Individuals suffering from shoulder pain due to common injuries of the rotator cuff and shoulder labrum, as well as those facing shoulder replacement due to arthritis and other degenerative problems may be excellent candidates for regenerative therapy.
Shoulder pain is a very common complaint. Unfortunately, shoulder surgery can be difficult due to the complexity of the joint. Post-surgery recovery can be painful and typically requires a rehab period to restore strength and mobility to the shoulder.
Partial rotator cuff tears – A rotator cuff can tear as a result of degeneration of the tendon from excessive use or from an injury. If the tear does not go all the way through the tendon, it is considered a partial tear. This injury commonly affects people over the age of 40 and people who do repetitive overhead lifting. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear typically include pain or weakness when lifting and lowering the arm. If a tear is the result of a fall or other traumatic injury, there may be an extremely painful snapping sensation, followed immediately by weakness.
Non-surgical treatment of a rotator cuff tear may include physical therapy, along with anti-inflammatory or steroidal medication. If these aren’t successful in treating the injury, surgery may be recommended. Surgery most often involves re-attaching the tendon to the upper arm bone, although if the tear is partial, the surgeon will perform a debridement. For some patients, stem cell injections may be an option to treat pain and improve the body’s capacity to heal itself.
A torn labrum is an injury to the shoulder joint that causes pain, instability, and difficulty with activities. Shoulder falls and lifting heavy objects repeatedly are common causes of a labral tear. It’s also common for athletes, particularly baseball players, who throw a ball. Symptoms of a labral tear include weakness or instability in the shoulder, a general aching or soreness in the shoulder (with no particular location), a pain when moving the arm over the head (like throwing a ball), and a popping or clicking in the shoulder.
Anti-inflammatories and hot/cold compresses are typically suggested first to reduce swelling. After swelling is controlled, a sling may also be suggested to support the arm. Exercise and stretching will strengthen the muscle and the back of the shoulder. Arthroscopic surgery may then be recommended to allow the doctor to get a closer look at the injury and repair the damage. Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive regenerative treatment that is being used in some cases to treat labral tears with minimal downtime.
Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is a gradual wearing of the articular cartilage that leads to pain and stiffness. The risk of developing osteoarthritis in the shoulder increases with age, but can also occur after an injury, such as a fractured or dislocated shoulder. At times, it is simply due to hereditary traits. Aside from pain, a limited range of motion while trying to move the arm can also be a sign of osteoarthritis, accompanied by a clicking/creaking noise.
Treating mild to moderate osteoarthritis typically involves resting the shoulder joint, applying hot/cold compresses to the affected area, participating in physical therapy, and taking anti-inflammatory medication. If symptoms persist after conventional treatment is administered, surgery may be recommended. Common surgeries to treat shoulder arthritis include shoulder joint replacement, removal of the end of the collarbone, and replacement of the head of the upper arm bone. In this situation, your physician may consider stem cell therapy as a less-traumatic treatment option.
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