Here is a common story I hear at my clinic regarding stem cell injections.
You have had chronic shoulder pain with no resolution for years. You’re frustrated. You can’t use your arm without flaring up the pain.
You’ve stopped working out or playing sports because you keep aggravating your shoulder pain.
You’ve tried surgery, steroid shots, and physical therapy. You’re tired of taking so much medication for the pain and inflammation with only temporary relief.
Your shoulders hurt.
Stem Cells offers hope.
To be pain free. To play sports. To sleep without pain waking you up.
Studies from Mayo Clinic and many others are promising. They show potential for pain relief, cartilage healing and improvement in tendon healing. But these are still clinical trials. Treatment with stem cells is considered experimental.
The marketing on stem cells and the preliminary data is encouraging but no guarantee.
The reality is, you will spend close to $10, 000 dollars hoping for a miracle.
Success in stem cell treatment for orthopedic conditions is elusive. Accurate, long term pain relief and joint healing numbers are hard to come by. I’ve looked. I see plenty of ads and testimonials but not hard facts. I have a hard time telling what’s real and what’s propaganda.
Most people invest a lot of money on stem cell injections because it provides a hope – an option for something other than giving up their dreams.
“Style” in Your Life is Fading
Maybe you’re seeing the “Style” in your life fading. You can’t perform athletically at the level you desire.
Train hard but the exercises leave you with more pain.
The range of motion in your shoulder gets worse. Working harder hasn’t stopped the shoulder pain. You still seem to sacrifice your shoulders every time you exercise.
Stem cell injections offers the potential to improve your bodies ability to regenerate damaged cartilage and tendons but … what if it doesn’t work?
It’s a lot to spend in time and money.
Worth it if you get pain free and back in the game!
But what if it doesn’t solve the pain.
Can you improve your odds for success?
Let’s look at common reasons stem cell injections for your shoulder won’t solve your shoulder pain.
Here are 5 reasons Stem Cells won’t solve your shoulder pain:
1: You didn’t stop the reinjury process.
One reason relief from stem cell injection is temporary is because you didn’t address the re-injury cycle.
The shoulder joint is a complex system. It involves a lot of moving parts that are interdependent on each other. If any of those parts don’t work together properly your shoulder joint tends to take the abuse.
Here is an example of the problem.
Have you ever kicked a coffee table with your shin?
You kick the table hard with your shin! It hurts and it’s bruised.
If you kick the table again it hurts even more.
You go to a clinic, and they help you heal the bruised tissue.
Then you go home and kick the coffee table again.
Your pain is back!
This re-injury cycle is happening to your shoulder. You can’t tell that you are hurting your shoulder until you feel the pain. By that time it’s too late, you’ve already re-injured it.
That’s one reason the stem cell injection won’t relieve your pain. It may give you immediate relief like cortisone injections but if you don’t solve the underlying root cause (the re-injury cycle) you will keep damaging the cartilage and tendons.
To stop the pain, you need to correct the cause of the re-injury cycle.
This requires you to develop a better understanding of what is putting stress on your shoulder joint and how you can fix it.
You have an important role to play in your healing!
2: Bad Habits Are Hard To Break
Think of a bad habit.
Something like picking your nose or routinely interrupting your spouse while they’re talking.
You do it so often you don’t even realize you are doing it.
Until someone else points it out. Then you’re embarrassed, frustrated, often blame the messenger.
But you want to improve, stop the bad habit.
Even then the habit is hard to break.
You do it without thinking about it. It is wired into your nervous system so well you still aren’t aware of it most of the time.
How do you become aware of something you are not thinking about? This is the problem with most bad habits. Especially when it comes to our movement patterns.
The movement of your shoulder happens without you thinking about it.
Unless it hurts.
Then you develop a way of moving that avoids the pain.
If this habit persist, you will not be aware of how you have altered your shoulder movement. It becomes subconscious. This faulty habit often persist even after the pain is gone.
You have experienced in sport I’m sure.
