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Platement Rich Plasma Treatment - Left Rotator Cuff (Infraspinatus)

Posted Jun 25 2013 11:03am
Early in 2012, I took a hard skiing fall, landing on my right shoulder.  I knew when I got up that I'd injured the shoulder.  It took me about six months of rehab and working with a chiropractor, and in September of last year, I set a new bench press PR (195 pounds - not very impressive) with no shoulder pain at all.

Not long after that, we started a very focused cycle of Olympic lifting at CrossFit - snatches and cleans and jerks of various types, plus overhead squats.  By November first, my left shoulder was hurting and my training log shows I was taking Aleve once or twice per week.  Yet, I pushed on.

I started to see the chiropractor again.  I saw a sports orthopedist.  I started doing regular rehab work.  I started to drop certain lifts from my workouts.  At first, I simply removed snatches and overhead squats.  Then, I removed the more dynamic jerk movements.  Then, I even removed the military press.  My bench pressing was done with barbells only at light weights.  Then, I removed cleans.  Switched push-ups to assisted rather than strict.

And through all of that, nothing got better.  Two cortisone shots, a few weeks apart, provided some relief, but not nearly enough.  I honestly feel like I haven't had a good night of sleep in maybe 8 months due to shoulder pain.

It's not hurt bad enough for surgery (allegedly), but it hurts too much to sleep and too much to do a lot of lifts I'd like to be doing.  It's been 7-8 months with no real improvement.

So yesterday, I had a platelet rich plasma treatment in the rotator cuff.  It involved way too many needles, many of them large gauge.  The blood was drawn with a 22 gauge needle.  The plasma was injected with a 20 gauge needle - anything smaller can damage the platelet cells.  Between the blood draw and the plasma injections, I had a number of Novocaine (or similar - I didn't ask) injections.  All told, I probably had 8-10 injections done by the doc.

As he did the procedure, we joked about getting older, our mutual love of playing hard, and how the two are often at odds with each other.  This was my second PRP treatment - the other was for a partial tear of a hamstring tendon - the semitendinosus.  The one healed somewhat slowly, but I feel the procedure was a success.   I had the treatment done in 2009 and I could barely run when I had it done - 5 months after I'd torn the tendon.  Within 3 months, I was running with a normal stride and within 6 months, I was sprinting again.

The doctor finds that the procedure really shines with rotator cuff injuries and he is expecting a full recovery. Of course, I have to rest enough to allow the process to work.  And then, perhaps more difficult, I have to not re-injure the shoulder doing the same things that caused the injury.

To that end, I'm planning to spend a lot of my downtime working on mobility and flexibility.  And maybe some fishing.  Plus running, cycling and lower body lifts.  I need to rest for a couple more days and I can then start to ease back into things.

If I can sleep without pain in a couple weeks, that will be a huge win.  If I can do Oly lifting by the end of the year with no pain, that will be even better.

For now, I just want the pain to go away.  For a few days, I have some medication to help with that, but I would love just one truly pain-free night of sleep.  After that, I will work slowly towards the other goals.
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