Mariah Carey: Shoulder pain is worse than giving birth

The successful singer Mariah Carey from New York has been enthralling audiences around the world with her wonderful voice and beautiful looks for many years. In the video for her latest hit Beautiful she radiates her own special beauty on a lush meadow in the evening twilight. Mariah began to perform in the 1980s when she was just a young girl and was extremely popular with audiences.

Since then, she has been extremely active: Mariah has appeared in numerous TV series and has taken on supporting roles in Hollywood productions, for example 1999 in The Bachelor. She has her pop and R&B music to thank for her real breakthrough, allowing her to show her romantic side and to come to terms with the events in her life in her love songs. Mariah’s music is so heavily emotional that she was even invited to sing at Michael Jackson’s official mourning ceremony.

In April 2011 she gave birth to twins having the unusual names Moroccan and Monroe. Mariah really needs huge amounts of energy and strength to have enough time for her family and her career. What a shame, then, that when recording a video at the beginning of July, the singer dislocated her right shoulder and also broke a rib!

Mariah informed her fans on Facebook and Twitter that this shoulder injury and the pain she suffered from it were the “hardest experience” of her life: “The traumatic experience was similar to the pain I felt during the birth of my twins Moroccan and Monroe.” The joy her twins gave her made Mariah quickly forget the birth pains she endured, though!

Mariah is making better progress in her recovery than her physicians had expected, nevertheless, joint injuries often cause damage to the cartilage, which can later result in arthritis. Degradation of the joint cartilage occurs in cases of arthritis, which may cause chronic pain and restricted mobility. The reason for this is a dysfunction of the cartilage metabolic balance, causing the joint cartilage to gradually dissolve. Frequently, the cartilage dissolves completely and the membrane lining of the joint become inflamed.

Many patients regard treatment with medication and physiotherapy as the only solution. If the joint damage is in an advanced stage due to arthritis, a joint implant may be unavoidable. However, an artificial joint can never be a real replacement for a natural one – if this happened, not even Mariah could give her tour de force performances on stage and in the studio any longer.

What if we could regenerate damaged joints caused by accidents, sports injuries and deterioration, helping patients to regain increased mobility and well-being?

An approach currently being undertaken in this direction involves joint treatment with autologous stem cells from fat. In contrast to symptomatic pain therapy, it focusses on the regeneration of damaged cartilage, bones and joints using stem cells and progenitor cells from the connective tissue. Furthermore, these so-called mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have an anti-inflammatory effect. In this way, joint deterioration could be counteracted gently and the pain reduced.

Joint treatment with stem cells is carried out on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. Initially, a small portion of fat is extracted using gentle liposuction with microcannulas. The stem cells are obtained from this in a complex laboratory procedure and are directly injected into the affected joint where their regenerative effect takes place. The patient is fully mobile after treatment; there should be a therapeutic effect several weeks after the application.

Stem cells from autologous fat have a great potential to increase mobility in persons suffering from joint problems, thus helping them to enjoy greater quality of life; even ordinary people, who – unlike Mariah Carey – do not have to give high-powered physical and vocal performances on stage.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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