Learn more about PRP
and how it can be beneficial for you.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) /
PRP is a procedure used to treat muscle and joint issues, which presents our patients with long lasting relief from pain and inflammation, without the use of drugs or surgery.
The body’s natural healing process is harnessed in this simple, safe process. The relief from symptoms my patients experience does not wear off over time as with traditional pain medication or surgery, making it one of my favorite treatments to offer.
Many people have heard of “vampire facials” (much less frightening and more luxurious than they sound), which are a type of PRP cosmetic treatment used to boost collagen, elastin, and healthy cell formation in the facial skin. PRP is also used in the cosmetic industry to stimulate renewed circulation and healthy follicles in the scalp. However, in addition to its cosmetic uses, this science has been studied and utilized by medical doctors for many years to treat injured and inflamed body tissues. It is believed that PRP injections can relieve the pain of arthritis, joint injury and swelling, muscle tears, and strains. As a result, the athletic community is buzzing with accounts of incredible healing from sports injuries and rapid recovery from surgery when PRP is used as an adjunct.
With rising popularity among professional athletes and their trainers, PRP injections effectively treat joint and muscle concerns, allowing injured individuals to resume their activities and competitions with no issues. The more that it is used and studied, the more promising possibilities are for future use in any setting where rapid healing is needed.
How is PRP used? /
Regardless of the extent or type of injury, the first phase involves tiny myofibrils, little stretchy bands in our muscles, being ruptured and inflammatory cells invading the area. Platelets, which are sent to the injury site, will adhere to exposed collagen and activate to release growth factors and cytokines. The regenerative phase begins after a few days. This is a key time for muscle cell regeneration and it is influenced by the composition of growth factors present in the area. Satellite cells are influenced to become either muscle cells, or fibrotic scar tissue depending on the growth factors present, delivered in plasma and platelets. Injection of these growth factors into a damaged ligament, tendons or a joint will stimulate and accelerate natural repair processes in areas where they have stalled or where rapid recovery is desired.
This treatment has also been used during surgical procedures to assist with shoulder rotator cuff and Achilles tendon repair. In addition, it has been reported as highly effective in repairing chronically injured muscles and tendons and other old injuries which have not healed properly.
Clinical trials are ongoing with medical practices all over the world using this revolutionary treatment to rapidly heal and restore healthy soft tissues.
What is PRP? /
PRP is a minimally invasive, in office procedure with rapid recovery and very few adverse effects.
Platelet rich plasma is a liquid, injectable product taken from a patient’s own blood, spun down, and separated. A small amount (roughly 20 ml) of blood is separated in office to allow for the platelets and plasma to be injected into the chosen area.
It is believed that the growth factors carried in PRP recruit cells that heal and repair soft tissue at the site of an injury. Human blood consists of roughly 93% red blood cells, 6% white cells, and 1% platelets/plasma. Platelets are well known for their blood-clotting capabilities; however, the scope of their function is more significant. They are also critical to injury healing because they are naturally very rich in connective tissue, growth, and healing factors.
Is PRP a better solution to heal injuries? /
The interest in PRP may be growing in part because traditional cures for joint problems like arthritis, torn ligaments, and tendon damage are only mildly effective.
Surgery is sometimes effective but often results are temporary or the pain and damage worsens over time. Although doctors often prescribe cortisone shots to address inflammation in swollen joints, they only temporarily address pain and do not solve the underlying problem. Traditionally, ice and anti-inflammatory medications have been standard care but the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can alter the delicate chemical process that leads to healthy new cell formation instead of scar tissue.
Many people are taking high, daily doses of pain medications which not only harm the body but are inefficient. Patients are understandably frustrated with the solutions offered for treating joint and muscle pain which is why I am pleased to offer a safe, natural and very effective alternative. Nothing could be more natural than using your body’s own healing properties to target and accelerate recovery.
How fast will I notice results after my PRP therapy?
Unlike invasive and drug-related treatments, PRP offers sustained results and can be categorized as a permanent solution. The timeframe for symptom relief will vary depending on the treatment area and extent of the injury. However, most of our patients begin to notice reduced pain or increased function within four to six weeks of their first PRP injection session.
The second week post-treatment, remodeling will begin, which involves the development of the muscle fibers, retraction and reorganization of scar tissue, and strengthening of function. Continuing a well-designed course of physical therapy and avoiding reinjury through intense, physical activity is advised for a few weeks following injections. I schedule follow up appointments to assess progress and determine whether future, ongoing treatment is necessary.
Do I need to be concerned about pain or side effects ?/
The process of creating PRP is quick and pain-free and the treatment itself is conveniently carried out in the same visit.
The process of drawing blood and preparing it for injection takes about 25 minutes and the whole treatment usually requires less than an hour. I will inject the PRP into your injured or inflamed joint or muscle injury area. Injections are completed with ultrasound image guidance to ensure the precise and accurate placement of product to the target structure. The number of treatments may vary between clients but will usually range between 2 and 6 sessions. Patients usually report significant reduction in pain with just one or two treatments.
PRP injections are not typically painful but the specific body part being treated may affect this experience. For example, joint injections are minimally painful. A topical numbing agent can be used to help alleviate the sting of the needle. Post-procedure, people sometimes report minor swelling or pain which resolves within a day or two. Over the counter Tylenol is permitted if needed but you should avoid anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve, Advil, Motrin, Celebrex, Naproxin, and Mobic because they can impair the healing process. One of the best things about PRP therapy for muscle injury and joint pain is that adverse effects are extremely rare because there is no foreign material or medication being used. The very minor risk of infection, bleeding, or damage to a nerve will be discussed with you during your consultation.
PRP is a powerful aid to accelerate the body’s natural healing process. It can be used alongside other therapies including physiotherapy and surgery, yet it often helps to prevent the need for surgery. With minimal downtime, this safe, natural therapy is bringing relief to people from all walks of life who suffer from body injuries and pain, and it is one of our most popular services.