Innovative Doctor Heals Back, Neck, Joint, and Foot Pain Without Surgery or Drugs

Daniel Kassicieh, D.O. FAAN
Board Certified Neurologist

I have a strong interest in health and quality-of-life. So, for this blog, I interviewed an innovative doctor who heals patients suffering from chronic pain – when other doctors have given up on them. His story illustrates how challenging conventional thinking can lead to more effective treatments for life-changing injuries. — Steve

Summer 2017

For more than 15 years, Harold’s feet ached whenever he walked. He didn’t think much about it until a few years ago. That’s when the pain started getting progressively worse. Then, one day, he could hardly walk. He explained that,

“My feet hurt so bad, it felt like someone was beating them up with a ball-peen hammer.”

To Harold’s dismay, five different podiatrists were unable to heal his painful condition; chronic plantar fasciitis. This is a repetitive stress injury consisting of micro tears of the tissues that connect the toes to the heel of the foot.

If this condition isn’t successfully healed, it often turns into a semi-permanent injury. Then, as with Harold’s situation, the damaged tissues don’t respond to conservative treatments.

Although Harold’s podiatrists recommended he let them operate on his feet, he declined. He knew surgery didn’t always stop the pain and complications could make it even worse.

After searching for a cure for years, he had almost given up hope. Then he met Dr. Daniel Kassicieh (rhymes with, “Nice ta see ya.”), a neurologist, pain specialist and pioneer in the evolving field of natural, regenerative medicine. For the last 25 years, he has been researching and applying innovative treatments to help his patients manage and heal painful conditions.

A Natural Cure

After a thorough exam, MRI review, and medical history, Dr. Kassicieh recommended a natural, non-surgical treatment for Harold’s chronic, plantar fasciitis; Enriched Platelet Therapy (EPT).

Platelets not only coagulate blood to stop bleeding, they also play a critical role in the body’s natural healing cascade; its built-in repair process.

A small vial of the patient’s own blood is spun in a special, high-speed centrifuge for about 15 minutes. This separates the platelets from the other blood components and concentrates it in a plasma solution. This solution, called…

platelet-rich-plasma (PRP), is the patient’s own natural “medicine” used in Enriched Platelet Therapy.

For this treatment, after an accurate diagnosis, a doctor does a single injection of a thimble-full of PRP into the injured tissues. Surprisingly, the entire procedure takes less than an hour of office time—for both feet.

The best part is you can walk in and walk out after the treatment and then go back to work in a few days. Unlike surgery, there is no prolonged recovery period. Since EPT uses the patient’s own blood components, there is almost zero risk of complications.

Harold decided he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, he agreed to try this little-known remedy. Much to his amazement, one treatment cured the pain he had endured for more than 15 years. He explained that, “Almost immediately (after the treatment), I could tell a difference.

“As the weeks went on, the pain in my feet went away completely.”

That was over eight years ago, and both of Harold’s feet have been pain-free ever since.

It took Dr. Kassicieh almost 20 years of practicing medicine before he discovered the healing power of Enriched Platelet Therapy using platelet rich plasma (PRP). His breakthrough was only possible because of his willingness to think outside the box of traditional medicine.

An Early Focus on Healing

Dr. Kassicieh inherited his passion for healing from his father, who was also a physician. The lessons he learned working for his father while in high school established a solid foundation for his future career in medicine. Most importantly he says of this time,

“I fell in love with the idea of healing people and helping them improve the quality of their lives.”

So, after graduating from college, Dr. Kassicieh studied Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathic medical doctors (D.O.s) study the same material and take the same exams as MD students. But, they receive about 200 additional hours of academic training. Much of the extra time is spent studying conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system and non-surgical orthopedics.

D.O. students also receive advanced training in holistic diagnosis and deep listening skills. Doctors of Osteopathy are licensed to practice all aspects of medicine, just like MDs.

During medical school, Dr. Kassicieh decided to specialize in neurology. Neurologists diagnose and treat conditions and diseases of the nervous system, including the brain. The nervous system, which includes the brain, controls all the body’s other systems.

