If you think you’ve tried every treatment in the books for your rotator cuff injury or any other joint injury, think again. I’ve experienced rotator cuff injuries — including frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) in both shoulders.
My injuries didn’t require surgery but over the course of 24 months I tried the following conventional and alternative treatments:
- Physical therapy: Eight weeks. I was in too much pain for anything good to happen. The ice felt good — that always provides some relief.
- Acupuncture: Four weeks. No relief.
- Massage: Once or twice a week for more than a year. Sometimes it helped; other times it amplified the pain.
- Chiropractic: Multiple adjustments to my neck. Alleviated some pain, but relief was only temporary.
- Stretching: Stretching plays a critical role in healing, but it did not resolve the problem.
- Vitamins and anti-inflammatory herbs: May have helped, but I took them over the course of two years and continued to experience pain and stiffness.
- Prolotherapy injections: Short for “proliferation therapy,” this process jumpstarts the body’s regenerative mechanisms to promote healing. The injections may have helped with healing, but the pain and stiffness remained.
- Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections: These injections, which have the potential to promote healing, delivered little, if any, relief.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Two to three days max to avoid any liver damage. Didn’t do much for me.
- Cortisone injection: I suffered one of these injections so I could go on vacation and not be miserable. It worked for a good four or five days, but then the pain returned to its baseline level.
That’s everything I tried that didn’t work. Later in this post, I reveal what did work for me, but first I want to go into a little background about what the rotator cuff is, the telltale signs of a rotator cuff injury, and the conventional treatment options, which may or may not provide relief and promote healing depending on the nature and severity of the injury.
Understanding What the Rotator Cuff Is
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and stabilize the arm during complex motions, such as swinging a pickle ball paddle or throwing a ball. When these muscles or tendons become inflamed or are strained or torn, they can cause severe pain and discomfort, to which anyone who’s ever experienced a rotator cuff injury is well aware.
Rotator cuff injuries are generally broken down into two categories:
- Acute injuries happen suddenly, often as a result of a fall, sudden impact, or unnatural extension or twisting of the arm around the shoulder.
- Chronic injuries develop over time due to overuse or wear and tear on the shoulder joint. Symptoms may come on suddenly without any warning. Infections, such as shingles, may also cause inflammation in the rotator cuff resulting in chronic pain and discomfort.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury
If you have a sore shoulder with restricted movement, chances are good that you have a rotator cuff injury. Symptoms typically include one or more of the following:
- Pain: The most common symptom of a rotator cuff injury is pain in the shoulder. The pain may be sharp or dull and may be felt in the front, back, or top of the shoulder.
- Weakness: Weakness in the shoulder may make it difficult to lift the arm or perform other activities.
- Limited range of motion: A rotator cuff injury can make it difficult to reach behind your back or lift your arm above your head.
- Clicking or popping: Some people experience clicking or popping sensations in the shoulder when moving it.
- Swelling or bruising: Swelling or bruising around the shoulder joint may also be present in some cases.
- Difficulty sleeping: The pain and discomfort when lying on the affected side can make sleeping difficult. And because the body repairs and restores itself during sleep, this impairs the healing process.
Exploring Conventional Treatments
Conventional treatment options for a rotator cuff injury and other joint injuries depend on the severity of the injury and can range from conservative, non-surgical approaches to surgical intervention. Here are some common treatments that may be recommended:
- Rest and activity modification: Resting the affected joint and avoiding activities that aggravate the injury can help to reduce pain and inflammation. You may need to modify your daily activities or sports to avoid using the injured joint.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve your range of motion. They may also use modalities such as ice or heat to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Injections: Corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation in the joint.
- Surgery: When conservative treatments have not been effective, or if the injury is severe, surgery may be necessary. This may include arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged tissue or a full joint replacement in extreme cases.
The Game Changer for Me: The Peptide BPC-157
For two years, I suffered chronic shoulder pain, despite trying every available treatment I could think of — conventional and alterative — everything short of surgery. Except for a few brief periods of minor relief, the pain was constant. I could not work out. I was unable to sleep properly. I couldn’t play basketball or tennis. Even hiking would aggravate my shoulder with the vibration of each step. Putting on a shirt was a task!
Finally, I stumbled upon what would become, for me, a miracle cure — a synthetic peptide called Body Protecting Compound-157 (BPC-157). Within two short weeks of starting treatment, my pain level and overall functions improved by, I would estimate, 70 percent. I could sleep without pain, move my shoulders with significantly less pain, and begin to regain my range of motion.
Now I am back to hiking and playing basketball and tennis. I just started playing pickleball, too! While I’m not as young as I was before the injury, I’m still in the game — without the pain.
What surprised me most about BPC-157 were the additional benefits I experienced related to my musculoskeletal health. Since I was about 40 years old, each time I would play basketball, I would pay for it over the course of the next several days with a terrible soreness in my muscles and joints. As a result, I had to limit my playing time.
After about three months on BPC-157, I started to notice that I didn’t feel as sore after playing basketball or engaging in other strenuous physical activities. It was an odd sensation that sort of crept up on me. I began to realize that I would play, and then experience only about 25 percent of the usual soreness. Now I can play basketball up to three times a week with no negative effects. Of course, I have the minor soreness that most of us experience after playing, but my body recovers quickly. I actually feel younger.
After using BPC-157 to successfully treat my own rotator cuff injury, I started recommending it to my patients, the great majority of whom have experienced very similar results. For more about BPC-157, I encourage you to read my blog post, “Enhancing the Body’s Self-Healing Properties with BPC-157.” Does it work for everyone? No, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Combining BPC-157 with Thymosin Beta 4
Most recently I’ve been using a combination of BPC-157 with Thymosin Beta 4 — another therapeutic peptide that’s commonly used to enhance the healing of wounds. (For more about Thymosin Beta 4 and other therapeutic peptides, see my blog post, “The Healing and Rejuvenating Power of Therapeutic Peptides.”) This combination of BPC-157 and Thymosin Beta 4 seems to provide even greater benefit to my patients.
I recently treated a good friend who had a rotator cuff injury similar to mine who suffered the same degree of pain, discomfort, and reduced range of motion. She was unable to sleep and felt miserable. Immediately after she began treatment with this combination of peptides, the pain she had experienced for more than six months began to subside. Her sleep issues resolved. Her physical therapist was shocked at how suddenly she started to recover. She is now able to perform better at physical therapy, and I expect she will continue to progress.
A big factor in healing joint, tendon, and ligament damage is reducing pain, so that you can increase activity and range of motion which, in and of itself, can be healing.
If you have a rotator cuff injury, or any joint injury for that matter, treatment with BPC-157, or a combination of BPC-157 and Thymosin Beta 4, may be just what you need to get back on the road to recovery and reclaim your life again. If you’re in or near Tampa, Florida, contact me to schedule a consultation.
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About the Author: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., DACBN, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of the symptoms related to chronic and unexplained illness through nutrition, lifestyle, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing in Tampa, Fla. Dr. Lewis has 20 years of experience practicing nutritional and holistic medicine. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Shenandoah University, his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University, his Diplomate status in Clinical Nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, his CFMP® from Functional Medicine University, and his certification as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute. Dr. Lewis’ passion for health and wellness stems from his own personal experience. With a family history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and his own lab tests showing his genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid), Dr. Lewis has learned how to restore his own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses and live an incredibly active life. Through this process, he acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which he now offers his patients in Tampa and elsewhere.