Regenerative Medicine + Physical Therapy = The Future

Regenerative Rehabilitation is a newly emerging field based on collaboration between the fields of regenerative medicine and rehabilitation science. It is improving recovery times and helping to ensure prolonged healthy and proper function for people managing injury and disease in the spine, joints, nerves, tendons and muscles.

Regenerative medicine works on a cellular level to restore structure and function to damaged tissues and organs. These treatments promote healing through the secretion of growth factors, the introduction of new or modified cellular matter, and the stimulation of cell-specific growth. As the cells perform their duties, functionality improves.

Since 2017, Dr. Marko Bodor, Director of Research for Napa Medical Research Foundation (NMRF), has been working with Kristin Bowne, PT, MS, DPT, a pioneer in the field of Regenerative Rehabilitation and leading physical therapist. Her customized physical therapy programs begin with a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation and incorporate a variety of therapeutic modalities that serve to reduce pain, promote tissue repair and support the body’s intrinsic healing process. The collaborative work between Bowne and NMRF is establishing an important basis for the evolution of this new, interdisciplinary field.

Rehabilitation science, an integral part of which is physical therapy, operates with the same intention – to improve function. From muscle activation and soft tissue mobilization to plain old-fashioned exercise, physical therapy treatments are utilized to decrease pain and swelling, lengthen tissues, harden and remodel bone, ensure pliability of the nervous system, and more.

A 2010 article in The Journal of American Physical Therapy Association makes a compelling case for synergy between regenerative medicine and rehabilitation, stating that “given that the restoration of normal functioning of injured or diseased tissues is expected to be the ultimate goal of these [cellular] therapies, the future of regenerative medicine is, undeniably, tightly intertwined with that of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation specialists not only must be aware of cutting-edge medical advances as they relate to regenerative medicine but also must work closely with basic scientists to guide the development of clinically relevant protocols.”

Integrating physical therapy into the treatment plan at the outset provides for a more comprehensive diagnosis. For musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and orthopedic conditions, a physical therapist can make critical pre-procedure assessments regarding movement patterns and identify compensatory behaviors that have developed due to the condition or injury. Rather than treat just the affected area, it broadens the approach to include the repetitive actions that may have contributed to the injury or degeneration, and introduces a means of addressing them.

Through our work with Kristin Bowne, individual case studies are providing critical information about the effectiveness of physical therapy as an integral part of a regenerative treatment plan. The Napa Medical Research Foundation expects to incorporate an increasing amount of targeted physical therapy in our regenerative medical research studies as we seek to enhance outcomes through the greater use of regenerative rehabilitation.

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 Reduce Pain. Increase Mobility + Function. Improve Quality of Life.

All the research conducted through the Napa Medical Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is fully funded through generous donations received from individuals and family foundations.

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