He realized that specializing in neurology would complement his holistic knowledge of the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tissues that support and move our bodies.

It was the right choice. He says, “I soon realized I was put on earth to practice neurology.”

Because of his interest in quality of life, Dr. Kassicieh decided on a sub specialty of treating and managing headache pain. At that time, doctors treated severe headaches with narcotics.

Searching for Better Results

He soon realized that, “We weren’t curing anyone. We were simply giving them temporary relief from chronic, debilitating pain. I longed for a better way to help my patients. But, at that time, pain pills were all we had.”

His desire to find better ways of treating and healing pain led Dr. Kassicieh to become an “early adopter” of promising drugs, treatments, and medical technologies.

In fact, he was one of the first doctors to recognize the benefits of using Botox for headache relief. The FDA approved Botox as safe for medical use in 1989. Today, Botox is widely used to treat a broad range of medical and cosmetic conditions as well as chronic migraine headaches.

During that era, doctors were hiding Parkinson’s patients’ symptoms with drugs; they weren’t trying to enhance their quality of life. But, Dr. Kassicieh fine-tuned his patients’ medications so they could function at their highest capacity. He also prescribed non-drug treatments, such as increasing their general activity level and getting them enrolled in exercise programs.

With these simple interventions, his Parkinson’s patients regained much of their previous quality of life. His successes convinced him that holistic, natural treatments could make a positive impact on his patients’ lives. They also encouraged him to try other unconventional remedies.

After his successes treating Parkinson’s patients, Dr. Kassicieh established the Neurologic Research Institute of Sarasota (NRIS) and became its medical director. His team conducted Phase III, clinical research studies for pharmaceutical companies. These are the final studies that determine if a drug is safe and effective enough to be approved by the FDA for wide use.

The knowledge gained from these rigorous, scientific studies now help him determine if new drugs and treatments are worth prescribing for his patients.

He says,

“I realized there are a million ways to hide symptoms but probably only one good way to heal them.

“Most of the drugs approved by the FDA don’t cure the underlying causes; they simply mask the symptom or minimize the pain. I came to believe that to truly help my patients; I need to heal the underlying causes of their symptoms.”

Healing Painful Injuries Without Surgery or Drugs

In 2002, Dr. Kassicieh went into private practice to focus on his passion, helping his patients manage and heal painful conditions.

As a neurologist with extensive experience in non-surgical orthopedics, Dr. Kassicieh was often consulted by patients who had failed back, neck, shoulder, knee, and foot surgeries.

These people went through the risk of an operation and suffered a long and painful recovery process. But they still lived with constant, unrelenting pain.

Unfortunately, failed joint and spine surgeries are all too common. In a small, but significant, percentage of cases, instead of healing the pain, surgery causes additional damage, creating new sources of pain.

Their surgeons would say something like,

“Your operation went fine and your follow-up MRI shows nothing new. So, I’ve done all I can for you. Go see a neurologist. Maybe they can help you.”

Traditionally, the only treatment for these failed surgery patients was painkilling, narcotic drugs. But, the quality of their lives was permanently impaired, and sometimes ruined. The opioid epidemic in this country has progressively worsened. Fifty thousand American citizens die of narcotic overdoses every year.

In his first few years of private practice, Dr. Kassicieh helped hundreds of failed-surgery patients manage their pain without narcotics. After examining one particularly sad case, he remembers thinking, “There has got to be a better way to heal soft-tissue injuries than cutting people open.”

He decided to search for a better way to heal injured joints, backs, necks, and feet, without surgery.

Soon after that decision, a colleague mentioned that he was going to a conference to give a talk on natural healing with Enriched Platelet Therapy (EPT).

He said, “It works great for healing damaged joints and other soft tissue. I use EPT because I don’t want my patients to have surgery.”

He explained that doctors had been using concentrated platelets to heal patients in Europe and Canada for decades. But it was almost unknown in America. He said that researchers had discovered platelets’ key role in the natural healing and repair process more than 30 years ago.

