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"I have my life back after finally finding a solution for my chronic shoulder pain." Ernest A. Platelet Rich Plasma Success Story

I originally injured my shoulder in the spring of 2012. The injury occurred when I {less than intelligently} climbed to the top of a 12 foot ladder, leaned over as far as I possibly could, and attempted to work a chain saw. Needless to say, the leverage of the chain saw/ladder combination was greater than my left rotator cuff could bear. Upon rising the morning after this stunt I found it very painful to raise my left arm above my waist. I figured this would quickly dissipate as normally all of the bumps, sprains, and bruises in my life naturally take care of themselves.

The pain persisted, but so did I. In addition to being an avid outdoorsman, I was building outside improvements such as fences, decks, and storage sheds. I adapted to the pain and trained myself to do most things one-handed, thinking that the shoulder pain would for sure heal itself soon. That Fall, before hunting trips to Canada and North Dakota, I went to see an orthopedic shoulder specialist. He ordered an MRI that showed substantial tears in the front and back of the rotator cuff. While the specialist suggested surgery I knew surgery would require that hunting and projects take a back seat for at least 6 months. I opted instead for steroid injections which alleviated some of the pain but did not improve the strength or range of motion in the shoulder.

After returning from the hunting trips I sought more treatment from the shoulder specialist. In addition to more steroid injections I also enrolled in a rigorous rehabilitation program. I continued in rehab for nearly 3 years, carrying 10 pound weights to simulate the weight of my shotgun among other things. This allowed me to dig holes, move dirt, carry materials, and build projects with the use of one hand.

My shoulder pain persisted, as did my hunting struggles as it was difficult to carry and shoulder my gun. At this point I also needed assistance wearing long-sleeve shirts or jackets. My wife had to help me with my seatbelt and I was unable to steer a car with my left hand. I increased my rehabilitation efforts but saw limited improvements. In 2016, I had the good fortune of visiting with Dr. Bharara at Virginia Spine Institute. It was Dr. Bharara’s opinion that platelet-rich-plasma {PRP} injections might prove to be useful. While he did express some concern about my age, he felt that the type of injury in conjunction with my active lifestyle made me a good candidate. He injected my left shoulder and gave very clear instructions that I was not to use the left arm or even pick up a glass of water for 6 weeks. Likewise, I was not to take aspirin or related products for the same 6 weeks. I followed his orders exactly.

Within two weeks of the injection, my shoulder began to hurt less. At the end of the six weeks there was a marked difference in the pain level! I began a rigorous rehabilitation stint after the 6 weeks and have followed that regime continuously for a year. While I still ‘nurse’ the shoulder every now and then, I am able to hunt all day and do rigorous tasks without pain. My range of motion in the left shoulder is equal to or even better, than my right shoulder.

I have my life back after finally finding a solution for my chronic shoulder pain. I avoided surgery and the related recovery and would very much recommend PRP injections to others that may be a candidate. 

Thank you to my team!