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After years of living with shoulder pain, Jack Miller is now living a pain-free life.

15 years ago, mechanic Miller, then 22, found out he had torn labrums in both shoulders. Because of his age and treatment options, he was recommended to undergo labral surgery, which would have left him unemployed for at least seven months.

“I started looking for other ways to deal with it, so I went into weightlifting and tried to strengthen all the muscles around the injury so I had more support,” says Miller.

For years he managed his pain that way until he became an entrepreneur four years ago and was no longer able to spend as much time in the gym.

“The pain came back with a vengeance,” says Miller. “I drive a large 22-foot box truck and it became difficult to steer the truck. Putting on a shirt was awful, sleeping at night – anything where I had to turn my shoulder was just excruciating. It was also absolutely horrible for my mental health.”
AJ Pinney, DO, non-surgical exercise medicine physician at MyMichigan Health
His family doctor referred Miller to AJ Pinney, DO, a nonsurgical sports medicine physician at MyMichigan Health, who spoke to him about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, or PRP treatment.

The treatment is a form of regenerative medicine that involves injecting concentrated growth factors from the patient’s own blood cells or platelets to promote healing of damaged tissues, such as muscles and ligaments.

“Cartilage has a poor blood supply, so we know it’s already struggling to heal itself,” says Dr. Pinney. “In many cases, the role of the injection is to signal the body that there is damage and reduce inflammation in the areas, allowing the patient to be significantly more functional.”

Aside from some initial pain, Miller was able to continue working and says the procedure for his one-off injection took less than an hour. according to dr Pinney Miller was able to become fully active again after eight weeks.

“In my opinion, it is nothing short of a miracle. I didn’t have to have surgery, and many technicians and other people I know who have had surgery have not only been out for long periods, but are still feeling the pain and have limited range of motion,” Miller says. “I didn’t have to go through all that and I’m 100% confident in using my shoulder every day – the pain is just gone.”

Miller says he’s glad it worked for him, but has compassion for others who are struggling with this pain.

“I know how exhausting it can be,” he says. “I serve the same community I live in and I see mechanics dealing with this pain every day, with the same assumption I have that their only recourse is surgery. If there is such an option, more people should know about it.”

To learn more about PRP treatment, visit mymichigan.org/prp.