Did you know that rotator cuff surgeries are the second most common orthopedic procedure performed? In fact, almost half a million surgeries are performed for full and partial rotator cuff tears each year.
Dealing with shoulder pain is exhausting and can lead to difficulties at work and with hobbies you enjoy. Additionally, shoulder pain can directly lead to increased neck pain.
For some, suffering through the pain is better than following up with their orthopedic surgeon. What are the other options out there?
What Is Your Rotator Cuff?
Are you a long-time sufferer of shoulder pain? Many adults echo those same sentiments. Your rotator cuff is essentially comprised of four different tendons.
A tendon helps connect muscle to bone – in this case, the rotator cuff helps to stabilize and support your shoulder.
The tendon that tends to take the brunt of all the impact is the one that sits on top of the shoulder – the supraspinatus. However, any tendon can be impacted.
The rotator cuff helps you rotate your shoulder and assists with overhead activity. You can see how these small muscle groups and tendons are at risk of damage as you get older.
Cause of Injury
Many things can cause damage to your rotator cuff. It’s best to break it up into acute and degenerative injuries.
Acute injuries are what you think of when someone falls and there’s immediate pain. You can also experience this type of injury when lifting something heavy.
Degenerative injuries are much more common. They occur from repetitive, long-term use of overhead activities or heavy lifting. You can also see this in a lot of athletes, such as baseball pitchers.
As we age, blood supply decreases to the area and limits its ability to heal; you can also have a higher chance of bone spurs and arthritis develop in the region.
Partial Rotator Cuff Tears
The signs of a rotator cuff tear are a pain in the region and difficulty with everyday activities. You may notice an achy feeling when trying to lay on that side at night.
It is more common to see a tear in the dominant arm since you use it more frequently. Increased weakness is a big indicator that something is not quite right.
Partial rotator cuff treatment includes both surgical and non-surgical options in the hopes of preventing further damage such as a full tear. Recently, other techniques such as physical therapy and stem cell therapy are becoming more popular trends.
Stem Cell Therapy
What exactly is stem cell therapy? It has been a debated topic over recent years for a variety of medical diagnoses.
To put it simply – these specialized cells can morph into whatever your body needs. They also do a great job at reproducing quickly to replace damaged cells. Studies are still conducted on how these cells speed up the healing process and regenerate tissue.
Injecting stem cells is a relatively safe partial rotator cuff tear treatment because it uses your body’s cells.
The other plus side to stem cell therapy is that it requires minimal time and you don’t need to be put under anesthesia. Amniotic fluid and platelet-rich plasma are injected into the injury site.
Rotator cuff tears are notorious for taking a long time to heal. What can be expected for a partial rotator cuff tear recovery time following stem cell treatment?
Some patients report improvements within a week. However, it is more common for it to take anywhere from three to eight weeks. It is also advised that you avoid anti-inflammatory medications during the first two weeks and stick to Tylenol instead.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy often gets confused with stem cell therapy treatments.
You can include platelet-rich plasma into stem cell therapy, but as a stand-alone, it is used mostly to help heal damaged tissue. On the contrary, stem cells are used to regenerate these damaged cells versus just trying to repair them.
However, it has a similar process to stem cell therapy treatment and recovery time is minimal. Keep in mind, both treatments are usually not covered by insurance at this time.
What the Research Says
Stem cells have been studied rigorously once they were found to be a beneficial source of healing for various illnesses and diseases. There are a few different types of stem cells, and it is important to know the difference.
Embryonic, adult, induced pluripotent, and perinatal stem cells are the most common. The ethical concerns and controversy you have likely heard in the news is over embryonic stem cells.
Unfortunately, adult stem cells are not as diverse as embryonic cells, which is what has led researchers to study both ideas.
Researchers have currently used stem cell therapy to address cancer diagnoses and bone marrow transplants with adult cells. The idea for injecting stem cells into people undergoing chemotherapy is to boost the immune system response.
Lastly, you have already read how stem cells can be used as a tool for orthopedic soft tissue injuries.
The Cutting Edge of Medicine
Medicine is constantly evolving as new research comes in. It’s important to know that you have options for partial rotator cuff tears. While it might seem like something you can power through – you don’t have to.
Take the next step by reaching out to a trusted clinic with certified physicians who have experience with stem cell treatments. You can cut your recovery time significantly by opting for this easy and quick treatment method.
Look no further – check out this contact form to put your fears and most importantly, your pain, to rest.