Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are useful for treating certain painful disorders and injuries. This is a more natural therapy than many pain management strategies in conventional Western medicine. Orthopedic physicians and other doctors provide PRP injections for conditions such as osteoarthritis in its early stages, whiplash, sports injuries, and a broad range of other problems.
This treatment uses a patient's own blood with no transfusions from other individuals. The process begins with a healthcare staff member drawing a small vial of blood from the patient. In the lab, a technician uses a centrifuge to spin the blood, which separates the platelets and plasma from the rest of the liquid. The plasma now has a greater concentration of platelets.
Next, a doctor injects the PRP substance into the site where pain relief is needed. The injection sends a large supply of platelets precisely where they are needed.
Why It Works
The treatment works in two primary ways. First, platelets accelerate the rate of healing. Blood flow to the area is increased, which brings healing nutrients and more oxygen.
Second, the higher concentration of platelets attracts stem cells occurring naturally in the person's body. These cells speed up the tissue regeneration process. New tissue grows to replace the damaged areas. Platelets also assist in this restoration.
When an injury occurs or tissue damage develops from a physical disorder like osteoarthritis, the body sends extra platelets to the area as part of the healing process. Thus, PRP therapy boosts the effects of the body's own healing response.
The entire appointment requires about two hours, with no recovery time needed afterward. Patients can return to their usual activities right away. Some patients experience an increase in discomfort for a day or two, but it dissipates quickly.
Patients usually begin experiencing a considerable reduction in pain soon afterward. If the effects are not strong enough, they can return for follow-up injections. PRP treatment is not intended to be an ongoing therapy, though. The substance is used for actual, permanent healing instead of temporary pain relief. This makes the treatment significantly different from corticosteroid shots, since that medication's effects gradually wear off.
This relatively new therapy is proving highly beneficial for many people who have been injured or are suffering from a painful health disorder. Anyone interested in the possibility of PRP injections may seek out a healthcare practitioner who provides the treatment.Share