What Is Shoulder Degeneration?

Arthritis in the shoulder comes in many forms. The most commonly known one is osteoarthritis. Shoulder osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease made up of a combination of two primary processes. The first is the breakdown of cartilage. The flexible connective tissue known as cartilage is found in many parts of the body including the shoulder joint. When constant wear and inflammation is placed on the shoulder joint, it begins to degenerate cartilage. This leads to further inflammation and pain. The second process is the formation of abnormal bony growths. The bone spurs, known as osteophytes, develop due to aging, degeneration of a joint and mechanical instability caused by damage.

Causes & Symptoms

Shoulder degeneration is caused by primarily joint stress and chronic injury. Those who have labor or lifestyles that include a lot of redundant lifting of objects overhead, throwing, or participating in high-impact activities are more prone to “mini-traumas”.

As these mini-traumas add up, and if treatment is neglected, they are likely to develop into shoulder degeneration. Age also plays a role in developing shoulder damage. Overtime the body naturally goes through some wear and tear and the cartilage begins to thin out. The symptoms of shoulder degeneration progress gradually, so early recognition is vital in preventing further injury. Joint tenderness is a primary symptom. One may notice that they are having trouble lifting their arms over their head or across their body. As inflammation of the joint gets worse, shooting pains become common.


How is this condition treated with PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) is a great way to treat shoulder degeneration as it takes advantage of the body’s natural healing process. Platelets are the clotting cells located in blood that posses a high potential for restoring damaged cartilage, tendons, and other tissues. The procedure requires that a small sample of blood be taken from the patent. The blood is then placed in a machine and spun rapidly as to separate the blood and platelet-rich plasma. The plasma is then injected back into the site of injury. Taking a sample from the patents own body results in a nearly non existent chance for rejection or allergic reaction making this procedure incredibly safe.

How is This Condition Treated with Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is a relatively new form of restorative therapy. As scientists are looking further into the unique and powerful healing abilities of stem cells, this type of therapy is becoming increasingly popular. Most stem cells intended for restorative therapies are drawn from the patients own bone marrow or adipose tissue (fat tissue). Both these areas provide an incredibly high density of stem cells that hold restorative properties.

Stem cells begin work by providing anti-inflammatory properties. They are able to focus on damaged tissue, and recruit other cells necessary for tissue growth. Stem cells have been found to be good at prevent apoptosis, or cell death. Being in their purest form,they also have the ability to develop and become numerous tissues including cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.