A torn rotator cuff can affect your life dramatically. It may start as a nuisance, a minor discomfort you notice only with repetitive motion or after sleeping on your side, but it can worsen over time to become a wracking pain that makes work or other necessary activities so painful that they are almost impossible to perform. The likelihood of this injury increases with age, and it can limit the way you work and play.
You may not be ready to give up keyboarding, tennis, woodworking, or other activities that either pay the bills or make life fun and stimulating. And you shouldn’t have to. Physical or occupational therapy are the solutions for some, although they are often not successful in completely eliminating pain and physical limitations. Surgery is expensive and it requires a lengthy, arduous period of recovery, and results are not assured.
A new treatment for rotator cuff injuries is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. To understand it, let’s do a quick refresher of a middle school biology lesson.
Blood is composed of red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets. Red cells carry oxygen. White cells attack infections. Plasma is the liquid part of blood. Platelets are tiny cells that are critical for clotting when there’s an injury, and contain proteins that stimulate healing.
It is possible to increase the concentration of platelets in plasma and inject it directly into an injury area to facilitate the healing of tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, and muscles. When properly applied, these extra platelets help tissue regenerate more quickly and effectively than through invasive surgical procedures. The exact process by which this occurs is still being studied, but the prevailing theory holds that the higher concentration of growth factors in the platelet-rich plasma is responsible.
One of the advantages of this process is that it relies on the body’s own products and processes to heal itself. Since the patient’s own blood is used, the chance of an adverse reaction are slim to none.
For the patient, the procedure is simple. A small amount of blood is drawn. In our labs we spin the blood in a centrifuge to remove the red blood cells, thus increasing the concentration of platelets. The platelet-rich blood is then injected into the site of the injury as a catalyst for healing.
PRP Therapy has numerous applications, but it has been extremely well-received for treatment of torn rotator cuffs. We can’t use it to transform you into a superhero just yet, but you may experience an overall feeling of wellness and vitality.
PRP Therapy is popular in the world of professional sports, where millions of dollars in revenues can hang on the health of a player’s shoulder. But you don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap its benefits. If you want relief from the chronic pain of a torn rotator cuff and aren’t eager to go under the knife, you owe it to yourself to investigate PRP Therapy further.
In the San Francisco Bay area, Evolved Medical offers Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy and other services to relieve joint pain and enhance sports performance. Contact us.