The shoulder is comprised of more than one joint and has the greatest multidirectional range of motion of any other joint in the body making it particularly prone to injury and degeneration. The glenohumeral (GH) joint is where the head of the humerus (arm bone) connects to the glenoid fossa of the scapula (shoulder blade). The labrum is a lip of cartilage attached to the rim of the glenoid fossa to deepen it and provide greater surface area to better accommodate the humeral head. The acromio-clavicular (AC) joint is where the acromion of the shoulder blade connects to the clavicle (collar bone). The rotator cuff is actually made up of four muscles and their tendons which hold the humeral head in it’s glenoid “socket” to allow for proper movement, restrict range of motion, and prevent injury. The subacromial bursa lies over the rotator cuff to facilitate sliding of the tendons under the acromion and can become inflamed and painful as well when there is subacromial imoingement of the cuff. The biceps tendon has two heads that attach to the shoulder joint and one that attached to the forearm, thus actually spanning two joints. Finally, the shoulder has glenohumeral ligaments designed to hold it together in proper position. All of these structures can degenerate and become injured leading to pain and limited activity.
Many people think that once they have a significant shoulder injury, the only options for them to find relief are opioids, steroid injections, and/or surgery. However, the doctors at Regenerative Medicine Specialists can offer you an alternative through PRP and/or stem cell treatments. These procedures can provider relief for any of the commonly found shoulder problems including gleohumeral and AC joint arthritis, labral problems, rotator cuff syndrome, bursitis, bicep tendinitis, and ligament sprains. If you have any of these problems, or any other condition that causes pain in your shoulder, please come visit us to see whether your body’s cells could help to repair the damage and regenerate the tissues. Let’s review a number of the conditions that we commonly treat.
Glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition caused by normal wear and tear and tends to increase with age or by being overweight. Traumatic injuries, such as those acquired due to accidents and work or sports injuries, can accelerate joint degeneration and lead to premature OA in younger people as well. AC Joint OA is often caused by falls when people brace themselves or simply by stretching their arm out. It is very common for athletes and those with particularly physically demanding jobs to experience injuries to this area. Besides sudden trauma, overusing the area can also lead to pain and osteoporosis. The pain can be very significant and can lead to a limitation in mobility. Sometimes, a noticeable lump appears, the collarbone may begin to protrude, and there may be bruising on the shoulder. Conventional treatments may fail and sometimes patients even consider complete joint replacement as their only option. This should be a last resort due to unsatisfactory and irreversible results, and prolonged post-op pain and rehabilitation time. With stem cell or PRP treatment, however, you can use the cells of your own body to repair the damaged tissue, thereby avoiding the potential risks of more invasive treatment options. PRP and stem cell treatments get to work at restoring the damaged cartilage, thereby addressing the actual problem, rather than focusing on the symptoms. It gets to work at restoring the actual tissue that has been damaged, rather than masking the problem like in alternative treatments.
When the labrum tears, the soft cartilage rim around the ball and socket of the shoulder bone becomes affected. There are various ligaments and tendons attached to the labrum, which all work together to keep the shoulder stable. Sometimes, the problem is caused by a piece of cartilage shifting out of position, slowly tearing the labrum. Other times, the injury is more sudden. In all cases, however, the entire shoulder becomes unstable. The condition is incredibly painful and will not go by unnoticed. Tears to this area can be caused by allot of things. Most cases of injury are sports-related since the labrum is attached to the biceps. Hence, if harsh motion and force is used with this area (which is often seen in weightlifters, golfers, and baseball pitchers), then labral tears can easily occur. Traumatic injury is also a common cause, in particular bad falls and hits. However, cartilage degradation can also be at the root of the problem, too. The condition can be recognized by the significant amount of pain that seems to be always present and can actually be felt through the shoulder catch. People also tend to lose some mobility and a lot of strength. Often, conservative care does not provide relief and surgery can then be recommended which has it’s own risks including prolonged post-op pain and rehabilitation period. It is for this reason that PRP and/or stem cell treatment may be more appropriate. It avoids the needs for more invasive and painful procedures that are not always successful.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is made up of tendons and muscles that attach the shoulder blade to the humeral head and allow movement while holding the joint together. Shoulder pain, weakness, and stiffness, as well as mobility reduction are often caused by rotator cuff tendinonis. Indeed, it is one of the most common shoulder injuries, with some 2 million people suffering from it every year. The cuff can become injured by sudden and excess forces or by wear and tear over time. It is particularly common in athletes whose sport involves a lot of overhead activity. Pain is experienced with everyday activities and is often worse at night which can interfere with sleep. Usually there is associated bursitis in the overlying bursa. If you believe you have rotator cuff tendinosis and/or bursitis, it is vital that you seek medical attention, as it could become chronic or more serious if left untreated and could predispose to partial or complete cuff tears. When rotator cuff tears occur, it is sometimes impossible for patients to lift their arms at the shoulder and daily function can be extremely limited. Tears can be sudden in onset or occur over time due to wear and tear. These injuries are incredibly difficult to treat and, in the past, surgery was often considered the only option. However, research has shown that those who have had their rotator cuff surgically repaired have a 20% to 90% chance of it reoccurring at a later stage. By opting for PRP and/or stem cell treatment, however, the rotator cuff itself is repaired using cells found in your own body. This allows the tissue to regenerate, thereby actually solving the problem, rather than focusing solely on the symptoms and treatments that simply mask the problem.
