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Treatment for shoulder pain With PRP Therapy

treatment for shoulder pain

shoulder pain treatment

For more than a decade now, platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been used for treating the many problems which can afflict the shoulder — torn and injured ligaments and tendons, tendonitis at the rotator cuff, impingements, and more.

Among the conditions which it may help is shoulder impingement — a painful condition which produces shoulder pain as a result of bursitis or tendonitis in the acromiclavicular joint, or due to rotator cuff tendonitis.

This condition is frequently over-diagnosed, and many doctors are very fast to recommend surgery, yet surgery often leaves patients with residual pain even after the procedure.

PRP therapy therefore represents a welcome alternative for many patients.

What Is A Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingements begin with bursitis or tendonitis in the acromioclavicular joint, or with a tendonitis in the rotator cuff.

The acromioclavicular joint is the joint which allows the clavicle to articulate with the frontal part of the scapula.

In theory, excessive impingement which is associated with the rotator cuff tendons rubbing over the scapula and under the clavicle results in shoulder pain. Nevertheless, many doctors are too quick to diagnose this as the cause of a particular patient’s pain — and too quick to offer surgery as the best method of treatment for shoulder pain in these patients.

As with back pain, most of these cases can be treated successfully with conservative therapy. On the other hand, an MRI scan can help assess the amount of rotator cuff or shoulder joint tissue injury.

A careful approach to recommending surgery is worthwhile as many patients who have arthroscopic surgery for this condition end up still suffering from pain even after the procedure. They also must undergo weeks or months worth of rehabilitative therapy.

How Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy May Be An Effective Treatment For Shoulder Pain

Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, may offer patients a non-surgical treatment for rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain. PRP therapy works by enhancing the body’s natural process of healing, rather than cutting away tissue or injecting steroids.

The therapy begins when the patient’s blood is drawn and then processed using a sterile technique. The PRP is isolated and then drawn off, producing a platelet concentration which may be as much as 700% of the baseline.

These platelets contain growth factors, cytokines, and proteins which, once injected, will trigger a cascade of tissue regeneration and healing.

Then, the PRP is injected into the region of “impingement” or damaged tissue. White blood cells (macrophages) come into the region where the PRP was injected to clean away the damaged tissue.

A protein matrix forms to which the new tissue attaches. Fibroblasts come in to form new and strong collagen fibers, rebuilding the damaged tendons, ligaments, or cartilage. Stem cells are also recruited into the region — they differentiate into whichever tissue cells are needed to produce healing.

This whole process happens over 6-8 weeks.

PRP Advantages

Compared with surgery, PRP therapy takes just an hour or so and can be done in the office, without a hospital stay. Patients do not need rehab and don’t have any “down time.”

For many patients with shoulder pain, PRP may be able to help them avoid the many disadvantages of invasive therapies.

How Stem Cell Therapy Eases Pain & Helps Avoid Surgery

stem cell injections

stem cell therapy

Arlene Abrams of Cleveland, Ohio is a patient who has dealt with shoulder pain for over a decade. Despite undergoing surgery for a torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder, after a few years she started experiencing significant pain as well as a limited range of motion again. MRI scans of her shoulders showed major tearing, damage, and retraction — the only surgical option from there was total shoulder replacement.

However, Arlene preferred to avoid undergoing another round of surgery to her shoulder if at all possible. Thanks to stem cell therapy, she has so far been able to stay off the operating table.

Instead of going through surgery, Arlene decided to try regenerative medicine, as practiced by Regenerative Medicine Specialists. This cutting-edge type of treatment allows the body to regenerate injured tissues by regenerating them from the patient’s own stem cells. The therapy stimulates previously damaged tissues to the point that they regain their structure and begin to recover. With stem cell therapy, Arlene’s pain went down while her range of motion went up.

Within a few weeks after the procedure — which was performed at the Cleveland Shoulder Institute — Arlene noticed that it no longer stressed her shoulders to hold her “wiggly” 4-month-old granddaughter. “I no longer have pain” when she picks up laundry soap or a gallon of milk, she said. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Regenerative techniques use adult stem cells taken from the patient, sometimes combined with blood platelets, in order to speed up healing and repair in bone, joint, muscle, soft tissue, as well as nerve injuries.

All of us carry around stem cells which act as the body’s “repairmen.” Healthy regenerative stem cells exist in fat, the bone marrow, as well as some forms of connective tissue. Regenerative treatments take these healthy cells from parts of the body that are rich in them, then inject the cells into injured parts of the body which need them.

