Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a cutting-edge procedure that’s highly effective for chronic pain and injuries. It uses your body’s own healing mechanisms and applies them right where you need them. At Westside Pain Specialists, we understand how this innovative procedure works and know that while it can help many, it’s not the right treatment for every pain condition.
To know if PRP can help with your chronic pain, you must understand how the treatment works and what ailments it can help. That’s why we’re here to discuss who makes a good candidate for PRP and who the procedure won’t help.
Platelet rich plasma 101: The basics
Within your blood, you have plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, the last of which are often associated with their ability to clot blood. But platelets do much more than blood clotting; they’re filled with growth factors that help you heal when you’re injured.
In PRP, your doctor takes about a vial of your blood and places it in a spinning centrifuge, which separates these platelets and your plasma from the rest of your blood. The doctor takes this plasma, which has five to 10 times more platelets in it than your normal blood, and injects it into your treatment area.
The PRP goes into effect immediately, using its growth factors to restore your injured tissue and draw other healing agents to it. With PRP injections, your body’s natural healing process becomes enhanced with its own blood ingredients, restoring your tissues and speeding your recovery.
Conditions PRP can treat
Here at Westside Pain Specialists, Dr. James Nassiri may recommend PRP to patients who experience chronic pain associated with the joint degeneration caused by osteoarthritis or those who have recurring soft-tissue injuries.
Some of the most common ailments our office treats with PRP include:
- Knee pain caused by arthritis
- Tennis elbow
- Achilles tendonitis
- Sports injuries
- Chronic ankle sprains and strains
- Muscle injuries
We may also suggest PRP as an option post-surgery to help you heal quicker and more effectively.
Qualities of a good PRP candidate
Because there’s no risk of rejection and minimal side effects associated with PRP, we often recommend it to patients who don’t find success with traditional options, such as physical therapy, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, or steroid injections. We may also opt for PRP when trying to delay (or even prevent) surgical interventions like joint replacements.
But having a PRP-treatable condition isn’t enough to qualify you for the procedure. We like to see PRP candidates with qualities like:
- Early to mid-degeneration
- Overall good health
- Interference with daily living due to pain or lack of mobility
- Failure with more conservative treatment methods
PRP also has a greater effect on younger patients than on older. This doesn’t mean that PRP is ineffective for older patients, just that younger patients have a more enhanced response with the treatment.
Who is not a candidate for PRP?
PRP isn’t the right choice for everybody. For instance, those with end-stage osteoarthritis or joint degeneration may not see results with the treatment. Other patients may have too many risks involved to have the treatment, including those who:
- Have an active infection or a metastatic disease
- Suffer from blood or bleeding disorders
- Are in active anticoagulation therapy
- Are anemic
- Are pregnant
If you’re allergic to cow products, let your doctor know before your PRP procedure. Some physicians may add a bovine product to enhance the treatment’s effects.