What is PRP therapy? PRP stands for platelet rich plasma and it is a revolutionary technology that has been used for years in the treatment of injuries and wounds. This cutting edge technology is now helping people with arthritis, knee injuries, and back pain deal with their otherwise difficult to manage conditions. It has gained popularity over the years with athletes like Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods reportedly having used it to treat tendon and knee injuries.
Platelets are used in the body to balance physiological processes, heal damaged tissue, and restore circulation of blood. A typical blood sample contains 6% platelets, 93% white blood cells and 1% white cells. Regenerative injection therapy was first used in the 1990s for dental treatments and cosmetic procedures. In the decade that followed research started on orthopedic treatments. In 2006 a human study found that it was effective in treating chronic elbow tendinosis. The researchers found that it healed the injured tissues almost immediately and progressively helped to alleviate pain.
PRP Therapy Can Be Used to Treat the Following Conditions:
- Skin Rejuvenation
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- Strains and pains
- Back, neck, and knee pain
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Cosmetic procedures
These are just some of the conditions this revolutionary medical technology can treat. To ensure that the treatment is effective, consider consulting with professionals who have the expertise and experience. NSI Stem Cell is a center that deals with regenerative technologies such as Stem cell therapy and PRP treatment.
What is PRP?
Your blood contains mainly liquid plasma. In it are other important components needed by the body; these are red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. Platelets are mainly known for their blood clot function. When you cut yourself they create a plug to ensure that you do not bleed excessively.
However, platelets contain important growth factors needed to heal wounds and repair tissue. Some of the growth factors include:
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF): – Responsible for cell growth and division
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF): – Responsible for creation of new blood vessels and capillaries
- Transforming Growth Factor (TGF) – Controls cell growth and cell differentiation
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF): – Also has a role in cell growth and differentiation
There are several clinical studies that have shown the application of platelet rich plasma can help to dramatically speed up the healing process. PRP is injected into the injured area for example tendons or sprains. It can treat a wide range of injuries in the musculoskeletal system.
The process is simple and non-invasive and is typically performed at a clinic on an outpatient basis. It starts by drawing blood from the patient’s arm. The blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other blood constituents. Once the platelets have been separated a sample is analyzed then prepared for treatment. The prepared sample is injected back into the body. You do not need a general anesthetic, only a numbing agent is used to make the process painless. Within an hour or so the patient can go back home.
Dealing with Injuries and Chronic Pain
PRP treatment can treat a wide range of injuries and reduce the pain that comes with these injuries. It is no wonder that some of the top athletes are increasingly using this form of treatment so that they can get back to their true form in a shorter span of time.
There are many people trying to deal with pain. Back and joint pain can be very painful. Most pain reducing medication is either hardly effective or leads to dependency. Statistics suggest that in America between 5 and 8 million people are using these drugs to manage pain. Often these drugs do not end up working for the patients they were meant for, and have been known to lead to addiction and death.
Platelets contain growth factors that repair and treat injuries. They can repair tissue and strengthen tendons. It promotes the production of new collagen which makes the tendons tighter and therefore stronger. When the tendon is completely healed, the new collagen can reduce the risk of further injuries. These beneficial effects that platelets have on the injured area of the body, makes the therapy one of the best for addressing chronic pain and injury.
While most pain medications have many side effects, PRP Prolotherapy treatments are simple. A patient can expect to see the benefits shortly after the first PRP treatment. This cutting edge technology can address pain and treat injuries without requiring the patient to depend on the treatment for the rest of his or her life.
Treatment of Back Pain
PRP can be used to treat a wide range of conditions related to back injury. From bulging discs, herniated or ruptured, discs, spinal stenosis and sciatic nerve injury. These conditions can be serious if left untreated. These conditions often leave otherwise productive people without the capacity to perform day to day chores and takes a toll on their quality of life.
This regenerative process has been shown to be effective in the treatment of back pain. Initially, medical practitioners thought that PRP would not be strong enough in treating certain conditions such as bulging discs. Not only does it improve the function of your spine but restores its structure to avoid pain and injuries in the future.
The advantage of PRP is that it is not as invasive as surgery for the treatment of back pain. There may also be a risk of nerve damage. Other forms of back pain treatment such as the use of steroid injections are not effective in the short term.
