Ask the Experts
Acromo-Clavicular Joint Dysfunction and Pain
The AC joint, located where the shoulder blade and collarbone meet, is most often injured when an athlete falls on his/her shoulder or outstretched arm. This condition can also result from repetitive movements that place strain on the joint, such as raising the arm, throwing a ball or other object, or lifting weights. Athletes with AC joint injuries tend to experience severe pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
Traditional Treatment for AC Joint Injuries
Rest, avoiding activities that trigger AC joint pain and wearing a sling can all be effective in treating milder cases of AC joint injuries or dysfunction. For more serious cases, however, the individual may need to have a surgical procedure to properly address the problem. An injured or worn-out joint will not simply get better on its own—it will need to be treated. But, there is an alternative option to surgery—cell-based therapy.
How Cell-Based Therapy Treats AC Joint Pain
Cell-based therapy – a technique developed through regenerative medicine research – uses regenerative cells from the patient’s own body to rebuild and strengthen the injured joint. This treatment requires no incisions and only a local anesthetic. The body’s natural process of repairing damage is to utilize repair cells, as they have the unique ability to become whatever cell the body needs. This form of treatment simply applies that same method of natural healing in a more direct and effective way.
Under a local anesthetic, the cells can be taken from the bone marrow of the patient’s pelvis and then injected to the injury site along with an injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP) to support and direct the cells. The cells go to work almost immediately to repair the joint damage. Because cell-based therapy is minimally invasive and uses cells from your own body, this form of regenerative medicine is less invasive than surgery with a faster recovery time. In most cases, only a few injections of regenerative cells and platelet rich plasma over the course of two or three months will generate a marked improvement in the injured area.
Please note that while the above conditions represent most of those that can be treated using either PRP injections or PRP injection in conjunction with cell injections, the specific method of treatment will be based on your age and health at the time of treatment, the severity of your condition and other factors. Learn if you are eligible for cell-based therapy.