Subsequent experiments and research has proved that concentrated platelet injections could heal many common soft-tissue injuries including, torn meniscus, osteoarthritis, torn rotator cuffs, plantar fasciitis, and even failed back, foot, and joint surgeries.

Dr. Kassicieh told his colleague, “I see hundreds of patients suffering from those conditions every year. They’re usually permanently on pain meds. Other doctors have mostly given up on them.”

That’s when he had a flash of insight.

The Healing Power of Platelets

He realized that,

“Enriched-Platelet Therapy using PRP could be the Holy Grail of natural healing that I’d been searching for.”

When Dr. Kassicieh conducted his own research on the healing power of platelets, he was amazed at the results of the studies. He knew from running clinical trials that the benefits of most new medicines are usually modest. But the studies on enriched-platelet therapy often showed dramatic improvements and almost miraculous healings.

As soon as he was convinced of the effectiveness and low risk of platelet-rich plasma, he ordered a high quality, specialized PRP centrifuge, and started treating patients the following week.

Dr. Kassicieh learned all he could about PRP and Enriched Platelet Therapy from his colleague. But his long career had almost perfectly prepared him for this breakthrough new treatment. His early successes healing injured joints and tissues convinced him of the power of concentrated platelets to heal certain injuries and conditions.

Then, one patient proved that Enriched Platelet Therapy could heal patients when other doctors had given up on them.

A Miraculous Recovery

Lori’s back had been severely injured in a hit and run accident in 2006. To support her back and protect a badly torn disk, her orthopedic surgeon installed a titanium cage around her spine.

Unfortunately, the cage was too big for her frame and it pulled her spine backwards, pressing thousands of nerves in her lower back. It was so painful that she was confined to a hospital bed for three years, one of them encased in a full body cast.

Lori only left home to visit her pain-management doctor and then went straight back to bed. She tried everything to stop the pain; acupuncture, physical therapy, pain medication. But nothing could stop or even reduce her pain.

Then, her husband, learned that Dr. Kassicieh offered EPT for failed back surgery. He brought Lori into the office for a consultation in a wheelchair.

After a thorough examination, MRI review, and medical history, Dr. Kassicieh was convinced that Lori’s pain could be dramatically reduced with one or more injections of platelet-rich plasma. But the success of the treatment exceeded even his high expectations.

Lori says, “The result of Dr. Kassicieh’s first treatment was nothing short of a miracle. Within five days, I couldn’t feel any pain around the titanium cage. It also healed all the nerve damage from my hip areas.”

A couple of months later, Dr. Kassicieh performed a second EPT treatment on Lori’s upper back. Within a few weeks, she was up and walking around and eventually became well enough to go back to work.

Today, almost, nine years later, she is living an active, healthy lifestyle. Occasionally she takes small doses of pain medicine when she has a flare-up.

She shared her transformation,

Dr. Kassicieh gave me my back my life, a wonderful life that I had before a horrific hit and run accident.”

The doctor was also a little surprised by Lori’s miraculous recovery. But, over the past eight years, he has seen many patients heal severe, soft tissue pain of their joints, backs, knees, necks, and feet—without surgery or drugs.

He has helped even the most difficult patients achieve almost a full recovery.

The Best Way to Heal

Dr. Kassicieh says, “The best way to stop pain is to heal the damaged tissues that are causing it. You can’t heal someone by masking the symptoms with drugs or cortisone.”

So, because of his deep commitment to helping patients regain their quality of life, Dr. Kassicieh has found a powerful, natural, and almost riskless treatment for painful conditions. Many of his patients are considered lost causes by other doctors.

After experiencing many “miracle” cures like Harold’s and Lori’s, he says, “We have a 90% rate of success using Enriched Platelet Therapy to heal a broad range of soft tissue injuries and conditions of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and fascia.”

He concluded with,

“Harnessing the body’s natural repair process to heal injuries without surgery or drugs is the future of medicine.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.