Studies have demonstrated that PRP is effective in the treatment of disc regeneration, pain management for people with back pain, and reducing injury. It promotes the proliferation of human annulus fibrosis cells which can be found on the periphery of the disc structure and facilitates the regeneration of discs. The study found that PRP encouraged the proliferation of human annulus fibrosis cells within four days of treatment.
Chronic Tendon Disorders and Injuries
Tendon disorders, also known as tendinosis, tendinitis, or tendinopathy, is a condition where the soft tissue that connects the muscle or bone degenerates due to injury, aging or overuse. The degeneration of these tissues is facilitated by the lack of collagen to support and maintain their stability. For this reason, many of the conditions related to tendinosis often become unresponsive over time.
Fortunately, PRP treatment offers hope for people looking for an effective treatment for various tendinitis conditions. PRP can treat many of these conditions including jumper’s knee (inflammation of the knee’s patella tendon), tennis elbow, and Achilles tendon.
Scientists started to research on the possible use of PRP in orthopedic treatment in the 2000s. Stanford University was the first to conduct human studies in 2006 on the treatment of tendonitis using this cutting edge technology. The study found that it helped to reduce pain immediately and in the two-year period that the researchers did their follow-up, it was found to reduce pain by up to 90%.
How does PRP work for people with chronic tendon disorders?
- Delivers proteins that work on the pain receptors for pain reduction and relief
- Stimulates the growth of collagen which is the main component that helps to restore the function and structure of tendons. New collagens significantly tightens the tendons and improve their strength and stability.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
There are several studies that demonstrate the efficacy of treating Osteoarthritis with PRP treatments. Even though PRP has been used for various applications since the 1980s such as to facilitate healing after surgery, it is only recently that its efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Researchers have been paying particular attention to knee osteoarthritis and PRP therapy. It is one of the most common disorders and researchers believe that at least half of all Americans will be affected by it at some point.
One study compared the effects of PRP treatments on patients with knee osteoarthritis against a placebo. The study was meant to establish how PRP can benefit patients with this condition on three subscores; function, stiffness, and function. PRP treatment was found to be significantly beneficial on all sub-scores compared to the placebo.
PRP has been effective in addressing inflammation that aggravates pain for people with knee and other forms of osteoarthritis. Another study shows that platelet rich plasma reduced inflammatory effects when used to treat the knee. During the 1month, 3 months, and 6 months follow-up period patients experienced progressively less pain at each of these intervals. Significant gains in knee function and the reduction of stiffness was noted within the first 6 weeks.
Jumper’s knee/ patellar tendinopathy
Knee osteoarthritis is characterized by the wear and tear of the cartilage between the joints which results in pain and stiffness. On the other hand, jumpers knee is caused by the inflammation of the patellar tendon. Patient’s with patellar tendinopathy experience pain on the front part of the knee. It is often caused by sports related injuries.
One study was performed on two groups of patients. Both groups had failed to respond positively to other forms of treatment including surgical and non-surgical methods. The group treated with PRP showed significant improvements within the follow-up period. It also led to pain reduction with some patients experiencing complete pain relief.
Muscle Fibrosis and Injuries
Muscle fibrosis, strains, and injuries are common with people who are actively involved in sports. These injuries can be painful and may require a considerable time to heal. Traditional methods of healing include physical rehabilitation, use of ice packs, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication.
PRP can facilitate the healing of injured muscle and minimize the inhibitory effects that may slow down the healing process. Two studies, one in animals and another in humans have demonstrated the efficacy of PRP in helping patients to deal with this condition.
Platelet Rich Plasma contains important growth factors that help to facilitate tissue regeneration, healing of wounds and the progressive reduction of pain. Not only is it useful in treating serious conditions like osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, and jumpers knee, it is a safe and effective procedure that can be used for several cosmetic procedures.
Some of its applications include:
- Face and neck revitalization
- Hair loss
- Facilitates healing of burns and scars
Difference between Prolotherapy and PRP Treatment
Both PRP and prolotherapy have a number of similarities that often lead people to get confused about the two forms of therapy. Both use the body’s own system for cell and tissue regeneration. Both procedures are known to be non-invasive especially compared to most traditional procedures used to treat similar conditions.
