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Platelet-Rich Plasma

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Effectively treat chronic injuries with PRP, a non-surgical treatment option.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a non-surgical treatment option that’s becoming an increasingly common way to manage pain and promote tissue healing for athletes. Prepared from a patient’s own blood, PRP injections also have the potential to benefit other people dealing with discomfort related to an assortment of musculoskeletal conditions.

  • Most effective for chronic tendon injuries
  • Also shows promise when used for tissue damage
  • May benefit patients with arthritis, ligament injuries, back pain

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What it Is

Platelet-rich plasma is a concentrated mixture of blood that’s created with centrifugation, a high-speed spinning process that separates parts of blood. Normally, blood contains about one percent platelets, with the other 99 percent primarily consisting of red and white blood cells. By preparing a concentrated mixture, a greater volume of platelets can be delivered to the site of a tissue injury. Platelets play an important role in blood clotting and injury healing because of beneficial proteins called growth factors.

How it Works

PRP injections are prepared using a patient’s own blood. Once the mixture is prepared, it is injected into the affected area to promote healing. With tennis elbow, for example, PRP and a local anesthetic would be injected directly into the inflamed tissue around the elbow joint. If used around the spine, the injections are usually delivered with live X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) to ensure proper placement. Initially, pain may increase after the injection until the mixture starts to work on tissues.

Image indicating the pain spot for Platelet-rich plasma
Female jogger experiencing lower back pain needs a Platelet-rich plasma

When It’s Used

The treatment isn’t meant to be a first attempt at pain relief. If hot and cold applications, anti-inflammatory medications, and other common remedies aren’t sufficiently easing discomfort, PRP may be recommended. For some conditions that are causing mild tissue irritation, the treatment may minimize further degeneration and improve function. When combined with stem cells, it may also be an option for patients looking to delay or avoid surgery.

Candidates

Research suggests that PRP therapy is most effective on chronic tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, and Achilles tendonitis. PRP may be effective for promoting the healing of tissues irritated by osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis affecting knee, hip, spine, ankle, and shoulder joints. The treatment is also being used to benefit patients with other conditions involving soft tissue irritation, including:

  • Hamstring strains
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Disc-related pain affecting the lower back
  • Plantar fasciitis and similar foot tissue irritations
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapment conditions
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction

Unlike other injection-based pain management treatments like epidural injections and nerve blocks, platelet-rich plasma injections won’t wear off over time. The mixture works on tissues to promote healing rather than simply ease inflammation. PRP may also help promote healing when used during surgery to repair torn ligaments and tendons around joints, particularly the ones in knees and shoulders. While results will vary for each patient, risks associated with PRP injections are minimal.

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Testimonials

I have a pain syndrome that makes it difficult to do daily tasks, but the specialists here are helping me explore new pain management techniques all the time.
M. N.
I have been dealing with pain ever since a car accident years ago but really didn't want to resort to surgery. Los Angeles Pain Specialist has helped me and was patient with me while finding a non-invasive option.
T. L.
I wasn't sure I would ever be able to sleep through the night again, but the doctors here have worked with me to help alleviate pain I thought I would have to live with forever.
C. M.