In 2010 I saw my doctor about some on-going shoulder pain. I was diagnosed with Tendonosis and she recommended a shot of cortisone to ease the inflammation. Being a person with type 1 Diabetes I rejected the idea of a shot of cortisone because of the impact it has on my diabetes control. Cortisone raises your blood sugar significantly and my last (and only) experience with an injection elevated my glucose for a few weeks and then as I increased my insulin to try and stay in control, my sugar plummeted. I could not stay in good control at all after that Cortisone injection. The result was scary, dangerous and unpredictable. So this time, after 19 weeks of physical therapy with limited success, my doctor told me about a relatively new PRP injection. Since I seemed to have plateaued in my recovery I was extremely open to a treatment that was used by top professional athletes.
The treatment was very simple. I went to a surgical center and was prepped as though for surgery. Admittedly this made me a little nervous. The actual procedure was a breeze, however. The doctor drew some blood, not unlike a normal blood test. A surgical technician centrifuged the blood while my doctor found the best site for the injection using ultrasound and marking the spot with a surgical marker. She then injected the plasma back into my shoulder, done. The entire procedure took less than 20 minutes and most of that time was spent waiting for the centrifuge. The injection was relatively painless and I was told that there might be some swelling which, in my case, there was not. She applied a band-aid at the injection site and that was it.
My post treatment was really just a formality. I rested in post-op for about 15 minutes then went on my way. The results were not immediate and they were kind of subtle over the course of the next couple of weeks or so. Slowly, I noticed that the pain from my tendonosis was greatly reduced and my range of motion while always good now did not include any pain. Before this treatment I could not reach across my back to my shoulder blade, now I can and it is painless.
I was told to rest the shoulder for the remaining part of the day and assured I could return to normal activity the next day.
Since the PRP treatment my shoulder is markedly improved. I have full range of motion with little or no pain. To me, Cortisone injections should never be a treatment. In my opinion the anti-inflammatory nature of a Cortisone injection masks the underlying problem and may actually lead to further injury. The PRP protocol seems to have had a curing effect. I could barely throw a baseball when I was suffering from the tendonosis. Now, while there is still some discomfort, I am able to throw, reach and use my arm/shoulder almost like I could before. PRP definitely worked for me and although I was skeptical at the outset I have become a fan of this kind of treatment!
Yesterday I went to my podiatrist complaining of pain in my Achilles tendon and guess what he recommended if the non-steroid anti-inflammatory and physical therapy don’t work? PRP. Now, with my shoulder experience I know there is a very good chance that my Achilles heel tendonitis will not impinge the 45 mile bike ride I have planned for the Diabetes Tour de Cure in June, 2012!
This PRP Experience was written by Gary VandenBergh