Leading-edge medical treatments sometimes take decades to filter down to everyday patients, since expansive testing is usually required to assure that such treatments don’t have unwanted side effects. This is complicated by the fact that, often, two people may respond to drugs in very different ways. Sometimes, extremely large volumes of study are necessary to establish general trends about how treatments affect most people.
If it were possible to use your own tissue to treat disease and injury, it would be ideal, since this tissue would be free from side effects. You already know that your body can repair itself to some degree. Anyone who scraped their knees frequently as a child can look at the scar-free skin there now to know their body is capable of amazing healing.
There’s an entire field of study that looks at ways of enhancing your body’s natural recuperative systems. Degenerative conditions may occur only because your body can’t repair itself at a faster rate than the decline. Osteoarthritis is perhaps the best illustration for this. What if there were a safe and simple way to speed natural healing? Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy offers exactly this benefit.
How PRP works
You’re likely familiar with platelets as the blood component that helps those scraped knees clot, which stops bleeding and starts scab formation. Medical research is now finding out about other healing abilities contained within platelets. Meanwhile, PRP therapy, derived from the patient’s own blood, is in widespread use to reduce pain in arthritic joints as well as speeding recovery from soft tissue injury for many pro athletes. If you have joint or tendon issues, PRP may be a game-changer.
If you think about how platelets arrive at the site of an injury, you may realize that there’s a supply issue, since blood flow happens at a fixed rate. If your body uses up the available platelets, it must wait for more to be delivered, in the same way a factory may need to wait for parts before it can run production.
PRP therapy starts with a small sample of your blood, about the same amount as an ordinary blood test. This sample is then centrifuged to concentrate the platelets, which are then recombined with a small amount of plasma. This enriched mixture is then injected into the site of your joint pain or tendon injury. This extra influx of platelets is thought to serve as a healing boost, allowing your body to work that much faster.
Fast and safe
You can have blood drawn, concentrated and reinjected in less than an hour. Because it’s your own blood, this is a completely drug-free technique, with no risk of allergic reaction. In fact, there’s no more risk to PRP than with any treatment requiring a needle, such as blood tests or immunizations. This is a big reason why PRP is in common use, though there’s still much research to be done.
If you’re living with chronic joint pain, tendinitis, or other soft tissue injuries, PRP therapy may be just the ticket you need for fast recovery. Contact Ethos Integrative Medicine by phone or using the handy appointment request tool online to schedule a consultation to learn more about the benefits of PRP.