Biceps Tendon Injuries
The biceps is the main muscle which flexes the elbow. It attaches through its tendons to the shoulder and forearm bones. When the tendon attaching the biceps to the shoulder becomes inflamed and thickened, this is known as biceps tendinosis. It is usually caused by general wear and tear through aging or overusing the arm. It is particularly common in athletes who use their arms for their sport, as well as those with physically demanding jobs. The pain can be significant and gets worse whenever the arm is placed overhead. Patients will struggle to bend the elbow and rotate the forearm. You may also notice stiffness in your arm and find that your range of motion becomes more limited. Pain in the shoulder is also very common. If you believe you have biceps tendinosis, it is vital that you seek medical attention, as it could become chronic or more serious if left untreated. In fact, it can lead to sudden biceps tendon tears and loss in strength. Usually, this condition is caused through heavy resistance being applied to the area around the elbow. It is a condition caused by injury rather than illness, and generally happens when the elbow is forcefully straightened. It is particularly common in males over 30, although smoking is also a major risk factor. When it tears, people often hear a pop followed by severe pain and swelling. Treatment usually involves rest and rehabilitation, but surgery may be required as well. Unfortunately, this is not always successful and has it’s own risks including prolonged post-op pain and rehabilitation. A viable alternative that you can exploit in Ventura County and surrounding areas is PRP and/or stem cell treatment, which regenerate the affected tissue using your own body’s cells.
The glenohumeral joint is, interestingly, the most mobile and least stable of the entire body. The glenohumeral ligaments (superior, middle, and inferior) help hold the glenohumeral joint together and in proper position. The acromioclavicular, coracoacromial, and coracoclavicular ligaments support the AC joint. Injuries can occur in one or all of these. These ligaments can be over stretched, resulting in shoulder ligament sprains or tears. When this happens, it is often as a result of falling with the arm outstretched, a blow to the shoulder, or a twist to the arm. Another usual cause can be by taking part in athletics. Patients have reported noticing reduced mobility in the shoulder, painful arm movements, warmth, redness, bruising, and swelling. If conservative care doesn’t help or if the condition becomes chronic, surgery is often recommended. Most people would prefer to avoid this as it is not without risk and can fail to resolve the problem. Through stem PRP and/or stem cell treatment, however, the damaged tissue will actually be enabled to regenerate and repair itself by using the body’s own cells. This is done in-office, meaning no hospitalization is necessary either. This is generally the best option to truly repair the condition and hopefully avoid surgery.
Clearly, there is no absolutely need to choose opioids, steroids injections, or surgery when you have a shoulder condition. The Regenerative Medicine Specialists will be more than happy to discuss alternatives with you. We can explain to you how PRP and stem cells could help you regenerate your damaged tissue and live a life free of pain once again. Most pain treatments focus on managing the symptoms, but regenerative medicine is more about healing the damage and eliminating the symptoms forever. Another condition is known as Levator Scapulae pain – the levator scapulae is a skeletal muscle situated at the back and side of the neck.