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PRP Therapy: Does It Really Work?

If you are one of many people affected by nerve, joint, or muscle discomfort, the PRP therapy might be the best choice of treatment to address your condition. It’s a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment, which helps in speeding up the healing process in several injuries and chronic conditions.

A PRP injection is an advanced technology that’s utilized for the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and in the aesthetic medicine field. Many well-known athletes – Rafael Nadal, Tiger Woods, and others – have received the Platelet-rich Plasma for different issues, like chronic tendon injuries and sprained knees. Typically, these kinds of conditions have been treated with physical therapy, medication or even surgery. A number of athletes have their ability to resume competitions quickly to the use of PRP therapy.

Although the treatment has been embraced extensively, still there are some lingering questions about it, such as:

  • What exactly is non-surgical joint repair?
  • How does it work?
  • Is the treatment effective?
  • What conditions does the PRP address?

Well, here is all you need to know about the treatment.

 

What is PRP Therapy?

Blood is mainly a fluid (plasma) but contains small solid component (white cells, red cells, and platelets). Platelets are not only essential in the process of clotting, but also play a huge role in the healing of injuries.

Platelet-Rich Plasma is plasma containing more platelets than what is found in blood. The platelets concentration can be five to ten time richer than the usual.

Blood is first taken from the patient to produce a PRP preparation. Platelets are then segregated from other blood components and their concentration enhanced in the centrifugation process. The enhanced concentration of platelets is finally mixed with the remaining blood and injected into the area of need.

 

How does the Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy work?

How the PRP works is not clear; however, laboratory studies show that the enhanced concentration of platelets potentially accelerates the healing process.

To facilitate a quicker healing process, the injured site is treated with the PRP therapy. This can be achieved in two ways:

Carefully injecting the PRP into the injury site, like in Achilles tendonitis – a condition mostly exhibited by tennis players and runners – the heel cord may swell, get inflamed or painful. A caregiver can directly inject the mixture of local anesthesia and PRP to the infected tissue. The pain subsides with time and patients will be able to go back to their regular duties in no time.

For some injuries, the PRP may be crucial in improving the healing process after surgery. Like if an athlete has a completely torn heel cord, they may need surgery to repair the tendon. Tendon healing is likely to be enhanced by treating the area with the PRP during surgery. The specialists prepare the PRP in a particular way that it can be stitched into the torn tissues.

 

How does the Prolotherapy help the body?

The first response of the body when there is a soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells. Since it’s packed with healing and growth factors, the platelets cells start the repair and attract the help of stem cells. PRP’s natural healing ability intensifies the effort of the body by providing an increased concentration of platelets direct to the area of need.

Since it’s the patient’s blood that’s used in the process, there is a low risk of allergic reaction and no danger of transmissible infections.

 

What conditions are treated with the PRP therapy?

Different research studies are being performed to establish the effectiveness of the PRP therapy. At the moment, the findings of the studies are inconclusive since the how effective the treatment varies. Factors that determine its effectiveness are:

  • The health condition of the patient
  • The extent of the injury, from acute to chronic
  • Muscle injuries and acute ligament
  • The part of the body that needs care

This treatment has gotten much publicity in the treatment of severe injuries that occur during sports, such as muscle and ligament injuries. The method has been utilized in treating professional athletes having common sports injuries like knee sprains and pulled hamstrings muscles.

 

Surgery

PRP injection has recently been used in certain types of surgeries to help in tissue healing. The results have proved the therapy as beneficial in the surgeries used to repair the torn rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder and torn knee ligaments repair.

 

Fractures

PRP therapy has been utilized in a small way to speed up the healing process of broken bone.

Other conditions include:

  • Osteoarthritis of the shoulder, knee, hip and spine
  • Chronic plantar fasciitis
  • ACL injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow

 

How often should the PRP therapy be done?

Your physician will inform you about this. However, in a six-month period, you may receive up to three injections. Many people considerably improve or get complete relief after one or two injections.

What should I expect after the therapy?

Since the purpose of the Platelet-Rich Plasma procedure is to fix pain by healing, initial results may be noted in the first few weeks, slowly improving as the healing progresses. Clinical practice and research studies have proven that the therapy is effective at relieving pain and helping patients resume to their daily duties.

Both MRI and ultrasound images show definitive tissue repair after the therapy, establishing the realness of the healing process.

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