#             #             #

Steve Moeller is an author, management consultant, and expert on the science of human flourishing. He helps entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals build profitable, low-stress businesses that support a high quality of life.

 Steve has written two books and hundreds of articles. His latest book, Endorphinomics: The Science of Human Flourishing, has earned rave reviews and five stars on


Contact Dr. Daniel Kassicieh, D.O., FAAN

Sarasota Neurology Group

3501 Cattlemen Rd., Ste. B Sarasota, FL 34232


Financial Strategist Helps Doctors Optimize their Succession and Retirement Plans


I love blogging about professionals who are applying the strategies in my latest book, Endorphinomics: The Science of Human Flourishing. In this post, we look at how one financial professional, Rick Helbing, applies research from positive psychology to help his clients plan for a healthier, wealthier, and happier future. — Steve

 Dr. Julie Beltran*, a board-certified dermatologist, had been a solo practitioner for over 25 years. During her career, Dr. Beltran watched as Medicare, and medical insurance industries went through constant, disruptive changes. Mounting administrative, management, and regulatory requirements were increasing her stress and eating into her valuable time with patients. She liked practicing medicine, but her business was getting more complicated and less fulfilling every day. Her positivity ratio was heading on a downward spiral.

At the end of one particularly frustrating day, a voice in her head said, “I didn’t become a doctor to do administrative work.”

When Dr. Beltran celebrated her 60th birthday with her husband, she shared her dream of only seeing patients and reducing the stressors in her life. They discussed the challenges of running a solo practice and the likely future of the industry.

She was thinking about bringing in a younger dermatologist who would become a partner and eventually buy out the practice. She was also considering hiring a Medical or Physician’s Assistant to do some of the simple medical procedures and time-consuming administrative tasks.

Dr. Beltran knew other doctors who had joined a larger medical group, but valued her autonomy and wanted to keep her staff and brand. So, they decided she would continue running her practice but stay open to new possibilities.

An Unexpected Offer

Then, one day over lunch, a colleague introduced her to the president of a unique and innovative group that purchases dermatology practices. Her colleague, who sold her practice to this group, asked if she had ever considered selling her practice. She answered, “I haven’t thought much about it, but I’m interested in how it worked for you.”

He smiled and said, “My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”

The president of the group explained that all the administration, HR, billing, purchasing, and book keeping is done from a centralized office, but the doctors keep their current office, staff, and brand. You run the medical side and his team runs the business side, which includes helping their doctors recruit and train team members and junior partners.

“Your salary drops a bit, but you’re monetizing your practice, improving your quality of life, and planning for your eventual retirement. Most importantly, you practice medicine 40 hours a week and can pursue the areas of your specialty that interest you most,” he concluded.

Then he said, “We’re looking for a few more doctors for our group. If you’d like to explore the opportunity, please give me a call.” The structure he proposed captured Dr. Beltran’s attention.

That evening, she discussed the offer with her husband. They realized that selling her practice and joining a group of dermatologists would be one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Weighing the financial and personal costs against the potential benefits was virtually impossible. Additionally, she wasn’t convinced she’d like giving up control of her business and staff.

So, their lack of clarity prompted them to put the offer on hold and focus on improving the practice.

Over the next few months, Dr. Beltran met with two other groups that offered to buy her practice. Each of the three groups offered completely different business models and compensation packages. There were lots of details to consider. The more people she spoke with, the more confused she got.

Defining the Issues

When she mentioned her challenges to her CPA, he asked her if her investment advisor could run some projections to determine which option would be most profitable. She answered, “It’s not just a financial decision; it’s also about enjoying my work for the next 10 years or so. He’s just a numbers guy. So, I don’t think he can help me.”

Her accountant answered, “If you want help evaluating different business and personal opportunities, you may want to meet with Rick Helbing, a local practice management consultant and financial advisor.”

