Southwest Spine and Sports Featured in the Phoenix 2015 Medical Directory

Excerpt from “Super Clinics” in Phoenix 2015 Medical Directory Vol. 49, No. 14

She could ride, and she could run. At 57, Kim rode horses competitively, and she jogged to stay in shape. Then one day while exercising, she felt a pop in her left hip, and suddenly it wasn’t even easy to walk. Indeed, the pain in her left thigh and buttock was so severe that it hurt to sit.

She pursued the usual courses of treatment – physical therapy, injections to the lower back, chiropractic manipulation. Improvement was minimal. She began to wonder if her gluteal injury might not bring her life as a woman of action to an end. Then, in 201a, Kim “presented” – to use prevailing industry jargon-speak – at Southwest Spine and Sport, where her treatment included doses of PRP.

Southwest Spine and Sports founder Dr. Michael Wolff administers Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) to a patient

Southwest Spine and Sports founder Dr. Michael Wolff administers Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) to a patient

Never heard of it? PRP stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma, a regenerative treatment for pain in the joints and the soft tissues. “It’s using your own blood to treat your injury,” says Dr. Michael Wolff, who founded Southwest Spine and Sports in 1999. “It might lead to faster or fuller healing. And it’s all natural, not like steroids.”

It works like this: “We draw your blood, and that machine spins your blood,” explains Jen Stewart, a medical assistant at the Tempe location of Southwest Spine and Sports, pointing to a toaster-size white gizmo that looks like some high-end kitchen appliance. The result, as the name “Platelet-Rich Plasma” suggests, is a product with a high concentration of the platelets that contain growth factors and proteins that help rebuild and enhance recovery.

When it’s re-injected, Stewart says, “we flood that part of your body with platelets… It’s not FDA-approved, so it’s technically experimental, but they’ve been doing a lot of them.” Kim, who asked that her last name not be used in this article, became a believer. Since undergoing PRP treatment, she and her horse have completed a 75-mile endurance ride, and multiple 50-mile rides, and she’s resumed her other exercises. In her online testimonial, she inevitably notes that PRP got her back in the saddle.

PRP is just one of the diverse and sophisticated treatments offered at Southwest Spine and Sports, any of which might be worth an article. But what may be even more remarkable is that they’re all available under one roof. “You really shouldn’t have to go see eight different people because you have lower back pain,” spokesperson Helen Basey says.

Southwest Spine and Sports is not unique in this regard. It may, at that, be an example of a rising trend – specialty practices that aren’t content to be so specialized anymore, and are expanding their models to include subspecialties, holistic care, even research and development. This is the essence of the integrative health care revolution, and chances are, it’s already at your doorstep.