Joint pain is a common condition among people of all ages, although it tends to be more predominant among older people. Joint pain can be caused by many conditions including acute strains and sprains, overuse, bursitis, or a torn meniscus, but the most common cause is arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes pain, stiffness, a limited range of motion, and swelling. Although any joint can be affected by arthritis, the knees and hips are the joints most commonly affected. At Optimal Health & Wellness we offer PRP therapy for joint pain.
PRP Therapy for Joint Pain
Treatments for joint pain, particularly arthritis, tend to be fairly ineffective. Steroid injections can temporarily relieve pain, and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help control pain and inflammation. Physical therapy can sometimes be effective in relieving discomfort. However, in most cases, the arthritic process continues its course. When the pain begins to limit an individual’s ability to perform daily activities of living, generally surgical joint replacement is proposed. Although joint replacement can be a very effective treatment, it involves surgery, a recovery time and often additional surgeries to treat complications. PRP therapy is a treatment that could stop or even reverse the progression of arthritis, which is far preferable.
What Is PRP Therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentrated solution of platelets isolated from the patient’s own blood. In a procedure that takes about 15 minutes, a blood sample is centrifuged to concentrate the platelets and separate them from the red and white blood cells. Platelets contain a potent cocktail of growth factors and cytokines. When an acute injury occurs, platelets release their cocktail to induce blood clotting and tissue healing, and to attract stem cells and immune cells to the site of the injury to assist in the healing process. PRP has been used for many years to treat chronic and acute injuries; more recently, doctors have realized that PRP therapy can also be used to reverse degenerative diseases and to rejuvenate aging tissues.
How Does it Work for Joint Pain?
Damaged and degenerating cartilage has difficulty healing because it has a poor blood supply. Injecting PRP into the painful joint can trigger a robust healing process. The growth factors act directly on the damaged cartilage to induce healing while the cytokines attract stem cells to the joint, where they can differentiate into new cartilage cells and repair the damaged cartilage.
What Is PRP Therapy Like?
A normal blood sample is obtained from an arm vein and processed in the doctor’s office in a procedure that only takes about 15 minutes. The doctor then injects the PRP into the affected joint; in most cases, ultrasound or some other imaging method is used to guide the injections to the most damaged areas. Results are not immediately apparent and only gradually begin to emerge several weeks after the injection.