What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)?

Oct 2, 2020PRP, PRP Therapy


It’s truly a pioneering time for anyone looking for holistic, noninvasive ways to pursue pain relief and wellness at any stage of life. One treatment that is helping many people to enjoy rejuvenation following injury is something called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. PRP unlocks the potential for the body to activate its own healing powers with just a little bit of help from science. Take a look at why PRP may be a viable option if you’re seeking a way to heal a painful injury using a procedure that only requires an in-office visit.

Can Anyone Get PRP?

While PRP has been available since the 1970s, it has seen a sharp increase in popularity after being highlighted by celebrities and athletes. What makes PRP unique is that it uses a patient’s own blood to stimulate healing. One doesn’t need to be a star athlete on the professional circuit to heal an injury using PRP. This treatment is now widely available for people dealing with both sports-related and common injuries.

Why Is PRP Effective?

According to research, “What is known is that PRP contains a high concentration of platelets and that these platelets, once activated, release numerous growth factors into the surrounding environment.” These growth factors appear to assist with healing by stimulating the production of cells that are capable of repairing tissue. PRP is considered to be much safer than other therapies involving plasma or DNA materials because it uses the patient’s own blood. This greatly reduces the risks for bodily rejection and blood infections.

When Is PRP Used?

PRP is generally used to treat tissue injuries that aren’t healing on their own. This therapy can be especially effective in areas of the body where blood supply is low. PRP is commonly used to repair injuries affecting the following:

  • Tendons.
  • Ligaments.
  • Cartilage.
  • Muscles.

Some patients also find success when using PRP to treat chronic and degenerative issues like osteoarthritis. Recent research points to the idea that PRP injections can create significant improvements in patients living with knee osteoarthritis (KOA). When deciding if PRP is an appropriate treatment that is likely to be successful, care providers often look at the location, nature and severity of an injury.

One of the major benefits of PRP is that it is far less invasive than a surgical intervention. It is also a much less expensive option than surgery. PRP is an outpatient procedure that doesn’t require any of the traditional recovery time or wound healing associated with invasive therapies.

Using Your Own Plasma to Heal an Injury

To begin PRP treatment, a blood sample is drawn. That sample is them placed in a centrifuge that rotates blood to separate it into layers based on density. The platelet-rich portion of blood retrieved during this process is used for PRP treatments.

Prior to injection, the plasma taken from the patient is activated using ultraviolet light in preparation for reaching the site of the injury. The prepared PRP is injected directly into the area that requires healing. This is a noninvasive, relatively quick procedure with minimal downtime. Results are typically experienced within a few weeks. If a patient does not feel any significant difference within a month’s time, this may be a sign that a PRP treatment was unsuccessful. Many patients require several PRP injections to achieve their full desired outcomes after seeing a noticeable improvement following the first injection.

Is PRP Always the Best Option?

PRP is certainly an exciting development for the world of sports medicine because it allows people to seek relief, healing and regeneration without costly or risky surgical procedures. However, it is not always the most appropriate choice for healing pain and injuries. A number of factors should be looked at when determining whether or not PRP is the best strategy for healing a specific injury or degenerative issue. In addition, it’s also important to touch on the risks of PRP. While this is considered a very low-risk procedure, it is not a no-risk procedure. A small number of patients have reported negative outcomes regarding PRP treatments.

While promising, PRP does not have a success rate of 100 percent. There is not complete clarity regarding PRP’s effectiveness for treating things like ligament injuries and musculoskeletal issues. As a result, people suffering from these types of conditions might want to consider seeking stimulating therapies that use touch and adjustment on a consistent basis to promote natural healing.

PRP should also not necessarily be looked at as a standalone treatment. In fact, solely focusing on PRP to heal an injury may cause a patient to cut down the full healing potential available to them. Generally, using physical exercises and spinal adjustment can enhance the effects of PRP.

Creating a Full Treatment Plan for Long-Term Healing and Wellness

Many patients who are seeking PRP also find great benefit in utilizing spinal adjustment in place of or in collaboration with PRP. Like PRP, spinal adjustment is focused on restoring tissue and stimulating the body’s own natural healing abilities. People with chronic or sports-related injuries are often walking around with undetected blockages called subluxations that restrict blood flow to areas of the body. As a result, inflammation triggers pain signals in the brain while cutting injured areas off from a constant supply of oxygen. We know that the natural healing process can be greatly hindered in areas of the body that experience poor blood supply due to their location or tissue composition. Adding a blockage within the nervous system that slows down blood flow can be detrimental for healing. This is one of the reasons why people who are in interested in treatments like PRP are often interested in learning about the way chiropractic adjustments foster stimulation within the circulatory system.

When dealing with sports injuries, it’s always important to seek medical attention immediately to address sprains and breakage. However, chiropractic care can play an important role in facilitating long-term healing from sports injuries. Here’s a look at the conditions that chiropractors commonly treat using noninvasive methods:

  • Sprains and strains.
  • Knee injuries.
  • Swollen muscles.
  • Achilles-tendon injuries.
  • Shin splints.
  • Dislocation.
  • Fractures.

Inflammation can linger for months and years following acute treatment for a serious fracture or breakage. What’s more, blockages and subluxations can make it difficult for the body’s own plasma to heal the injury from within. This is precisely why PRP is such an effective, targeted treatment. Combining PRP with a spinal adjustment that properly realigns the body to clear a blockage can amplify the treatment’s positive results.

Healing Without Surgery: Should You Consider Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a very promising option for people seeking pain relief and restored function without the need for expensive, invasive surgeries that require long recovery periods. The first step is having a conversation with your care provider to go over your medical history, pain experience, and expectations. Generally, the way to make the most of PRP treatment is to make it a part of an overall plan for restoring the body’s ability to heal itself.

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