Depending on its severity, joint pain can either be an inconvenient nuisance or a debilitating obstacle to living a normal, active life. What’s more, treating a sore shoulder, aching elbow, or painful knee often requires extensive treatment and rehabilitation.
Wouldn’t it be great if your body could simply heal itself? Now it can with the medical breakthrough known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
PRP therapy is a treatment that has been used for decades to help with wound healing, and it is now being used for a variety of common orthopedic conditions – especially joint pain.
How Does PRP Therapy Treat Joint Pain?
PRP is a concentration of platelet cells that are taken from your own blood for your own treatment. These platelets contain natural growth factors – chemicals that signal your body to initiate its natural healing process.
By injecting PRP into the specific area of an injury, the concentrated platelets can stimulate and optimize your body’s ability to heal that injured area. Which is why PRP is being used in an outpatient setting to treat common overuse conditions such as:
- Achilles tendonitis (ankle)
- Rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder)
- Tennis elbow
- Patellar tendonitis (knee)
The great thing about PRP therapy is that it is minimally invasive and can be done right in your doctor’s office. The procedure itself – in which the doctor withdraws a sample of your blood, spins it in a centrifuge to separate the different types of blood cells, extracts the platelets, and injects the PRP into the injured area – can take as little as 30 minutes.
No stitches are necessary since only a needle is used. Performed safely, PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks and lost time associated with surgery, general anesthesia, and hospital stays.
Also, there is no prolonged recovery. Most patients who receive PRP therapy can return to their jobs or usual activities immediately following the procedure.
How Quickly Do PRP Treatments Work?
As many as three PRP injections may be administered within a six-month time frame, usually performed two to three weeks apart. However, many patients report gaining substantial to complete pain relief after the first or second injection.
The goal of PRP therapy is to quell pain through natural healing and to provide lasting results. Initial improvement is often experienced within a few weeks following the procedures, and the improvement gradually increases as the healing progresses.
Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Only Treat Joint Pain?
In addition to the conditions mentioned above, PRP therapy is showing promising results in the following areas:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Chronic plantar fasciitis
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Meniscus tears
- Cartilage damage
- Ankle and ligament sprains
The primary benefits of PRP therapy are that it provides pain relief and healing, oftentimes eliminating the need for surgery and prolonged recovery. It also serves as a treatment for people who are not candidates for invasive surgery.
What’s more, because the patient’s own blood is used, it eliminates the risk of a transmissible infection or a rejection due to a mismatch. Therefore, there is a very low risk of adverse reaction.
Joint Pain Physicians in Delaware
To learn more about PRP therapy and to find out whether you might be a good candidate, schedule an appointment with one of our experts at Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers.
You can fill out our online form or call us at the Delaware location nearest you. We look forward to helping you feel great again!