Seth Joyner had a successful football career as an NFL linebacker, including a Super Bowl win while playing for the Denver Broncos, before retiring in 1999. But his passion for football, which sparked as a young boy, was what kept him going even after the numerous injuries he sustained during the 13 years he played in the NFL.

Joyner recently received placental tissue matrix therapy at Arrowhead Health Centers which significantly reduced pain in his knees and lower back, allowing him to get back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Lifetime of Pain

As a linebacker, Joyner played one of the most grueling defensive positions in football, and would repeatedly get hit and tackled in just a single game.

“I love the game but it really takes a toll on your body,” he said. “It’s taxing.”

Joyner underwent six surgeries during his playing career and experienced sciatic issues that led to chronic pain in his lower back.

In 1997, he had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. It took more than a year for him to fully recover.

Seeking Alternative Treatment

This summer, Joyner met with his doctor to discuss options for alleviating pain in his lower back and knees. While trying to avoid another surgery, he learned about placental tissue matrix therapy at Arrowhead Health Centers, and was intrigued.

“I really did not want to go under the knife again if I didn’t have to,” he said. “I was optimistic that the treatment would work.”

Placental tissue matrix therapy, is an innovative treatment being offered at Arrowhead Health Centers. The treatment is helping patients who suffer from chronic pain in their shoulder, hand, foot, knee, ankle, wrist and hip because of fractures or injuries, along with medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Identifying Candidates

In September, Joyner received injections in his lower back and knees.

“The best thing about this therapy is that a large majority of patients are good candidates,” said Deepesh Shah, MD, a double board certified interventional pain specialist and anesthesiologist at Arrowhead Health Centers. “Many target sites are options and patients can immediately begin to feel relief.”

During the quick and painless procedure, physicians inject donor placental tissue from healthy mothers that would normally be discarded after birth, containing proteins, growth factors and natural cells, into degenerative areas of the body which will then regenerate new, healthy tissue.

Physicians at Arrowhead Health Centers evaluate and determine the right candidates for the non-invasive treatment by discussing symptoms with patients and reviewing imaging records in advance.

“This cutting-edge therapy is used for a wide range of indications for chronic joint, tissue and muscle pain,” Shah said. “Our hope is that over time, inflammation will decrease, pain will go away and function will be restored so patients can get back to doing the things they love.”

Relief from pain lasts approximately three to six months or longer.

“This therapy has the potential to delay or eliminate the need for surgery,” Shah added.

Improved Quality of Life

Just a few days after receiving the injections, Joyner followed the recommendations of his doctors at Arrowhead Health Centers and resumed his workout regimen at the gym.

“The pain in my lower back and knees is monumentally better,” Joyner said. “I am now working on the stabilizer muscles and building strength up again in these areas.”

Strength training can be beneficial for all types of injuries and helps with overall recovery.
“It aids in balance, proper joint mechanics and bone health,” said Janice Johnston, M.D., medical director and co-founder of Arrowhead Health Centers.

Today, Joyner is working as a sports commentator for the Philadelphia Eagles and is looking forward to running and playing golf.

“I’ve been able to heal my injuries without surgery,” he said. “That’s huge.”

Learn more about the placental tissue matrix therapy at Schedule an appointment today at

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