One of the most remarkable wonders of nature is the body’s own ability to heal itself. In recent years, modern medical advances have unveiled revolutionary regenerative injection therapies that actually help facilitate the body’s self-healing capabilities rather than disrupting them.
If you are experiencing degenerative joint pain, spine pain, osteoarthritis or other issues — or if you are an athlete with an injured tendon or experiencing chronic pain — platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy can accelerate your healing process to get you back in the game.
In this article, we go over the basics of what PRP is and how it works, as well as offer guidance for finding a PRP specialist near you.
The platelets in your blood not only aid in clotting; they also contain growth factors that facilitate healing and repair of damaged tissues. PRP therapy injects a concentrated amount of platelets taken from your own blood at the injury site to accelerate this process. Here’s how it works. At the beginning of your session, we draw some blood from you, then put it into a centrifuge where it spins until the platelets are separated from the blood—a fluid called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The doctor then injects this PRP fluid back into your body at the site of injury. The result is that the blood in the area is now concentrated with 5-10 times more platelets than normally exist in your blood, enabling the body to heal itself faster.
PRP can treat injuries and pain all over the body, but for the spine specifically, PRP is most often used to treat facet joint pain, sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, and intradiscal injuries.
Because the plasma injected is taken from your own blood, there is virtually no risk of infection or contamination; we are simply supplying the body with a higher concentration of the substances it has already created to aid in its own healing. Because the body “recognizes” the injection as its own natural substance, it is less likely to treat the PRP as an “intruder” or attempt to fight it off, reducing the risk of allergic reaction. The body is empowered to heal itself more quickly than it would do otherwise, resulting in reduced pain and enabling you to regain functionality sooner.
Immediately following a PRP injection, you may experience some pain and swelling for the first 3-5 days. This is a normal response generated by the presence of the platelets themselves as they address the injured tissue. After this initial bout of pain and swelling, most patients start experiencing reduced pain and greater mobility within a few weeks. For otherwise chronic degenerative conditions, the reduction of pain can greatly improve your quality of life. Learn more about what to expect after regenerative injection therapy.
Now that you understand how PRP works, you may wonder if it’s a good option for you. This safe, non-invasive therapy is a miracle for many patients experiencing chronic pain, though it’s important to note that not everyone responds to PRP in the same way. Efficacy of PRP treatments varies patient to patient based on a person’s unique biology and the circumstances of an injury.
Only a doctor trained in regenerative therapy techniques can definitively tell you if you’re a good candidate for PRP, which is why scheduling an initial PRP consult is a good idea. There are several things to look for in a PRP specialist, including the extent of the specialist’s experience, what other PRP patients have said, and the legitimacy of the practice. Don’t stop the vetting process once you’ve booked an appointment, though. When you show up to your first appointment, make sure you’ve done your research and have armed yourself with questions to ask the specialist.
Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center use state-of-the-art regenerative injection therapies like platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy to help our patients recover more effectively from spine injuries and treat chronic spinal pain. To find out whether you are a suitable candidate for PRP and other regenerative injection therapies, call us today at 404.256.2633.