What is PRP?
PRP, or platelet rich plasma, is a form of regenerative medicine that uses a substance derived from a patient’s blood to improve healing and alleviate pain. Blood is drawn from the patient by a lab technician, then spun in a special machine called a centrifuge to produce a concentration of platelets. Platelets are packed with growth factors and healing proteins that jump-start the repair of musculoskeletal injuries. This concentrated formula is then injected into the patient at the point of injury, under local anesthesia and with the guidance of ultrasound to ensure precision.
What Ailments or Injuries Can PRP Be Used to Treat?
PRP is used to accelerate healing and reduce pain from a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries, conditions, and surgeries. Hundreds of elite athletes have touted PRP’s benefits, including golf’s Tiger Woods, tennis’s Rafael Nadal, football’s Hines Ward (just prior to his winning Super Bowl), baseball’s Alex Rodriguez and basketball’s Kobe Bryant. Some of the most common injuries PRP is used to treat are:
- Muscles pulls and sprains
Is PRP Therapy Safe?
PRP is completely safe and does not carry the significant risks or potential complications that accompany such traditional treatments as surgery and drugs. Patients may experience some slight bruising at the site of the injection, the treatment area will be numb for an hour following the procedure, and there can be increased soreness and stiffness for a brief period. But because PRP is extracted from a patient’s own blood, there is little risk of any adverse reaction. A major improvement is typically experienced in about four weeks, and most patients enjoy maximum benefits between three and six months.
An Advancement in Chronic Pain Therapy
Our healthcare staff is specially trained to diagnose and treat the source
of your chronic pain. This treatment option is all-natural, so you can
benefit from your treatment without the risks and recovery time associated
with more invasive procedures, such as surgery.
The human body has an inherent ability to heal tissue, but in certain areas
that capacity is just not great. New cells are created all the time in the
body, in order to replace old or damaged tissue, but, with age, this
capability decreases. Even in younger individuals, the capability is slight
(e.g. knee cartilage when damaged). Certain conditions, such as
degenerative arthritis, can cause severe joint pain, and conventional
medicine offers treatment that may mask the pain temporarily, but not alter
the condition itself. With the help of regenerative medicine and options
such as platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP), things are changing right now
to repair damaged tissue.
What are Platelets and what is their role in repairing arthritic and
Plasma makes up the liquid part of human blood, and it contains red cells,
white cells, and platelets. Platelets exist in the blood all the time. They
play a vital role in blood clotting during an injury and with helping the
repair process itself. Once activated, they start releasing proteins
responsible for healing, called growth factors. When platelet rich plasma
is administered to a person, these growth factors speed up the body’s
normal healing capability and may push it farther than it would normally go.
How is PRP Administered?
The 1st step of the procedure consists of acquiring a bit of blood from the
patient, similar to a simple blood draw. Afterwards, the medical personnel
uses a centrifuge to separate the PRP Treatment platelets from the blood.
The centrifuge process separates the blood into three components. The
middle layer contains the heavily concentrated platelets and growth
factors, and this is the part used for the procedure.
The 2nd step of the procedure consists of injecting the concentrated
solution, rich in platelets to the area experiencing pain. Numbing medicine
is used to relieve discomfort during the injection procedure.
The doctor will simply inject the platelet rich plasma into the painful
area, using ultrasound or x-ray guidance if needed. Once the affected
ligament, tendon and joint is injected with PRP, it starts healing with
inflammation as the first step.
How does PRP work?
Once the platelets are injected in the painful area, they start a powerful
regenerative process. They start releasing growth factors, and these will
increase blood flow to the area, and generate a healing process.
Also, the platelets and growth factors send out signals, which calls in the
body’s stem cells as well to promote healing. The damaged tissue is
replaced by new cells, and the cartilage has the potential to be identical
to what “God gave you”.
What types of Medical Conditions are treated with Platelet Rich Plasma
Conditions that involve joint pains and ligament/tendon injuries are often
excellent candidates for PRP therapy.
Here is a partial list of the conditions PRP helps considerably:
- Golfer’s elbow
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder tendinitis and Rotator Cuff Injury
- Joint arthritis – hip, spine, knee, ankle, SI joint, elbow, wrist
- Headaches – Migraines, Occipital Neuralgia
- Soft Tissue Injury – Tendonitis, meniscus tears in the knee, ligament
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Muscle tear
Because of their immense effects in treating conditions related to tendon,
joint, or ligament damage and pain, platelets are frequently used in
treating athletes and quite a few have already used this therapy to speed
up the healing processes in their bodies, so they could get back to playing
at a very high level. Athletes such as Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Rafael
Nadal, Dwight Howard, and Hines Ward to name a few have benefited from PRP
What to expect from Platelet Rich Therapy
One to three injections may be necessary in order to get the best result
from this therapy. Typically, a break of four to six weeks is recommended
Initially, especially for the first two days, some swelling may be seen, as
the platelets begin working by releasing growth factors. Some pain relief
medication and ice packs applied locally will help with this type of
discomfort. In a few days, the pain usually starts to reduce as new cells
are created, and the body begins healing on its own.
Physical rehabilitation helps contributes to the speed of recovery and pain
reduction after the injections of PRP.
More noticeable beneficial effects are experienced after a few weeks. The
person will typically start feeling better and better, as joints increase
range of motion, and pain continues to decrease. However, it may ache up to
several months for the platelets to complete the healing process.
A recent study out of the Hospital for Special Surgery published in the
Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine looked at PRP injections for arthritis
in 22 patients averaging 55 years of age.
The outcomes of the study were fantastic. Participants, by and large, had
excellent pain relief that lasted the whole year of follow up. Also, the
functional outcomes improved significantly in most of the patients.
MRI’s showed that in 75% of patients, no further cartilage degradation
could be seen. Typically with arthritis, 4 to 6% of a person’s cartilage
degenerates each year. In this study, the platelet rich plasma injection
appeared to halt knee degeneration in 75% of the patients.
How is platelet rich plasma therapy different from conventional methods?
Extreme pains caused by osteoarthritis or tendon injuries are usually
treated with cortisone injections. However, this method does nothing to
treat the cause of the pain and it only masks it, making the patient feel
On the other hand, platelet rich plasma therapy contributes to healing the
affected area along with reducing the pain. If you would like to be
considered for PRP treatment at our office, Contact Us today!