Change is in the air at WellnessRx—and that’s good news for patients.
With WellnessRx owner Jay Nielsen, MD, scaling back his office hours and concentrating on certain select services, Michelle Sandwisch, APRN, FNP-C, has joined the practice and is taking over management of prescription renewals as well as ongoing care for conditions such as chronic fatigue and chronic pain. This seamless transition ensures that WellnessRx patients will continue to receive the high-quality integrative care and timely provider access they’ve come to expect from the practice.
Dr. Nielsen notes that Sandwisch shares his integrative approach to medicine and has six years of experience helping patients get to the root of their chronic health concerns. She will see patients at WellnessRx as well as her existing practice, MyTotalBody Functional Medicine Clinic, in Ottawa Hills. However, Dr. Nielsen emphasizes that he will continue to see new patients for their initial visits, as well as several follow-up visits, before turning them over to Sandwisch for ongoing care.
Among the services Dr. Nielsen will continue to provide personally are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments, testosterone replacement therapy, and urgent care. His interest in regenerative medicine such as PRP grew from the realization early in his career that information on orthopedic treatments to repair joints and ligaments was lacking from his training as a family physician.
He explains, “When I got into practice, about 40 percent of my patients every day had orthopedic issues. So, I went out and tried to retrain myself only to find that no one seemed to know anything about managing orthopedic problems. They were just waiting to operate or send the patient to physical therapy. From there, I started studying with a chiropractor and physical therapists and learned how to manage joint problems instead of operating on them. I also became a member of the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine. PRP was first presented to the world at the 2008 national meeting of the AAOM. I actually had PRP done on my rotator cuff that day, and it has been fine ever since.”
According to Dr. Nielsen, PRP involves taking 80 cc’s of the patient’s blood and spinning it in a centrifuge until it separates into its component layers, one of which is rich in growth factors. Just 6 cc’s of this growth-factor-rich substance is then injected into the affected joint, tendon, or ligament to trigger healing. Dr. Nielsen performs the injections using a fluoroscope, which allows direct vision of bone, spurs, spaces, and joints, and each injection is preceded by an injection with lidocaine to numb the skin and reduce pain.
Thus far, Dr. Nielsen has performed about 2,000 PRP treatments, and on average, 85 percent of patients experience improvement afterward. It’s important to understand that the healing PRP triggers is not immediate, but an ongoing process. In fact, improvement has been shown to continue for up to 13 months after the one-time injection. Best results are typically seen in cases of moderate disease. “The time to have PRP performed is when you recognize that your joint hurts all the time but you aren’t yet a candidate for surgery. However, delaying treatment beyond that point will yield poor results, so you don’t want to wait too long to seek treatment. Also, not all patients are candidates for PRP. I would say about one-third of the people who come to me for PRP are never actually injected. Instead I might try glucosamine, peptides, 1222 shark liver oil, or other treatments first. If they come back the next month and say they’re still getting better every week, there’s no reason to do PRP,” Dr. Nielsen explains.
The PRP program at WellnessRx was designed with affordability in mind. Whereas most PRP providers charge $1,400 to $2,000 for a single treatment, Dr. Nielsen charges just $600 for a single draw. If more than one joint requires treatment, for example both knees or one knee and a shoulder, the cost for additional draws isn’t significantly higher—just $800 for two draws in the same session or $1,000 for three draws.
Testosterone replacement is another service Dr. Nielsen will continue to provide for patients with symptoms such as fatigue or loss of muscle mass, and the product he uses for this purpose is on the leading edge. “I use special testosterone pellets that are created by placing the hormone in a diamond-making machine, so they’re hard as a rock. I’ve specialized in male hormone replacement for 43 years, and this is the biggest treatment breakthrough in that field in history,” he says.
The testosterone pellets are implanted in the fat layer of the lower back, just above the seam of the patient’s back pocket, and this very simple process takes only about three minutes. Dr. Nielsen notes that compared to the “roller-coaster” dosing effect of other forms of testosterone supplementation, such as shots, gels, or lozenges, the pellets provide very smooth, linear dosing that lasts up to six months.
In addition, Dr. Nielsen will continue to make himself available to patients who come to him for urgent care, for example when they have a viral illness such as the flu after hours. “I live very close to the office, so patients can contact me through our website, which is set up to send a text to my phone, and I’ll try to get back to them immediately and meet them at the office. We have all the necessary equipment and supplies to provide urgent care in the office, including a fluoroscope to check for fractures and everything we need to repair a laceration. Also, Pathology Laboratories is right downstairs from our office, so patients can go there if they need any bloodwork or other lab services,” he says.
Perhaps most important, Dr. Nielsen—now with the help of Sandwisch—will continue to fulfill the role of medical investigator for patients, working to get to the root of their complex, often chronic complaints and finding innovative solutions that can bring long-awaited relief.
For more information about PRP, testosterone replacement, or any other services available at WellnessRx, please visit wellnessrx.org.