Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are one of the most minimally invasive techniques in interventional pain management. PRP is used in many aspects of pain management treatment, primarily as a natural remedy for pain.
Platelet Rich Plasma Injections
PRP injections use the regenerative properties from your body’s blood for healing purposes. Blood is the life-maintaining fluid that circulates through your entire body and it has many components including red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.
The plasma is the blood’s liquid portion, making it possible for the platelets to flow when injected easily. Platelets are a special component of blood that is famous for its clotting and healing abilities.
These two components are isolated from the other components of the patient’s blood by being spun at high speeds in a centrifuge. Once separated, the thin layer of platelet rich plasma extracted and then injected back into the desired location of the body.
Physicians utilize ultrasound or x-ray imaging to ensure they guide the PRP injection into the exact location of the injury to promote the best possible healing.
Does PRP Work?
The PRP concoction created focuses on healing injuries and relieving pain. The platelets promote healing by promoting/increasing a hormone called growth factors, or more specifically, platelet-derived growth factors (PDGF).
According to NIH, PDGFs were identified over three decades ago for their ability to signal the growth of fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and glial cells. The ability to promote these cells makes PRP an effective treatment option for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and muscle/ligament injuries.
What Can PRP Treat?
Arthritis, tendonitis, and muscle/ligament injuries respond well to platelet rich plasma therapy.
Some common conditions that stem from each category are:
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, facet joints
- Tendonitis: Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis (Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow)
- Muscle/Ligament Injuries: Meniscus or Labral tears
Why Use PRP Therapy?
The full mechanism for PRP therapy is unknown, but we know it can significantly speed up the body’s natural healing process. Especially in minor conditions and injuries that do not need advanced treatment. As with all injections, there are minor risks of infection and bleeding, but the chance is significantly lower since the serum is derived from the patient’s blood.