I had Prolotherapy done to my left shoulder this past Tuesday, I did this procedure at Hemwell Center for Orthopedic Regenerative Medicine in Alameda. Dr Donna Alderman is an Osteopath with a specialization in this form of intervention (for more information goto www.prolotherapy.com). My particular intervention involved the extraction of both blood and fat from my body (think mini-liposuction…a weird experience indeed!). They take the samples and spin them in order to extract the stem cells. This is what they inject around the damaged tissues. The actual procedure involved my moving my arm while Dr Alderman observed the tissues through a diagnostic ultrasound. She then injected the stem cells very specifically to damaged structures around the Rotator Cuff. This didn’t feel very good, but it was bearable. (By the way, this procedure is done with only minor local anesthesia!).
By the next day, I couldn’t move my Left arm and it hurt a lot. This was to be expected, and I wasn’t too surprised. Needless to say, there’s a time and place for pain killers, and that was both the time and place! Starting yesterday, I have been working hard to get my arm moving again. It’s disconcerting to not have immediate control of your own limbs, without a lot of resistance and pain. It is times like this that instill me with empathy for patients of mine who present with frozen shoulders, etc. It is a serious issue, and Dr Alderman and her staff made it clear to me that either I need to be moving my arm above my head three times daily, or I’ll need to go back to her office and she will see that it happens through Osteopathic manipulation (and this, her staff made clear, hurts!).
Today I saw one of Innate Chiropractic’s star massage therapists, Rena Keslar. Rena’s approach is all about finding the underlying emotional issue stuck in the tissue. Needless to say, some good tears were shed, and I left with some more range of motion. I’ve taken most of the week off since I anticipated that there would be a period of time following this procedure that would be challenging.
Tomorrow I am seeing one of my favorite Physical Therapists, Ann-Michelle Ongerth, to work more on restoring my shoulder’s range of motion. Incidentally, Ann is joining Albany Physical Therapy so we’ll now be neighbors! I highly recommend her!
My other favorite PT is Liz Gillem, who I saw last week before the procedure. She uses a lot of yoga therapy in her rehab lexicon, and she works out of a home studio in Oakland near Temescal.
Saturday I am seeing Darrin Lenton, the P-DTR (proprioceptive deep tendon reflex) therapist whom I talked about in an earlier blog. And I may follow up next week with Ian Abugayda at Mend Human Repair Shop in Berkeley. P-DTR helps to reset the brain’s messaging to the muscles, since the brain may be protecting the joint by disengaging it from its muscles following a perceived trauma such as the Prolotherapy.
One interesting thing about Prolotherapy is that the healing process involves inflammation, so there is NO ice, or laser or anti-inflamatories allowed. Heat is ok. The stem cells stimulate the existing tissue to kick back into a regenerative mode. I will follow up with Dr Alderman in three months, and will know by then if this was successful.
Hopefully within a couple months I will feel more functional and be able to commence with more active rehab and strengthening back at my gym, All In One Fitness in Albany, with Kirk Michals, one of their awesome trainers who specializes in shoulder rehab.