Because the cells have been taken from the patient’s own tissue, there’s no risk of rejection when they’re injected into the injured area. Often using ultrasonic guidance to ensure precise placement, the doctor injects the extracted cells directly into the injured ligament, tendon, muscle, nerve, joint, or bone. There is no hospital stay required.

Arelene had her stem cell treatments “right there in the doctor’s office,” she said. She first started noticing improvements in both her limited range of motion and chronic pain “about two weeks” following the procedure, and her condition has “continued to significantly improve” since then.

Regenerative medicine may represent a viable alternative for many patients who are looking to avoid surgery or ongoing steroid treatments in ever larger numbers. It can help with many conditions ranging from osteoarthritis to rotator cuff injuries, meniscus tears, tennis elbow, muscle strains, tendonitis and tendinosis, plantar fasciitis, nonunion fractures, compression nerve injuries, and many more.

Regenerative Medicine Specialists are skilled in using stem cell therapy not just on its own but also in combination with other regenerative techniques for maximum effectiveness. Depending on the condition our doctors may recommend a particular type of therapy such as lipoaspirate or stromal vascular fraction, or with the use of platelet rich plasma, cytokine, or growth factor therapy.

How The Levator Scapulae Cause Neck Pain

levator scapulae treatmentThere are a few major muscles at the back of the neck which are responsible for holding up your neck and head. They run from the top of the neck area (or the base of the skull) down towards the upper torso and the scapulae. The levator scapulae are two muscles located on either side of the neck, and they’re frequently a cause of neck pain.

Since the levator scapulae are used to shrug the shoulders and make many other movements, if levator scapulae pain treatment is not applied then the consequence is usually many sleepless nights — and irritable days. In fact, untreated levator scapulae have been associated with depression and anxiety.

What can trigger levator scapulae neck pain?

Levator scapulae pain may be caused by many different factors. Whiplash in an automobile accident is a common cause, as is standing, sitting, or sleeping with poor posture. In some cases, emotional and mental stress can even cause levator scapulae pain.

The pain begins as a mild soreness and stiffness in the neck area. As the muscle starts to become more injured, burning or an increased dull ache may develop. Eventually, the patient develops a deep and throbbing ache — generally down the inside area of the shoulder blade, across the shoulders, or towards the head. Resting, icing, as well as stretching all improve the referred pain, and many patients try “over the counter” pain medications or NSAID‘s to handle the pain.

In many cases, levator scapulae pain is also associated with trapezius pains and tension headaches. This is because activities and postures that strain the trapezius often also produce injuries in the levator scapulae. If activities like working on the computer, carrying children, or driving aggravate the pain, the trapezius and levator scapulae may be in trouble.

Another warning sign for levator scapulae problems is posture and movement. Patients with levator scapulae trouble tend to move awkwardly, attempting to hold their head in position atop their body and making only deliberate, slow movements. Often, these patients will turn the whole body to look at a person, and they tend to move their eyes in an unnatural manner so they do not need to turn the head.

Where most people tend to project their heads outward in front of the body while they walk, patients with levator pain will hold their heads directly over their shoulders. Finally, they tend to complain of stiff necks and they might even suffer from anxiety — having a shortness of breath that resembles a panic attack, or a feeling that they “bear the world” atop their shoulders.

How we treat levator scapulae pain

Standard levator scapulae pain treatments range from rest, ice, and stretches to massage, yoga, posture corrections, and exercise. Some doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medications. Chiropractic care may also be an option for some patients.

The Regenerative Medicine Specialists find that PRP or stem cell treatments represent a remarkably powerful way to treat levator scapulae pain. In our experience it often permanently solves the problem without any downtime from valued daily activities. The reason is that these regenerative treatments allow the body to regenerate itself by using cells specially extracted from the patient’s body. Injected back into the body at the site of the damage, these cells promote tissue regeneration and proper healing.

How We Treat Rotator Cuff and Biceps Tendon Injuries

best shoulder pain treatmentThe shoulder has a larger range of motion than any other joint found in the body, thus it’s particularly at risk of degeneration and injury. The rotator cuff and biceps tendon represent common problem areas.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons which often become injured in athletes who play sports that involve a great deal of overhead activity. The biceps tendon, on the other hand, is the primary muscle used for flexing the elbow and usually becomes injured through overuse or general wear and tear.

In either case, surgery has often been considered necessary. The rotator cuff is particularly difficult to heal. Fortunately, regenerative medicine can be one of the best shoulder pain treatments in these cases — a stem cell or PRP treatment may allow the rotator cuff or biceps tendon to repair themselves using cells taken from your body.

