Can PRP Therapy Help My Shoulder Pain?

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Can PRP Therapy Help My Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is a common complaint. But because of the complexity of the joint, healing is sometimes slow or incomplete, leading to chronic pain. Platelet-rich plasma therapy offers a drug-free pain management alternative.

It’s not easy to pinpoint how common shoulder pain is in America. One review analyzed 18 studies and noted a wide range of results across different age groups. They could only conclude that official numbers varied widely, but that shoulder pain is a common problem despite these variances. 

Treating chronic shoulder pain can be difficult when relying only on medication. Orthopedic shoulder surgeon Scott Ellsworth, MD, located in Kansas City, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas, frequently recommends platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to reduce pain without turning to medication. 

Derived from your own blood, clinical use of PRP is on the rise because it is safe and provides effective results. Here, we’ve compiled an overview on shoulder pain and PRP therapy. 

Origins of shoulder pain

Plenty can go wrong with the shoulder since it contains a shallow ball and socket joint, as well as a secondary joint between the shoulder blade and collar bone. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments, in an arrangement called the rotator cuff, play a key role in holding the joint together. 

When things go wrong, pain can result from any component of the joint. Common origins of shoulder pain include: 

  • Dislocation
  • Broken bones
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Sprain

There are many other possible causes, from pinched nerves to heart attacks. Today, we’re examining orthopedic shoulder issues and how PRP treats them. 

What is PRP?

Platelets are a component of the blood best known for forming clots and scabs over a cut or scrape. They also contain growth factor hormones — important messengers that help to guide the natural healing process. 

Your body naturally supplies platelets by way of blood circulation. That, however, limits the number of platelets at an injury site. It’s thought that such supply limits may contribute to degenerative conditions. Your body simply may not keep up with the rate of deterioration. 

Making PRP starts with a small sample of your blood, approximately the same amount as needed for a blood test. A centrifuge separates the blood by weight, with the heaviest red blood cells at the bottom and plasma at the top. The layer between these consists of platelets. 

Extracting the platelets and mixing them with a small amount of plasma creates the PRP serum. It’s now ready for injection into your shoulder at the site of your injury. 

Since PRP is derived from your own body, there’s no concern of an allergic reaction or incompatibility. The risks of treatment are similar to those of a blood test — just a minor risk of infection. 

How PRP therapy helps your shoulder

While the precise mechanism of platelet activation isn’t fully understood, there’s evidence that an additional supply of platelets at the site of an injury reduces inflammation and pain. Soft tissue injuries heal faster, reducing the need for pain and anti-inflammatory medications. 

As a shoulder pain specialist, Dr. Ellsworth is ready to consult with you about your shoulder condition and recommend the best treatment. With two locations to serve you, you can reach out by phone or online to make an appointment to learn more about PRP therapy for your shoulder. Book your session today.