What is frozen shoulder?
Also called adhesive capsululitis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder is a joint disorder that causes stiffness, pain, and a decreased range of motion in the shoulder.
There are more than 200,000 reported cases of frozen shoulder every year in the US alone.
How is frozen shoulder treated?
Depending on the severity, doctors recommend everything from physical therapy to surgery to treat frozen shoulder and loosen the joint. More than 90% of patients improve with simple treatments like physical therapy, steroid injections, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. For cases that are much more severe, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy could be a viable option.
How can PRP therapy help?
PRP therapy is the process of taking blood from the patient and spinning the blood in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the red and white blood cells. Platelets naturally make up 10% of our blood, but in PRP they compose about 90%. The PRP is then injected into a problem area of the same patient to speed recovery.
The platelets release growth factors that are part of the natural healing process. PRP stimulates blood flow, restores protein found in soft tissue, strengthens cartilage, and promotes matrix formation. All of these growth factors accelerate the recovery for patients suffering from a variety of injuries including frozen shoulder.
What do studies show?
In January of 2016, a study on a man who received PRP injections for frozen shoulder was published entitled “Platelet-Rich Plasma for Frozen Shoulder: A Case Report.”
A 45-year-old man was suffering from frozen shoulder in both shoulders and volunteered to try PRP therapy. He underwent two consecutive PRP injections, and the group of doctors measured his pain, range of motion, function, and several questionnaires.
Source: PubMed Central, US National Library of Medicine