The aging process brings several striking changes to your body that go deeper than the physical observations you notice when looking in the mirror. Hidden beneath the surface of your skin, your joints are changing as well.
Joints form wherever two bones come together and create flexibility within your skeleton. They’re cushioned on each end by spongy pieces of cartilage. Synovial fluid keeps cartilage lubricated so your joints can move against each other smoothly.
As you age, your joints begin to dry out and your body produces less synovial fluid, leading to stiffer joint movement and less flexibility. When dry joints rub against each other, your cartilage begins wearing away. This deterioration causes varying degrees of joint disease, or arthritis, a condition characterized by pain, inflammation, stiffness, joint deformity, and decreased motion.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis — the degenerative arthritis associated with aging — is the most common.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy to the rescue
PRP is an innovative regenerative therapy designed to restore tissue health and function by triggering your body’s natural healing properties through the use of concentrated plasma and platelets.
Plasma is the liquid aspect of your blood. It’s mostly made up of water, but also contains red and white cells and naturally occurring substances like glucose, proteins, antibodies, and platelets.
Platelets naturally occur in your blood and play an important role in your cellular health. Not only do they help your blood clot when you’ve sustained an injury, but they also secrete substances high in growth factors that promote healing, stimulate tissue regeneration, and regulate cell division.
Once concentrated, the growth factors in plasma can be five to 10 times greater than normal. You can leverage those healing properties throughout your entire body.
PRP as a game-changing treatment for aging joints
The growth factors in platelet-rich plasma make it an effective therapy for treating several types of damage, whether it’s to bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, or cartilage. When used to treat the degenerative cartilage issues seen with aging and osteoarthritis, the regenerative nature of PRP therapy provides several advantages for your joints, including:
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Easing friction and increasing mobility
- Increasing the production of synovial fluid
PRP therapy also stimulates new cartilage growth, thereby slowing the progression of joint degeneration and osteoarthritis.
What to expect from PRP joint therapy
Preparing for your PRP injection involves a blood draw. Your blood sample is then filtered and centrifuged to create a dense concentration of platelets and white blood cells for use in your treatment.
The injection is delivered directly to the joint that’s causing your pain or stiffness. It’s common to experience mild swelling and discomfort following your injection, but this resolves within a week as the natural healing process in the area is triggered. Over the weeks as tissue regeneration occurs, inflammation and pain reduce while your range of motion increases.
The success of platelet-rich plasma therapy depends on several factors, including your overall health and the treatment location. There are few side effects or complications associated with platelet-rich plasma therapy.
If you’re suffering from stiffness or pain due to aging joints, call Westside Pain Specialists or schedule a consultation with Dr. James A. Nassiri through our online tool to see how PRP can ease your symptoms.