Understanding When PRP Therapy Is Your Best Option

PRP Therapy, Northwestern Suburban Pain Center

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be very effective in spurring on natural healing processes that help people heal after injuries or surgery. Unlike invasive surgeries, PRP injections don’t require anesthesia or incisions, which means they also don’t involve as many risks. There’s also not a long recovery time after treatment. Plus, PRP injections don’t carry the risks associated with long-term use of pain medications, risks that include dependency, liver damage, and problems with the gastrointestinal tract.

Still, as many benefits as it offers, PRP isn’t always the best choice for every patient and every type of injury. This quick review of PRP treatments at Northwest Suburban Pain Center and how and when they’re used can help you decide if PRP treatment is an option worth exploring for your needs.

Where does PRP come from?

PRP comes from your own blood. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood, and platelets are components of blood that contain proteins called growth factors, which play an important role in healing damaged tissues. Before your treatment begins, a small sample of your blood will be taken, about the same amount as you’d have drawn during a routine blood test.

The sample is processed using a special machine designed to separate the platelets from the rest of your blood. Then those platelets are concentrated, mixed with your plasma, and reinjected into your body, right at the site of your injury. It takes about a half hour to draw your blood and process it. Since PRP comes from your own blood, you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions or rejections.

How does PRP work?

The effects of PRP begin soon after the injections deliver the solution to the site of injury. Growth factors in PRP work to trigger healing responses, signaling other nearby cells that can also help with healing. Part of that healing response includes the production of new collagen fibers. Collagen is important for rebuilding muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In fact, collagen plays a big role in helping these tissues stay healthy and strong.

Growth factors also control other parts of the healing process, including helping new, healthy cells “grow” into the cells that are needed to repair damage. In this way, PRP is somewhat similar to stem cell therapy, and in fact, sometimes the two are used together to heal injuries. Since the PRP solution is injected directly into the area of damage, the solution remains concentrated where it's needed most for more effective healing.

When PRP injections can be a good choice

Because it helps the body repair damage naturally, PRP injections are especially well suited to injuries involving soft and connective tissues, like muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. That includes conditions like osteoarthritis, as well as issues like:

And it’s also good for people with many types of lower back pain, including pain caused by disc problems and problems involving the facet joints (joints between the spine bones).

Perhaps most importantly, PRP can be a very good option for anyone who's had other types of conservative treatment like physical therapy and who hasn't achieved the level of healing and symptoms relief they want. In some people, it can help avoid or at least delay the need for more invasive treatment options like surgery.

Is PRP a good option for you?

Dealing with chronic pain from an injury or joint disease can have a big impact on your life, making even simple, everyday movements uncomfortable. PRP injections may be just what you need to help your body heal naturally so you can reduce painful symptoms and improve your mobility — and your overall enjoyment of life. To learn more about PRP therapy at Northwestern Suburban Pain Center and whether it might be a good choice for you, contact the practice today.

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