No More Heavy Lifting, But Platelet Rich Plasma Does Bring Smiles

Redecorating might not be considered a hazardous activity, but Nancy Melano can offer a cautionary tale.

“I put too much stress on my shoulders when I was redecorating a house,” Melano said. “I was removing pictures from the house and had my arms up all day, hammering and hanging.” The next day, Melano, 78, decided to work on the library in the house. “I was on the last run, picking up one more box of books and it felt like a rubber band broke in my left shoulder. “

After that November 2015 mishap – which also injured Melano’s right shoulder – an MRI showed the left shoulder injury was serious, but Melano learned surgery could guarantee only 30 percent chance of regaining good use of her right shoulder. Working with a physical therapist for months didn’t do much to help – and toward the end also seemed to hurt.

Everything she did caused at least a little pain. “It hurt to brush my teeth, comb my hair, even to put on body lotion and dry off with a towel,” said. The pain in her shoulder even reared when she lifted a cup of water, with both hands, or pulled the blankets up in bed.

Complicating matters for Melano, of Tempe, was a previous back injury she suffered when she worked for the U.S. Post Office, from which she retired. The shoulder injury limited her ability to exercise to maintain strength. Melano returned to her orthopedic surgeon and heard the same story. “He said there was nothing he could do,” she said.

But previous visits to Dr. Michael Wolff at Southwest Spine & Sports for back treatments led her to ask if there was anything they could do for her shoulder. There was.

The process started a little slowly as Melano received the first of three Platelet Rich Plasma injections in her shoulders. “After the injection, I couldn’t move my arm for a couple of days,” Melano said. “Now, I have no problem. I have no pain.”

Melano added she still must be careful. Putting up Christmas lights recently, she felt her shoulders tighten. “But I can live like this.” Going from a world where every movement brought pain, Melano was afraid to do even simple things. “I couldn’t put my pants on without my shoulders hurting,” she said. “That was a big job and I’m a skinny person.”

Those problems don’t exist anymore, as Melano noted she pulled her own carry-on bag on a November trip to Mexico.

“I can drive with no problem,” she said. “And I drive a Tahoe. I don’t lift 5 lb. dumbbells anymore, just the 2 or the 3, but I have my life back. And at least now, I’m smiling.”

What are PRP and stem cell therapy?

PRP is one of the most exciting emerging forms of regenerative medicine for soft tissue injuries. Safe, effective, and all natural, PRP heals damaged joints and soft tissue injuries while also relieving pain. PRP therapy uses a small sample of the patient’s own blood, spun in a special type of centrifuge to concentrate platelets. This solution is then injected into the injured area. An alternative to surgery, PRP injections are getting great results for patients of all ages.

Multinucleated Stem Cells (MSC), stem cells for short, are potent and valuable healers. They have the unique ability to stimulate naturally and “morph” into healthy, mature cells to replace injured cells. When handled and injected correctly, stem cells help set up a healing environment and stimulate a regenerative process to create healthy tissue. In the process, cells differentiate, proliferate, and mature in the environment they’re placed. Simply put, this means stem cells are able to transform and develop into different types of healthy mature cells including bone cartilage, muscle, tendon, and ligament. Click here to learn more about stem cells.

SWSS physicians have been practicing regenerative medicine for nearly a decade – keeping up with modern advances, participating in research, and helping patients live pain-free, from elite athletes to weekend warriors. In further supporting advancement in the field, SWSS participates in clinical research in the field of biologics.

Stem cell therapy has been in use since the early 1990s. Recent advances in technology have improved the ease and safety of the therapy. Autologous stem cell therapy – meaning use of cells from your own body – is quickly gaining popularity as a means to treat painful injuries. Autologous stem cell treatment is a simple outpatient procedure at Southwest Spine & Sports. The all-natural therapy helps a wide range of patients, from those with acute muscle and/or ligament injuries, like professional athletes, to those with joint pain from arthritis, and low back pain from injured discs and degenerative disc disease. Stem cells used for treatment can be easily harvested from a patient’s bone marrow taken from the back of the hip. Cells are immediately prepared for reinjection using a specialized centrifuge system to isolate and concentrate desired stem cells under sterile conditions. Patients’ own fresh stem cells are then injected into the injured area, always guided by either ultrasound or fluoroscopy. At Southwest Spine & Sports the entire procedure is performed in our comfortable, state-of-the-art facility under conscious sedation and takes only a few hours.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, click here or call us today at (480) 860-8998.