Injuries to the Rotator Cuff 

The rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons which serve to attach the shoulder blade and humeral head, allowing the arm to move while keeping the joint held together. Rotator cuff tendonitis often produces weakness, stiffness, and shoulder pain, as well as reducing the range of motion. A direct injury may be the result of sudden force or wear and tear seen over time — rotator cuff injuries are particularly common for athletes who have a lot of overhead activity.

Rotator cuff injuries are among the most common injuries to the shoulder. Over 2 million people suffer a rotator cuff injury every year. Having a rotator cuff injury means experiencing pain as you go about every day activities; the pain often gets worse at night, interfering with sleep.

In the event you think you might suffer from a rotator cuff problem, seek medical attention immediately. The problem could become chronic or even progress to a more serious condition if it is not treated, predisposing you to a partial or a complete cuff tear. (In the event of a tear, patients often find it impossible to lift their arms from the shoulder, making daily functioning very limited.)

Rotator cuff injuries are considered very difficult to treat. Surgery has often been considered the only practical option. Even then, patients who undergo surgery have as much as a 90% chance their injury will recur later.

PRP or stem cell treatment offers an effective alternative for many patients. By repairing the rotator cuff using cells from your body, the tissues themselves regenerate — the treatment solves the problem, rather than merely patching over the symptoms.

Injuries to the Biceps Tendon

The main muscle used to flex the elbow is called the biceps, and it attaches to the forearm and shoulder via tendons. When the tendon which connects the biceps and the shoulder thickens or becomes inflamed, the condition is called tendonitis — it’s primarily caused either by wear and tear (as a result of normal aging) or by overusing your arm (as in certain athletes or people with physically demanding work).

Most treatments for biceps tendonitis or biceps tendon injuries focus on rest and rehabilitation. Sometimes the injury is severe enough to require surgery, but this carries risks. In many cases regenerative medicine treatments like PRP or stem cells represent a viable alternative, with no surgery or post-operative pain.

Treating Shoulder Injuries with Regenerative Medicine Specialists

regenerative medical specialists

Regenerative Medicine Specialists

Many people believe that the only options for treating significant shoulder injuries are steroid injections, opioids, or surgery. However, our doctors can offer you an alternative — regenerative medicine solutions like PRP or stem cell treatments can give relief for many common shoulder problems. Conditions like AC joint or glenohumeral arthritis, rotator cuff syndrome, bursitis, bicep tendinitis, labral problems, or ligament sprains all often respond to regenerative techniques. If you suffer from these problems, or other issues that produce pain in your shoulders, pay us a visit to learn whether your body’s own cells might help regenerate your tissues and repair the damage. We are regenerative medicine specialists and can help with such conditions.

Here are a few conditions we frequently treat.

Glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition which results from normal wear and tear. It tends to increase as you age or as a result of being overweight. Traumatic injuries — injuries resulting from work or sports, or accidents — may accelerate the degeneration and result in premature OA for younger people also.

AC joint osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is frequently the result of falls (when someone braces themselves) or even simply stretching out the arm. Athletes and people who have physically demanding jobs often experience injuries in this area. Both trauma and overuse of the area may set off pain or osteoporosis.

The pain resulting from shoulder arthritis can be very significant, it often leads to limitations in mobility. A noticeable lump may appear, the collarbone may start protruding, or the shoulder may see bruising.

Conventional treatments for shoulder-area arthritis may fail, leading some patients to believe complete joint replacement is their only option. However this should be considered a last resort – it can lead to irreversible and unsatisfactory results, along with prolonged rehabilitation time and post-operative pain.

PRP or stem cell treatment, however, allows you to use your body’s own cells to repair damaged tissue. This avoids the risks incurred by more invasive treatments. Instead, stem cell or PRP treatments work to restore damaged cartilage and address the underlying problem — they don’t focus on the just the symptoms.

Labral Tears
A torn labrum affects the soft rim of cartilage around the shoulder bone’s ball and socket joint. A number of tendons and ligaments are attached to the labrum, all working together to help stabilize the shoulder. Sometimes the problem is the result of a piece of cartilage which shifts out of position and slowly tears the labrum. In other cases, the injury may be more sudden.

In all cases of a torn labrum, however, the shoulder becomes unstable. It is a tremendously painful condition and does not go unnoticed.

What causes a labral tear? Most cases involve a sports-related injury, as the labrum is connected to the biceps. Harsh motions and strong force in this area (as is seen with golfers, weightlifters, and baseball pitchers) can create labral tears.

Often, conservative care techniques do not give relief for labral tears, leading doctors to recommend surgery. Unfortunately surgery carries with it a rehabilitation period and prolonged post-operative pain. As a result stem cell treatment and/or PRP can be more appropriate, avoiding invasive, painful procedures which do not always succeed.