A therapy using blood cells, favored by pro athletes is fast becoming the "go to" medical treatment option for both those with joint pain and those who seek a less invasive alternative to surgery. PRP treatments or therapy is no longer just for elite athletes, it’s now available to you and me.”
Research shows that PRP therapy can speed up the healing process for a number of muscle, ligament and joint related issues. For the professional athlete, whose career is finite, shortened recovery times can be crucial to their successful return to the field after injury.
The list of athletes using prp treatments reads like a who's who of Hall of Famers:
The Pittsburgh Steelers all-time leading receiver Hines Ward, who used the treatment prior to the Super Bowl in 2009, and his teammate Troy Polamalu are two well-known NFL players who used PRP to get back on the field.
Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose from the NBA and Alex Rodriguez, who underwent five platelet rich plasma therapy treatments to increase the healing process and accelerate recovery following a hip surgery that had left him in a great deal of pain are advocates of the therapy. Rodriguez' recovery time was shortened and his trainers were amazed at the incredible results.
Tiger Woods has used the therapy, and so has Maria Sharapova, and no, it's not the issue in her recent failed drug test.
What is PRP Therapy?
The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells. Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells. PRP’s (Platelet Rich Plasma) natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets directly into the area in need
To create PRP, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The process is handled manually by a lab technician, producing higher concentrations of platelets and purer concentration of the beneficial blood components
The sample is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the healing process. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a low risk of allergic reaction
Which injuries are treatable with this therapy?
- Knee Arthritis
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
- ACL Injuries
- Pelvic Pain and Instability
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Ankle Sprains
- Tendonitis and Ligament Sprains
Is the Therapy Good for Non Athletes?
Helping heal without surgery is good for all of us, including those of us who weren't endowed with athletic prowess, or those that no longer have the recuperative powers we had when we were young. A new front has opened up with this therapy, moving away from just athletic injury.
PRP is now being used to treat chronic osteoarthritis. There are over 20 million Americans affected by this degenerative disease and with this therapy, PRP has the potential to help nearly 10 percent of the adult population. It's not a cure, but a treatment that will improve joint function, reduce pain and possibly slow or repair cartilage damage. That could save so many from the long term adverse effects of this disease. This outpatient procedure only keeps you down for a few hours. Of course, recovery depends on which body part is being treated with injections, but the downtime is insignificant considering the upside and benefits.
Additionally, if you do choose surgery, take into consideration the other non-monetary factors like downtime, long term side effects, and infection to name a few. For these reasons, a “free surgery” can often be much more expensive than a paid PRP Injection.
This therapy whose trail was blazed by pro athletes trying to sustain their career, is helping all of us by making its way into mainstream treatment for injury. For those that are struggling with joint related issues, PRP may be just the ticket to help you recover from a nagging injury and a less invasive alternative to surgery.
Ask your doctor if PRP may be right for you.
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition