Prolotherapy VS PRP Treatment

Dec 4, 2020PRP, PRP Therapy


If you recently suffered an injury, are constantly troubled by an old injury or suffer from a painful chronic condition like arthritis, then you may feel like your options for making any kind of recovery are limited.

After all, there is no cure for arthritis, and injuries whether new or old frequently require surgery, physical therapy and months of recuperation to begin showing even the first signs of improvement.

If you are living with chronic pain, then it’s easy to feel hopeless, especially when it seems that some healthcare practitioners are only able to prescribe medications to help you manage your symptoms.

Such medications offer temporary relief, but they certainly are not a cure, and they do nothing to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities. Even worse,some of these medications are habit-forming, and this can be particularly dangerous.

This is where regenerative medicine techniques come into play. Therapies like platelet-rich plasma, or PRP injections and prolotherapy may be able to offer you the lasting healing and comfort that you have been seeking. Many patients who undergo a series of one or the other of these treatments experience benefits such as:

  • Improved range of motion
  • Experiencing less pain on a daily basis
  • Relying less on opioids and other drugs
  • The ability to return to favorite sports and pastimes

If these sound like benefits that you would like to enjoy, then it’s time to consider the regenerative healing approach. Practitioners may recommended either PRP treatments or prolotherapy, but what are these treatments, and which one is right for you?

Read on to learn more about both of these promising treatments so that you can discuss the possibilities with your healthcare practitioner.

Defining Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Perhaps you have heard of PRP in the news. That’s not surprising, because many world-famous athletes have experienced success with this treatment. Among them are Hines Ward, Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Rafael Nadal.

Of course, PRP therapy isn’t just for famous professional athletes. Ordinary people who don’t consider themselves athletic and people who participate in sports just for fun also may be candidates. The point is that PRP treatments are accessible to all, and they may be extremely beneficial.

This is because PRP uses the body’s own healing power to recover from injuries and chronic conditions. Treatment begins with the removal of a small sample of the patient’s blood. Collected in a test tube, the blood is then placed in a centrifuge where it is spun at a high rate of speed.

Spinning divides the blood into basic components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. It is the platelets and plasma that are of particular interest to the doctor, who combines these two elements, preparing them to be injected back into the patient.

The platelets and plasma are injected into the source of pain or injury. Once injected, the platelets go to work stimulating the body’s natural healing process.

In general, PRP is recommended in cases where the affected joint or tissue has degenerated, when arthritis is present or when a chronic, older problem is being treated.

It also is worth knowing that PRP therapy is considered the more aggressive approach when compared with prolotherapy. This means that it may be more aggravating to the patient’s body, resulting in symptoms like swelling and pain, though these fade as more healing occurs. Typically, fewer than six treatment sessions are required.

Defining Prolotherapy

Like PRP treatments, prolotherapy is concerned with stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. However, there is no need to draw blood to undergo prolotherapy treatments.

Instead, dextrose, a sugar-like substance, is directly injected into the area of pain or injury. Dextrose acts as an irritant that stimulates the body’s healing response. This leads to faster recovery times from injuries.

In fact, prolotherapy has been shown to stimulate the body’s production of collagen. This extra collagen works to stabilize joints so that they can function more fully and properly.

With the area of concern stabilized and healing, pain and inflammation are reduced and may even begin to disappear. Accordingly, prolotherapy may be able to bring long-term relief in a way that other treatments cannot.

It is possible that patients will experience some heightened inflammation in the days after a prolotherapy treatment. However, such reactions typically are milder than those that are experienced with a PRP therapy session.

While PRP patients may undergo six or fewer sessions, it is not uncommon for patients to require eight or more prolotherapy sessions before full healing takes place.

Platelet-rich Plasma Injections or Prolotherapy: Which Is Right for You?

The condition for which you are seeking treatment largely will determine which therapy ultimately is right for you. If you are seeking care for issues such as arthritis, Achilles tendinosis, plantar fascia issues or tendonitis, then PRP is most likely to benefit you.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing problems with your:

  • Back;
  • Knees;
  • Hips;
  • Shoulders; or
  • Joints and ligaments

then your doctor is likely to recommend prolotherapy.

The good news is that both choices are relatively painless as far as the actual treatments go. Your doctor may administer a local anesthesia to ensure your comfort. Although patients do tend to experience some pain and swelling in the days following a treatment, these symptoms typically are not as severe as what they were experiencing before the treatment. Moreover, these symptoms subside relatively quickly.

How to Prepare for PRP Treatments or Prolotherapy

It is critical that either one of these treatments is only provided by a licensed healthcare practitioner. This ensures not only your health and safety but also ensures you of a better chance to make a full recovery.

Your doctor will need to take a full medical history to determine whether or not you have an existing condition that would make these therapies unwise for you. A screening process and a physical examination may be a part of this process.

Rest assured that these steps are only taken to protect your best interests, and that every precaution will be taken to ensure that you experience only the best in care.

Your doctor likely will ask you many questions with regard to how your pain began, where in your body it is centered and whether or not you have a preference for one therapy type over another. There may be cases in which either therapy may be beneficial. Nonetheless, there also are cases in which only one therapy or the other is suggested.

Ultimately, the choice of therapy will come down to a consultation between you and your caregiver.

Before you begin treatment, your doctor will give you explicit instructions regarding stopping the use of aspirin or other over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow instructions carefully to ensure the best results from your therapy treatment.

Similarly, your doctor will provide detailed instructions for care after receiving a treatment. This may involve hours or even days of rest after the treatment and refraining from driving for 24 hours after treatment among other instructions.

Contact Integrative Physical Health

If you are consulting with a chiropractor for spinal adjustment or other care, then your doctor may recommend a course of PRP or prolotherapy to aid in your healing. It is possible that these treatments can lead to permanent healing of an injury, whether old or new. These therapies also can bring significant relief for people who suffer from arthritis or other forms of chronic pain.

If you are interested in learning more about regenerative health therapies and how they might help you to live your best life, contact Integrative Physical Health. Our healthcare professionals are ready to guide you toward a healthier tomorrow.

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