So, Dr. Beltran and her husband met with Rick to see if he could help them sort through their various opportunities. He explained that he helped doctors optimize their practices, set up and manage their retirement plans, and evaluate the best options for selling their practices. They discovered that he took a comprehensive approach that integrated both financial and personal well-being. Rick emphasized the importance of understanding each client’s values, goals, personality traits, concerns, and priorities – before he made any recommendations.

As they talked, Rick helped them identify six key questions they needed to answer before they could determine their best path forward:

  1. Should she upgrade her solo practice or sell it to a larger medical group?
  2. How could they get the maximum, after-tax value for her practice?
  3. What were her other options for optimizing her income, net worth, and quality of life before she retires in ten years?
  4. If they sold the practice, could she afford to take a lower salary for 2 or 3 years until she increased her revenue and recruited a physician’s assistant and another physician?
  5. How long would they both have to work to make sure they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement?
  6. What would have to happen, both personally and professionally for them to feel that they had made the right decisions?

These were complex, interrelated questions that combined objective, retirement and succession planning issues with personal, quality of life factors. They required clarifying goals, priorities and concerns and then trying to understand the likely future financial and personal consequences of different options.

Rick explained that. “My goal is help you simplify complex financial and personal decisions so you have the confidence to move forward.” He explained that his five-step Life and Practice Optimization process would ensure they made their decisions only after establishing clear goals and a careful analysis of their options. He said, “We want to take our time to avoid mistakes and to make sure the changes you make will upgrade both your financial and personal well-being.”

They decided to hire Rick to help them evaluate their options and determine their best path forward.

Selecting the Best Options

Rick started by guiding them through a “guided discovery” interview to clarify their vision, goals, priorities, and concerns. He also had them complete a Behavioral DNA profile. That profile helps him understand his clients’ behavioral style which helps him guide their decision-making process.

In addition to reviewing their current financial situation, future income needs, and personal payoffs from work, Rick thoroughly evaluated the current practice and each of the three buyout offers. He read all the contracts, conducted in depth due diligence on each of them, and checked the companies’ reputations with doctors who worked with them. He also found out what would happen to the practice if the acquiring company went out of business.

Rick then worked closely with the Beltran’s CPA to clarify tax consequences of each purchase offer. By discussing the options, evaluating various future financial scenarios, and clarifying their priorities, they all agreed on the best plan; sell the practice to the company that made the first offer. It fit all their “personal and financial success criteria” and had a strong endorsement from a good friend who worked there.

A Better Life and Brighter Future

Dr. Beltran was delighted with her new role as an employee instead of a solo practitioner. She maintained her office and business name, but no longer had to deal with HR, administrative or operational activities. She’s now spending most of her time seeing patients. When a few members of her staff resigned, the medical group’s HR people quickly replaced them. Then, they trained and managed the new staff members.

To ease the transition to the lower salary for the first few years, the Beltran’s worked with Rick to minimize expenses that weren’t adding to their quality of life. Then, she and Rick put together a plan to help her earn bonuses by recruiting a Physician’s Assistant and a junior partner.

After a year in her new role, Dr. Beltran has fallen in love with her profession again. She’s reconnected with her passion of dermatology. Most of the stress of running the business is behind her. If she needs help, she has a team of professionals at the home office to help her. She is encouraged to take more vacation time and the company pays for her to attend medical conferences.

Dr. Beltran successfully repositioned her assets, lowered her stress and arranged for a painless succession of her practice, all while preparing for a comfortable retirement.

Although her income is a bit less, her quality of life has improved tremendously, she looks forward to going to work every day, and she’s excited about the future. With Rick’s caring and guidance, Dr. Beltran made the critical transition from the stress zone to the Endorphin Zone!

#             #             #

*Not her real name.

Steve Moeller is an author, management consultant, and expert on the science of human flourishing. He helps entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals build profitable, low-stress businesses that support a high quality of life. He has written two books and hundreds of articles. His latest book, Endorphinomics: The Science of Human Flourishing, has earned rave reviews and five stars on

Steve Moeller