Exercise is healthy, but sometimes people push or strain their bodies too far. The result may be injuries to the ligaments, joints, and tendons. Conditions like osteoarthritis and tendonitis may develop over time as a result of these injuries as well as ordinary, repetitive use.
Many of these injuries and conditions are extremely painful. They may prevent people from working or participating in favorite activities and pastimes. Chronic pain can become debilitating, contributing to depression and loss of sleep.
Desperate for relief, people look for suitable treatments. Doctors may suggest surgery, but these procedures are inherently risky. Moreover, they tend to be expensive, and the recovery time that is involved can be extensive.
Unfortunately, the outcome from surgery isn’t guaranteed. These procedures sometimes are successful, but this is not always the case. This means that patients may undergo a difficult and painful surgery without receiving any appreciable benefit.
The good news is that regenerative medicine offers an alternative in the form of Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP.
Are you interested in learning more about platelet-rich plasma therapy? If so, keep reading, and then contact Integrative Physical Health to schedule an appointment. Actual healing may be closer than you think.
What Is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
A variety of orthopedic injuries, as well as degenerative conditions, may be treated with PRP. Here are just a few examples of the conditions that may be treated with PRP:
- Torn tendons
- Injuries to muscles
- Pain-related to arthritis
- Injured joints
- Tennis elbow
- Torn rotator cuffs
PRP injections are performed in doctor’s offices around the world. In fact, this treatment option is becoming increasingly popular to treat a wide range of conditions. It’s critical to understand that PRP therapy is not a miracle cure. Nonetheless, it plays a significant role in improving functionality and reducing pain.
Most PRP therapies require about 30 minutes from beginning to end. To start, a sample of the patient’s blood is collected. The sample is placed in a centrifuge in the doctor’s lab. After being spun at a high rate of speed, the blood naturally separates into various components.
One of the layers that forms after being spun in the centrifuge contains a significant concentration of platelets and stem cells. The layer containing the platelets and stem cells is separated from the rest and collected into a syringe. These platelets are then injected into the injured ligament, tendon, or joint. Occasionally, the doctor will use an ultrasound machine to help guide the needle into a precise location.
Are PRP Injections Risky?
The risks associated with PRP are incredibly low. This is mainly because the patient is simply being injected with their own blood. In general, no medications or other substances are added to the platelets that are injected into the injury.
Some patients do experience discomfort, soreness, or even pain after the treatment. This varies widely from one patient to the next.
Patients who receive PRP injections in the elbow, shoulder, or knee also may experience mild swelling. However, injections into joints typically cause less pain than those that go into muscles or tendons.
The pain and swelling from PRP injections typically last no longer than two or three days or at most one week.
How to Prepare for PRP Therapy
Before attending the appointment for a PRP injection, it may be sensible to check in with your general practitioner, cardiologist, or other specialists. This is because certain prescriptions may affect platelet function. If you are taking one of these medications, you may need to avoid it for a few days.
Many over-the-counter remedies such as naproxen, aspirin, Advil, and Alleve may interfere with platelet function. Taking them around the time of the injection may lessen the effectiveness of the injection. Typically, patients are asked to refrain from using these medications for about one week before receiving the treatment and for two weeks after the injection.
Tylenol is an exception to this as it does not affect platelet function.
What Is Recovery Time Like After PRP Treatment?
It is not unusual for patients to experience between two and three days of pain and swelling after treatment. Some patients may experience these symptoms for slightly longer. In general, patients who receive PRP injections into soft tissue are more likely to experience this discomfort for a longer time period. Stiffness is another common side effect. Tylenol generally is relied upon to manage pain.
Patients require prescription pain medications after PRP treatments only rarely. However, it is likely that patients may feel the need to rest a little more than they usually do in the days following treatment, though this by no means happens to everyone.
Most recipients of PRP injections begin to experience significant pain relief between three and four weeks after the therapy. Symptoms generally continue to improve for a period of between three and six months. The total recovery time may substantially vary depending upon the injury or condition that was treated with the injection.
For instance, it is not uncommon for patients who are being treated for osteoarthritis to respond more quickly to PRP treatments than those who are being treated for conditions such as patella tendonitis, golfers elbow, or tennis elbow.
Is PRP More Effective than Cortisone?
PRP generally is more effective than most other treatments because it promotes natural healing using components curated from the patient’s own blood. The platelets and stem cells that are contained in the injection are extraordinarily adept at promoting healing, increasing blood flow, and limiting inflammation. The result is actual healing, rather than simply masking pain.
Accordingly, PRP therapy actually causes tissues to regenerate or regrow. Contrast this with cortisone shots, which are really only capable of masking pain and inflammation. These shots do not help with healing, and they are not effective over the long term.
In fact, cortisone shots are associated with numerous troubling side effects like cartilage damage, which could actually worsen conditions such as osteoarthritis.
When comparing PRP to cortisone shots, it becomes clear that PRP is definitely the more effective choice. That’s because it can actually heal the injury and cause healthy tissue to regenerate while cortisone shots are merely a temporary solution to mask pain and swelling.
PRP Recovery Time vs. Surgery Recovery Time
PRP recovery time usually only lasts about two to three days, with even the most sensitive patients feeling back to full capacity within no more than one week.
Most patients don’t even need to limit their activities much in the days and weeks following an injection. Usually, their doctor simply recommends that they perform any activities that don’t cause them pain and discomfort.
Compare that to the recovery period for major surgery. It is not unusual for surgical patients to experience pain and swelling for as long as three months after the surgery. The pain frequently is so severe that they must take powerful prescription painkillers, which can be risky in themselves.
During the recovery from surgery, many patients are prohibited from participating in their usual activities, and they may find that performing daily tasks is difficult and painful.
Additionally, recovering from surgery frequently involves physical therapy. Patients may have to attend appointments anywhere from one to three times per week, and these appointments may go on for months.
Clearly, PRP therapy is a less invasive, less painful, and less time-consuming treatment option.
Contact Integrative Physical Health for More Details
Are you bothered by a painful, chronic condition? If so, then it’s worth finding out if PRP injections might be helpful.
When compared to other treatment options, PRP injections are:
- Less invasive.
- Easier to recover from.
- More likely to get you back to the life you love.
Stop suffering from conditions like osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and tennis elbow. Relief may be as quick and simple as a half-hour appointment for a PRP injection.
This minimally invasive, safe procedure promotes your body’s natural healing abilities. Trust the medical professionals at Integrative Physical Health to help put you on the road to recovery.