the way modern medicine and lifestyle choices work together to give millions of people access to the longest, most rewarding quality of life in human history.
The New Frontiers of Pain Management
Old paradigms are beginning to fall by the wayside in comprehensive pain management.
For years, pain specialists have relied on too few tools to treat patients, says Dr. Lipnitsky.
It’s the old story about how if you have a hammer, all problems look like nails.
“Our goal is to step away from the usual, to step away from what they’ve done for years,” Dr. Lipnitsky says. “You know, some things do work, and some things don’t work. We know what doesn’t work.”
Case in point: Dr. Lipnitsky sees patients every day who have long suffered from arthritis, whose doctors have relied solely on giving them corticosteroid injections.
Sure, the pain goes away for a while with this treatment, but the underlying damage to the injured tissue isn’t healed. Treating symptoms alone cannot heal a patient. Instead, the arthritis just proliferates.
“If all a doctor can do is inject, then that’s all they’re going to be doing. They’re going to be injecting way too many people in the cases when they probably shouldn’t be injecting.”
This is why Dr. Lipnitsky puts an emphasis on Pain Physicians NY’s multi-speciality approach to treating patients. Being able to actually heal people on a patient-by-patient basis is a matter of having access to the right tools.
Isokinetic rehabilitation and testing.
These can be intimidating terms for many people, but these are the tools that are currently emerging as the best options for tissue regeneration and smarter advanced pain management in studies worldwide.
Dr. Lipnitsky is actively growing his team of specialists based on the understanding that the more comprehensive Pain Physicians NY can be toward pain, the more efficient they can be as physicians.
It’s this understanding that connects today’s cutting-edge medical technology with our ability as a species to push forward that quality-of-life boundary.
“We want to step away from what destroys the patient’s health or debases joints, like corticosteroids that are overused and abused in most of the interventional pain management as well as in rehabilitation practices and sports medicine practices,” Dr. Lipnitsky says.
And so far, recent studies out of Europe and Japan indicate that what Dr. Lipnitsky describes as “stepping away” could prove to be a leap forward.
However, all of this hope and these opportunities come with one big caveat: Active cooperation from patients is becoming more important than ever.
Whom These Treatments Benefit Most
Active people respond much better to modern regenerative and rehabilitational treatments.
This one trait applies across most circumstances, whether it’s a teenage golfer experiencing lower back pain or a middle-aged professional who makes time to swim laps during the week.
“We’re not meant to sit for eight to 10 hours a day,” Dr. Lipnitsky says, though he’s well aware of the fact that many people cannot avoid those conditions.
But there are 14 to 16 other hours available during those workdays when spines compress and wrists get tighter.
Modern life has split many people into two camps: Those who embrace an active life during those other hours, and those who choose not to. For the former group, regenerative therapies and rehabilitation are not one-off attempts to dull pain.
For them, it is a way for them to resume the lives they want to live. They will do the prescribed exercises, and they will make the necessary changes to their lives because they understand the bigger picture.
The Friday night ballroom dancers and the half-marathon runners and the people who are committed to getting better at some kind of activity — these are the patients who are best positioned to live long and healthy lives.