In collaboration with the New Jersey Rehabilitation Institute, researchers at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation conducted a study to evaluate the effects of PRP injections to treat bilateral shoulder pain. TOBI Faculty, Dr. Gerard Malanga, worked with a team of researchers at the Derfner-Leiberman Laboratory for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research on this pilot study. Six, wheelchair-bound men with a history of bilateral shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff disease, which failed to resolve after six months of prior treatment, participated in this study. Wheelchair users with spinal cord injury are more prevalent to develop rotator cuff disease. Chronic shoulder pain compounds challenges to functional mobility and quality of life in people with spinal cord injury. While surgery may be an option, PRP injections provide a non-surgical treatment alternative.
The protocol consisted of a single ultrasound-guided PRP injection into the supraspinatus tendon of both affected shoulder joints, with a 24-hour rest period after the procedure. Following this rest period, participants were guided through a standardized routine of stretch and strengthening exercises. Post-procedural evaluations were conducted at 4-week integrals up to 24 weeks, and used measurable outcomes (ie. Wheelchair User’s Shoulder Pain Index, Numeric Rating Scale, ultrasound imaging, etc) to assess functional improvements and pain perception. Participants reported an overall improvement in pain and function as a result of the PRP injections; however, ultrasound imaging for supraspinatus tendinopathy remained unchanged.
Congratulations to TOBI Faculty and Presenter, Dr. Malanga, for his contribution to the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. Access the article here (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32379581/).