Managing Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body. We use shoulders in nearly everything we do on a day to day basis. This puts the joint at risk of degeneration and injury. Historically, people have relied on traditional treatments for shoulder conditions, including medication, injected corticosteroids, and surgery to repair the joint. Today, we are on the brink of change, where nonsurgical regenerative medicine procedures are providing relief for people with chronic shoulder pain.

How does Regenerative Therapy for Shoulders Work?

Stem cells are unspecialized or undifferentiated cells, meaning that they don’t perform any specific task on their own. Instead, what these cells do is transform into the specialized cells that are needed to repair and regenerate the body. Stems cells are present all over the body. They are part of the wider repair system that supports the ongoing regeneration of damaged cells in organs and tissues.

Treatment is conducted in a sterile clinical environment using ultrasound guidance to deliver the body’s natural repairmen precisely where they need to be. The injection of the body’s own stem cells or umbilical cord-derived stem cells sends them looking for damaged tissue. The presence of stem cells mobilizes the body’s instinctive healing mechanisms to reduce inflammation and stimulate necessary repairs.

Can Regenerative Therapy treat Rotator Cuff Injuries?

As we get older, the body’s ability to infuse injuries with enough stem cells to fully repair the damage is significantly lower than it needs to be. Regenerative medicine helps to offset this problem by inserting powerful cellular material where repair is needed. Being that stem cells develop into other cells, including bone, cartilage, and fat, this treatment can be used for a variety of conditions. These include:

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Shoulder instability
  • Labral tear or degeneration
  • Bursitis
  • Shoulder arthritis
  • Tendonitis of the shoulder

What Are the Benefits of Regenerative Medicine for the Shoulder?

Inflammation is a natural byproduct of injury and it marks the onset of the body’s healing process. The sooner that inflammation can be resolved, the sooner the next phase of healing can begin. Regenerative injections can help move the inflammatory response along, providing benefits such as increased vascularization in the injured tissue, decreased pain, improved mobility, and accelerated natural tissue repair.

Am I a Candidate for Regenerative Therapy for the Shoulder?

Patients who are not getting the relief they seek from pain medication and other conservative therapies may be good candidates for regenerative injections. These injections are similar to the administration of corticosteroids, which are also prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain. Stem cells, however, may be harvested from the patient’s body. Treatment is performed using ultrasound-guidance to insert the injection into the joint where stem cells can have maximum effect.

Each patient at the Art of Pain Management can expect a thorough consultation and evaluation by an experienced specialist. This visit reviews the patient's medical history and, if the patient has them, recent x-rays or other imaging of the joint. Based on the data obtained, the provider can make a recommendation for treatment and discuss how regenerative therapy, with or without other modalities, may assist with joint repair.

Is There Any Recovery Time after Regenerative Therapy for the Shoulder?

The recovery time for regenerative injections into the shoulder is relatively short. Patients can expect mild to moderate soreness and discomfort as the stem cells provoke a strong inflammatory response in the joint. Because this is a vital aspect of healing, the anti-inflammatory medication should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks. To manage the discomfort that may occur during the first 2 to 3 days of recovery, patients may apply ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated a few times a day.

It is nearly impossible to keep from using the shoulder in daily movement. We want some degree of movement in the joint. However, strenuous activities that place stress on the shoulder joint should be avoided as much as possible for several weeks after treatment. A follow-up may take place 3 to 4 weeks after injections to assess healing. Additional injections may be scheduled depending on the degree of damage that needs to be repaired.

Are there any Risks to Regenerative Medicine for the Shoulder?

Shoulder injections are a common course of nonsurgical treatment in the management of shoulder injuries and pain. These injections have not been associated with severe adverse reactions. Most patients tolerate injections well and do not develop side effects more severe than temporary swelling and discomfort.

Schedule a Consultation

If you would like to know more about regenerative therapy for shoulder pain caused by arthritis, rotator cuff tear, or another problem, schedule a consultation with us. Call 215-375-7107 and arrange a visit to our Philadelphia or Upper Darby office.

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