The shoulders have the most complex joints in your body. Achieving the strength and flexibility they give to your arms comes at a cost.
A collection of soft tissue called the rotator cuff gives the shoulders stability, which the shallow ball-and-socket joints wouldn’t have otherwise. Injuries to components of the cuff can create pain while limiting mobility, making it hard to carry out the tasks that normally get you through the day.
As shoulder pain experts, Dr. James Nassiri and the team at Westside Pain Specialists can help you get through the recovery phase after a shoulder injury.
We often recommend platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy as part of a shoulder treatment plan. It’s easy to combine with virtually any other shoulder procedure or routine, it’s drug-free, and it enhances your body’s own ability to carry out tissue repairs.
What is PRP?
You likely recognize platelets as the blood component responsible for forming clots when you have a cut or scrape. That’s a key part of their function, but they also deliver a healing boost to injuries that don’t feature bleeding.
Platelets also carry growth factor hormones, chemical messengers that guide parts of the healing process. Platelets boost the activity of stem cells responding to your body’s automatic repair responses, though it’s not fully understood how they interact.
The principle behind PRP therapy is that injections of concentrated platelets permit boosted speed for natural healing. Normally, healing at the site of an injury progresses only as quickly as your bloodstream delivers the raw materials for repair. PRP is a way to boost the concentration of growth hormones where your body needs them.
The beauty of PRP is its compatibility and safety. Rather than a pharmaceutical product that introduces foreign substances, your body produces the raw materials itself. Using a blood sample about the same size as what you might give for a blood test, we isolate platelets and combine them with a small amount of plasma from your sample. That’s it.
During the injection portion of a PRP treatment, you’re receiving your own tissue, the same platelets that would assist healing, had they arrived at your shoulder through your regular blood flow. The risk of PRP therapy is very low, no different than the risk of infection from a blood sample or allergy shot.
Can PRP therapy help heal my shoulder injury?
Chances are that PRP treatments can help as your body seeks to repair injured components like the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the rotator cuff, site of the most common shoulder injuries.
Small tears in the rotator cuff aren’t serious enough to warrant surgical repair, but they can be slow to heal due to the demands made on the arm and shoulder and the problems caused by full immobilization of the shoulder.
PRP injections reduce pain caused by rotator cuff tears and other soft tissue damage. Degenerative conditions like arthritis can also benefit from PRP therapy, reducing your dependence on anti-inflammatory or pain relief medications.
You can receive PRP alongside pharmaceutical treatment, making it possible to transition away from drugs and their side effects.
Find out more about PRP and your shoulder condition with a visit to Westside Pain Specialists in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga. Call the nearest office directly to schedule your consultation now.