The shoulder joint (gleno-humeral joint complex) is one of the most dynamic joints in the human body which is responsible for both control and stabilization of the shoulder complex. Joints involved with complex movements typically present with injuries of overuse due to the flexibility of the joint.
Rotor Cuff Explained
The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles consisting of four different small muscles that aid in stabilizing and controlling the shoulder joint. These muscles require mobility and flexibility in order to support the shoulder joint. The muscles involved in the rotator cuff lay their tendon attachments into the humerous (arm bone.) Tendons are the anchor point in all of the muscles of our body, attaching the muscles to the to bone. Because muscles produce large repetitive forces the tendon is prone to injury. Tendons are largely avascular (lack blood supply) and because of this they heal very slowly. Tearing and inflammation of the tendon is known as tendinitis. Often, the tendons involved in the rotator cuff muscle group do not heal properly, leading to chronic pain and adhesions or scar tissue building up throughout the tendon. Rotator cuff pain is one injury that is very commonly seen in throwing sports, such a softball and baseball.
Acute rotator cuff tendinitis usually will heal nicely with conservative treatments, but in chronic cases of stubborn tendinitis interventional treatment may be needed. Diagnostic imaging, which includes x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI, are common tools used to diagnose musculoskeletal conditions. These diagnostic tests can also help rule out other more serious shoulder pathologies.
Most cases of shoulder and rotator cuff injury, respond very well to physical therapy, which typically consist of 4-6 weeks of active treatment. In prolonged cases patients may need additional care, such as injection based medicine, in order to supplement or add to the rehabilitation. If shoulder pain continues or has lasted longer than three months, this may be considered chronic tendinitis, which may require a more advanced treatment plan. In the past the only option at this point would be surgical intervention. Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine offers patients who have treated conservatively in the past with little relief non-surgical options, including Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, an exciting branch of Regenerative Medicine that uses the body’s own healing abilities as an alternative to surgery.
Regenerative medicine, which includes Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and Prolotherapy, allows individuals suffering with chronic shoulder pain an alternative to surgery and the ability to return to their healthy active lifestyle.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy has been used in the medical community for orthopedic injuries for over 10 years. Originally it was only available to professional athletes, in the past several years it has been made available to the public.
Soft tissue refers to muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and meniscus. When these structures are injured, healing is slow and often incomplete because these structures are relatively avascular, meaning they have a very poor blood supply. The body can’t heal what it can’t get blood to. PRP solves this problem by harnessing the healing powers of the patient’s own platelets, growth factor and cytokinesis to renew, replace and restore injured human soft tissue.
The process is quite simple: we draw blood from the patient and process it in a centrifuge, to separate the healing power of platelets from the blood plasma. Platelets are rich in growth factor and other bioactive proteins that are essential for healing. We then take the concentrated healing components of the patient’s own blood and re-introduce it or “graft” it into the specific injured site to regenerate tissue and speed the healing process. The grafting is done with precise accuracy under ultrasound imaging. Simply put, PRP laces blood where it cannot go naturally, to speed up healing.
The latest research demonstrates that PRP therapy can provide 500% more growth factor to chronic injury sites, which allows patients to heal better, faster! Most PRP treatments consist of 1-3 treatments over the course of 4-6 weeks and are combined with physical therapy. At Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, our team uses an interdisciplinary approach to get better, faster and without surgery.
If you, or someone you know, are suffering from chronic shoulder pain, or would like more information on non-surgical orthopedic options that are available, please feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators at 908-754-1960 or you may contact us online.
Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine – Getting Patients Better – Faster!
About the Authors:
Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.& R, is a graduate of University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from University of Medicine and Dentistry. He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.
Vincent J. Diana D.C., is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. He is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician with licenses held in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dr. Diana is a Chiropractic Physician at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.