Stem Cell Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries
Any injury to your muscles, tendons, or bones can be hard to diagnose and fix. That's because you might not even know you have an injury. Rotator cuff tears are one such example, and if the damage gets bad enough, you may need surgery.
But did you know there are other options out there? They could mean you don't have to go under the knife. New strategies emerge daily—it's amazing what modern medicine can do.
What Is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
There are two types of rotator cuff tears, but before you can understand what each is, you need to know a little anatomy. Your rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and tendons which work to stabilize your shoulder joint. Your shoulder joint allows you rotate and lift your arms, so it's pretty important.
If the muscles that form the rotator cuff become frayed or otherwise damaged, this is known as a partial tear. Sometimes, a partial tear can worsen. When it reaches through the muscle to the tendon, it's considered a complete tear. At this stage, the tendon could possibly pull away from the bone.
You can't always feel when you've torn your rotator cuff, but there are some ways to identify if there is a problem. Not taking these signs seriously could lead to worse issues that are harder to treat. Watch for:
- Unusual noises, like popping sounds, when you move your arm
- A general feeling of weakness in your shoulder or arm
- A reduced ability to lift things or handle routine tasks like shampooing your hair
- Pain when you lie on your arm or move it a certain way
- Difficulty raising your arm or reaching behind your back
What Causes Rotator Cuff Tears?
Rotator cuff tears are a very common injury, and they can rarely be avoided through precautionary measures alone. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that two million people in the United States will end up at their doctor's office due to an issue with their rotator cuff. Here are just a few reasons you might experience a tear:
- Having a job that calls for the repetitive use of your shoulder muscles, like painting, cleaning windows, construction, or house cleaning
- Playing sports such as baseball, tennis, or football, especially as a professional
- Normal wear and tear that comes with aging
- Lifting something heavy
- Falling on your arm or getting into an accident that affects your arm
- Repeating the same arm motion over and over
- Certain exercises like weightlifting
How Can Rotator Cuff Tears Be Repaired?
Before you can make any decision about how to repair a torn rotator cuff, you'll need to get a formal diagnosis. There are a few ways to do that, but they all start with visiting your doctor for an assessment of your physical movements, range of motion, and pain level. Your doctor might need to take an X-ray or MRI of your shoulder to get a visual of the issue.
Once the problem is identified, your doctor will help you decide which course of treatment is right for you.
What Are Common Treatment Options?
There are several options available for treating your torn rotator cuff, including surgery. Surgery is the most invasive of all the treatment methods, and a review of several studies has suggested that it is not necessarily more effective for resolving rotator cuff pain.
A good doctor will want to explore more conservative treatment methods with you first. If you're looking to avoid surgery, here are a few options to start with.
When You Need a Little More Help
- Therapy: You might benefit from going to a physical or occupational therapist to treat your injury. They can teach you exercises that will help with your recovery.
- Injections: Some doctors will recommend corticosteroid injections in the affected area to help improve mobility and reduce pain.
- Stem Cells: Stem cell treatment for shoulder pain is one of the newer options available. It uses your own cells to help your body repair itself faster.
Exploring Stem Cell Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries
Because it's relatively new, you probably don't know much about stem cell therapy. It is a regenerative medicine practice that uses an innovative, minimally invasive treatment to give your body the potential to heal itself naturally.
In this procedure, your doctor will collect stem cells from your bone marrow. Then, a concentration of them will be injected into your shoulder area. The cells go to work there, neutralizing inflammation and accelerating healing.
In addition to reducing pain, stem cells may also regenerate injured tendons and muscles in your shoulder. The technique may help get you back to your previously active, healthy lifestyle.
Avoiding surgery is possible. Today, there are many innovative and minimally invasive procedures available, such as stem cell therapy, for shoulder pain.
No matter what you decide to do about your rotator cuff pain, it's important to see your doctor to get evaluated. When you're ready to look at options for treatment, you should know that Twin Cities Pain Management performs some of the few stem cell treatments Minneapolis offers. To learn more, contact us
Disclaimer: Stem cell therapy does not work for everyone. At this time, the FDA has not approved it as a treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.