How Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) helped Nancy

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Redecorating might not be considered a hazardous activity, but Nancy Melano can offer a cautionary tale.

“I put too much stress on my shoulders when I was redecorating a house,” Melano said. “I was removing pictures from the house and had my arms up all day, hammering and hanging.” The next day, Melano, 78, decided to work on the library in the house. “I was on the last run, picking up one more box of books and it felt like a rubber band broke in my left shoulder.“ 

After that November 2015 mishap – which also injured Melano’s right shoulder – an MRI showed the left shoulder injury was serious, but Melano learned surgery could guarantee only 30 percent chance of regaining good use of her right shoulder. Working with a physical therapist for months didn’t do much to help – and toward the end also seemed to hurt.

Everything she did cause at least a little pain. “It hurt to brush my teeth, comb my hair, even to put on body lotion and dry off with a towel,” said. The pain in her shoulder even reared when she lifted a cup of water, with both hands, or pulled the blankets up in bed.

Complicating matters for Melano, of Tempe, was a previous back injury she suffered when she worked for the U.S. Post Office, from which she retired. The shoulder injury limited her ability to exercise to maintain strength. Melano returned to her orthopedic surgeon and heard the same story. “He said there was nothing he could do,” she said.

But previous visits to Dr. Michael Wolff at Southwest Spine & Sports for back treatments led her to ask if there was anything they could do for her shoulder. There was.

The process started a little slowly as Melano received the first of three Platelet Rich Plasma injections in her shoulders. “After the injection, I couldn’t move my arm for a couple of days,” Melano said. “Now, I have no problem. I have no pain.”

Melano added she still must be careful. Putting up Christmas lights recently, she felt her shoulders tighten. “But I can live like this.” Going from a world where every movement brought pain, Melano was afraid to do even simple things. “I couldn’t put my pants on without my shoulders hurting,” she said. “That was a big job and I’m a skinny person.”

Those problems don’t exist anymore, as Melano noted she pulled her own carry-on bag on a November trip to Mexico.

“I can drive with no problem,” she said. “And I drive a Tahoe. I don’t lift 5 lb. dumbbells anymore, just the 2 or the 3, but I have my life back. And at least now, I’m smiling.”


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