Prolotherapy can be traced to the 1930s. A substance which acts as an irritant is introduced to the target area to trigger an inflammatory response. It is expected that the body will respond to the inflammation and encourage tissue growth and repair.
Platelet Rich Plasma treatments use platelets which have an abundance of growth factors that facilitate the healing of wounds and activate proteins that can hinder the body’s pain receptors for pain relief. Platelets are separated from other constituents of the blood and the result is platelet rich plasma. An activator is added to the platelet-rich plasma before it can be used for treatment. Platelet Rich Plasma takes a little more time to prepare, a higher level of expertise and special equipment than traditional prolotherapy procedures.
A body of scientific evidence does not back traditional prolotherapy procedures. Most of the evidence of its efficacy comes mainly from anecdotal evidence. PRP is backed by a wide range of research studies, which have demonstrated its efficacy compared to prolotherapy and other procedures.
Stem Cells versus PRP Treatment
PRP therapy mobilizes growth factors in order to activate the body’s repair and regenerative response. It is used for conditions that the body can repair on its own or those conditions whose healing process may require therapies like PRP to jump start the regenerative process. PRP may also trigger the mobilization of stem cells to the injured area.
Stem cells are building blocks and are primitive precursors to your cells. While PRP jump starts and facilitates the healing of wounds, stem cell therapy sends these building blocks to create new cells and tissue. Stem cell therapy can be used for a wide range of conditions including diabetes, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Alzheimer’s, and Kidney problems.
PRP Treatment Side Effects and Precautions You Should Take
It is generally accepted that PRP treatments are non-invasive and safe. However, even the most effective of medical procedures can have their fair amount of complications if the necessary precautions are not taken. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
PRP Treatment Side Effects
- Irritation and Pain: The procedure can have mild side effects for some patients. You may experience mild pain or irritation on the site of injection. The pain and irritation can be expected to wear off within 72 hours. A topical application may be applied on the injection site to reduce the irritation.
- Allergic Reaction: An allergic reaction is possible although it is very rare in prolotherapy. A professional center should be in a position to perform a preliminary analysis to determine if you are suited for the procedure.
- Bruising and Blood Clots: If the process is not performed with professional diligence, there can be bruising and arteries may be damaged. A blood clot may develop on the area causing further complications. This usually happens when the medical practitioner is either unqualified to perform the procedure or is not professional enough to apply due diligence.
Where to Get Treatment
Despite a wide body of research supporting this medical technology in the treatment of injuries and serious conditions such as osteoarthritis, there are still many medical practitioners who are not trained or qualified to treat these conditions using PRP.
The American Association of Orthopedic Medicine (AAOM) is tasked with providing certification for medical practitioners who can demonstrate their knowledge and experience in Prolotherapy. In order for a medical practitioner to get a prolotherapy certification they need to meet the following requirements:
- Be a licensed medical practitioner
- Be an active member of American Association of Orthopedic Medicine (AAOM)
- Have three years experience in prolotherapy
- Undergo more than 100-course hours on programs approved by AAOM
You should consider going to a renowned center with qualified professionals. NSI Stem Cell has professionals that are experienced, knowledgeable and can provide the highest level of professional care. NSI can boast of having some of the most qualified and experienced scientists in the application of regenerative medical technologies including stem cell therapies and PRP. Kristen Comella the Chief Scientific Officer at NSI has been ranked as one of the top scientists in regenerative technologies by Academy of Regenerative Practices. You can learn more about these cutting-edge procedures from NSI Stem Cell website.
- PRP treatments consist of blood plasma with concentrated platelets. These platelets have growth factors that facilitate tissue repair. It also contains proteins that can reduce the sensation of pain.
- The procedure has been proven to be effective in the treatment of back pain, osteoarthritis, jumpers knee, tendinitis, and is also used for cosmetic procedures.
- PRP can have mild side effects like irritation on the injection site. These side effects usually wear off within 72 hours and can be managed with medication. It is important that the procedure is done in an approved clinic with qualified practitioners to avoid the risk of complications.