PRP Therapy or Platelet Rich Plasma is non-surgical regenerative injection therapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Composed of concentrated growth factors found in your own blood platelets, PRP injections have been effectively used in orthopedics and sports medicine for healing soft tissue injuries to tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. Top athletes and weekend warriors have experienced amazing results with PRP therapy and gotten back in the game with a shorter recovery time.
Platelets are cells that travel in your bloodstream to areas of injury to stop bleeding and to release growth factors that stimulate tissue repair. Once the area is healed, the pain signal typically goes away. While conventional pain treatments are focused on turning off the pain symptom, PRP therapy is aimed at healing the cause of the pain—damaged joints and connective tissue.
What Is PRP Treatment or Platelet Rich Plasma?
Plasma is the fluid part of the blood through which your white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are transported along with hormones, nutrients, and waste. Platelets are well known for their ability to clot blood and are responsible for releasing important growth factors.
Growth Factors from platelets are polypeptides (small protein signals such as PDGF, VEGF, and TGF-B) that are released when platelets exit the bloodstream into tissue. They promote healing, tissue growth, blood vessel growth and alert the immune system and stem cells to the site.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy as the name implies is a purified and concentrated solution of platelets. This concentration level of platelets and their growth factors are five to ten times greater than normal blood.
How Do You Make PRP?
In order to make the Platelet Rich Plasma we first draw blood from the patient. We then spin the whole blood in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells and most white blood cells from the plasma, leaving the smaller platelets in the plasma suspension. After that, the platelets are then spun again to concentrate them in a smaller amount of plasma, hence the name platelet-rich plasma.
How Does Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Work?
Research studies have revealed the concentration of growth factors in PRP therapy has the potential to change the environment of a diseased joint into a healing environment. By enhancing the process of healing, especially in areas where there is little to no blood flow, the tissue that has chronic degenerative changes like osteoarthritis can begin to regenerate. PRP can be injected into and around joints, tendons, scars, and more.
For example, lateral epicondylitis aka tennis elbow. This is a condition that can impact tennis players as the name states but also many other people. There is pain with normal daily activities like gripping, twisting and extension of the hand. This is often a long-lasting pain and discomfort that is resistant to standard anti-inflammatory drugs.
The PRP solution can be mixed with local anesthetic and injected directly into the inflamed tissue under ultrasound guidance. It’s important to understand that the pain associated with the injured area could increase during the first few days after and that is normal. It could be a few weeks before you feel relief from the pain and often require more than one treatment.
Platelet therapy can be utilized to accelerate healing post-surgery for certain injuries and procedures. For example, an athlete who has a completely torn Achilles tendon will need require surgery to repair it. The healing of the Achilles tendon can be improved with PRP therapy immediately after surgery.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with PRP Injections?
Chronic Tendon Injuries
Recent research studies show that PRP therapy is highly effective in treating chronic tendon injuries, and in particular rotator cuff tendinitis. The use of the PRP procedure for other tendon injuries i.e. patellar tendonitis of the knee, and chronic Achilles tendonitis continues to show impressive results.
Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries
PRP as a regenerative medicine has grown in scope due to famous celebrities receiving PRP treatment for acute sports injuries. This includes muscle tears and ligament injuries.
PRP injections are being used to treat high profile athletes with sports injuries such as a pulled muscle, a pulled hamstring or knee sprains. PRP therapy accelerates and improves the healing process in these common sports injuries.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Sorr today to see if you are a candidate for this incredible therapy.
How long does PRP last?
The most common question that gets asked is how long does a treatment last. The direction of this question stems from the use of drugs since drugs wear off over time, such as NSAIDs or a cortisone shot. PRP Prolotherapy works in the opposite direction. This therapy continues to work for 3-6 months after the initial injection. It is your body that is effectively knitting together new tissue.
At Source of Health, our treatment programs are customized to the individual patient based on their unique situation. No one treatment works for everyone. Putting a care plan together for the patient who is committed to the healing process and resolving their pain will result in a positive synergistic effect versus conventional models of care.
In conclusion, PRP therapy has proven a safe and effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis and many other degenerative conditions. While conventional treatments remain popular, such as NSAIDs, Cortisone, and arthroscopic surgeries, the use of regenerative injections is making a significant impact on the medical community. Patients have seen remarkable results and can live their lives far better without drugs or surgery.
PRP wakes up stem cells
Stem cells live throughout the body and live in a state of rest. When prompted by growth factors, stem cells migrate to the injured area to heal and repair by differentiating into that specific cell type. One of the challenges for the body in chronic joint disease is stem cell depletion. The local stem cells have already been utilized in that area and as time goes by the joint condition worsens. It is not that people are getting older, it is the lack of available stem cells to rejuvenated tissue.
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