It's been a little over a week since my platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection for chronic tendonitis; as with my [blog posts about] my wife's anal cancer treatment (which was successful, as far as we can tell, having recently passed the two year milestone of being cancer-free), I've received email and other inquiries about the treatment and how my post-treatment experience is going, from people suffering from other types of tendinopathy (Dr. Mishra's web site suggests PRP can also be used for the treatment of Rotator Cuff, Patellar and Achilles tendinopathy, and his blog chronicles the use of PRP for a variety of disoreders). In case my experience may be of interest / use to others, I've decided to report on a few of my observations, insights and experiences at the end of my first week.
First of all, I neglected to mention that the doctor and his assistant initially neglected to mention that the treatment is not effective if it is administered within two weeks of the use of Ibuprofen (and I think aspirin, which I never use, and possibly other medications I never use), due to its adverse impact on blood thickness. Since this information was not provided at the outset, we had to abort our first scheduled date of treatment. And since patients are advised against flying for 7 days after the treatment, due to the increased risk of blood clotting (which they did initially mention), my travel schedule resulted in having to postpone treatment for 2 months.
The treatment itself was relatively painless - I felt a little burning when the local anaesthetic (Lidocaine) was injected, and a little pressure when the PRP was injected, but that was all. The main problem I had was that I often get lightheaded whenever a needle pierces my skin - I'm not conscious of any fear, but it happens every time - so I had to lie down for the procedure.
The rest of the day (afternoon) and the next day, I refrained from any activity. I felt no pain the first day, but did feel some pain the second day. I took some Vicodin that day, but have since felt relatively little pain - except when I forget to be careful with my elbow - and have taken very little pain medication (acetaminophen).
The primary ongoing challenges are stiffness and reduced range of motion, but these are diminishing over time. I've been doing some gentle stretching exercises throughout each day, and was able to start using my right hand for brief, non weight-bearing tasks after a few days. I was able to bend my arm 90 degrees by Thursday, and can now touch my nose. I started using my right hand for typing again on Thursday, but my arm feels fatigued quickly, and so I've cut back considerably on typing (in general) ... er, and I did not actually catch up on much reading, but that was for other reasons having to with preparations for a big internal launch of next generation proactive displays on Thursday ... about which I'll write separately (though a preview of our proactive display plans can be found on SlideShare.net).
Among the tricks, tools and [other] behavior modifications I found helpful - bearing in mind that I'm right-handed and the PRP injection was in my right elbow - were
- Switching from briefs to boxers (for the first week) ... reminding me of a Seinfeld episode
- Wearing sandals (socks and shoe ties would be difficult), polo shirts (buttons, especially near the top, would be difficult) and cargo pants (with extra pockets on each side that are easily reachable) ... of course, this is my typical "business casual" attire, anyway
- Extra pillows to prop my arm up while sleeping
- An electric toothbrush and dental floss picks
- Using a pump dispenser for soap and shampoo (actually, I didn't do this, but wish I had)
- Eating more sandwiches, wraps, pizza and other foods that do not require the [coordinated] use of silverware
- Making greater use of the Bluetooth earbud for my phone (my most painful moment so far has been to reach up to scratch my nose with my right hand while holding my phone to my ear with my left hand)
- Renting a car with a pushbutton [keyless] starter for the week; in my case, this was a Nissan Altima from my favorite rental car service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
I'll post another update when there is more significant progress to report. Meanwhile, if others have questions or other observations, insights and experiences to share, please feel free to comment.