Have you ever tried to correct a bad habit in your game?
I take tennis lessons. My tennis pro will teach me to perform a certain stroke or position of my arm. I think I’m doing it, but when he videos me performing the skill, I’m doing it wrong. My old way, not the new way he wanted me to perform the movement.
I thought I was doing it the way he instructed but I was not. My perception was not consistent with my actual motion.
You have had your shoulder your whole life. You use it to exercise, play sports, tie your shoes, pretty much everything you do. But rarely are you aware of how it works.
If you are like most of us, you assume that when you are told to do certain exercises or corrective movements your body does what you are told to do.
But it doesn’t.
It falls back into the faulty, bad habit without you knowing it.
Changing bad habits is very challenging, often frustrating.
I’ve taught hundreds of people to perform various corrective exercises for the shoulder.
What I’ve learned is, when you are doing the exercises without guidance, you often do the exercise wrong!
Not on purpose. You just can’t tell you are substituting a faulty motion for a healthier movement that doesn’t create substitutions and compensations.
The reason for this is that the focus of most exercise is not on our ability to feel the correct motion.
To perform corrective exercises correctly takes you being able to sense the difference between doing it correctly or falling into your bad habit.
Your faulty movement patterns need to be corrected in order to help the stem cells heal your tissues.
3: You haven’t fixed the restriction problem
The faulty movement in this case is a lack of movement somewhere but WHERE?
The restrictions can be in the shoulder joint, the shoulder blade, in the collar bone, ribs, neck, thoracic spine, even in trunk and lower body muscles.
The restrictions rarely go away with the stem cell injections.
The faulty movement causes you to impinge on the structures in your shoulder and causes pain.
Mapping out your movement patterns involves looking at your isolated shoulder motion which is common but also looking at the rest of your body’s movement to identify your movement compensations and substitution patterns that stress your shoulder and have lead to the re-injury cycle and pain.
4: Your Exercises Were Ineffective
The shoulder is a complex joint involving a number of different moving parts including the arm, shoulder blade, collar bone and depends on the intricate communication and involvement of a large number of muscles.
The rotator cuff muscles are often involved in injury but are only able to perform properly if the other bigger muscles involved do their job at the right time.
Often rotator cuff exercises are performed in isolation without integrating healthy functional patterns.
If the scapular muscles are not properly moving your shoulder blade , the rotator cuff muscles can’t function properly. Often the rotator cuff muscles and the shoulder joint are damaged because they are compensating for joint stiffness and muscle weakness or tightness in other areas.
If you don’t correct this compensation pattern it will prevent the rotator cuff muscles from performing properly. So even strong rotator cuff muscles won’t solve your problem.
Your pain pattern will persist.
5: You haven’t fixed your posture
Your shoulder is subject to your posture.
Round over or slouch and try to lifting your arm.
You’ll see your arm is restricted.
Stand up straight and you’ll notice you can lift your arm much higher and without as much restriction.
The posture you choose or adopt while performing any activity or sport will affect the way your shoulder functions. So, you need to address your posture in order to create the optimal motion for your shoulder.
Ready To Solve Your Shoulder Pain…
What you don’t know IS hurting you!
Isn’t it time to learn how your body works and to correct your shoulder motion for good!
You deserve a long-term solution to your problem – not a temporary fix.
Are you worth it? Yes, You’re willing to spend the money on stem cells or other treatments.
If you are considering or have invested in stem cells to solve your pain or injury, Invest in you and your ability to take full advantage of what stem cells can do for you.
We Can Help
Our coaching and Prompting Movement Training System was developed to help you gain access to your body so you can stop the pain and get on with life.
It starts with our 20 min Injury Mapping Session.
We meet you online in a video conference session to get an understanding of your unique movement pattern and goals in order to guide you in understanding how to heal and get back to an athletic life without shoulder pain.
Join us by following the link below to schedule a Free 20 minute “Mapping Your Injury Session” and get started today.
I look forward to meeting you,
Joe Millen PT MTC