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
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.
“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.
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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 Amazon.com.
Contact Dr. Daniel Kassicieh, D.O., FAAN
Sarasota Neurology Group
3501 Cattlemen Rd., Ste. B Sarasota, FL 34232