You dive to make a catch. You pivot to give yourself enough space to chest pass to the man in the paint. You break a tackle. You hit your PR on bench press. All these scenarios often play out with little to no injury, but that is not always the case. If you have ever played sports or been involved in athletics at any level, you know that there is only one guarantee: Things are going to hurt. Maybe now, maybe later, but the people who escape their sports careers unscathed are few and far between. Careers are cut short, life after playing is different with limited mobility, pain in the shoulders, back, knees, and more are all too common. For years, toughing through the injury or surgery have been the only options presented to many: Until now.
A New Player on Your Healing Team
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been making its way into more media headlines, as numerous professional athletes are turning to this treatment option for their injuries. The question on so many minds is: “Can it work for me?”
PRP is a treatment that uses a patient's own blood cells to accelerate healing in a specific area. Using advanced techniques, white blood cells and bioactive proteins, called growth factors, and stem cell markers can be concentrated. This concentration can then be injected into the damaged area for tissue regeneration and repair.
PRP signals for stem cells and regenerative cells to initiate a process, called the healing cascade, that can be active for a 4–6-week period after each injection. Many patients notice reduced pain, increased strength, accelerated healing, and overall improvement in function following treatment. While PRP can be used with a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions, it is most commonly being utilized for pain in the knees, shoulders, hips, back, and neck. Many are choosing this minimally invasive option because it has less risks and side effects when compared to surgery or steroid injections and offers patients minimal to no downtime. Because the treatment is from the patient’s own blood, there is no danger of reactions, rejections, and little to no risk factors from the procedure.
For years, athletes have been choosing PRP treatments to avoid surgery and pain medications while rapidly advancing healing times. In recent years, because of advancements in technology, PRP is now widely available, and an affordable option, for the average American; however, before you sign up for PRP injections, there are some things you should know.
What You Should Know
1) Secondary conditions and compensations can impact the effectiveness of your treatment. Many individuals are seeking treatment after years of dealing with pain. By that time, their bodies have learned to compensate or favor the damaged tissues. Specific treatments (sometimes just stretches and exercises) need to be determined for the compensations, not just the painful parts.
2) The precision of the injection is an incredibly important factor. In highly damaged joints, such as a bone-on-bone knee, it can be very difficult to find the narrow joint space. Technologies, such as fluoroscopy, used during the procedure can make a world of difference in the overall outcome.
3) Diet matters. Because the concentration of PRP is coming from the patient’s blood, those who want the best possible results will want to eliminate inflammatory foods from their diet before the procedure; furthermore, avoiding cigarettes, excessive alcohol intake, and other drugs can improve the quality of the injections.
4) Patients need to be prepared to get enough injections to address the severity of the damaged tissue. While some experience relief after just one, significantly damaged tissues can require three or more injections to get the results they are looking for.
PRP has proven to be a wonderful option for many dealing with pain, including athletes of all ages! Blue Umbrella Medical Center has qualified providers who will evaluate your condition and be able to offer you the treatment options to address your individual concerns. Call today at (615) 610-6937 or click below to request your appointment today!