What Is PRP Therapy and How Does It Work?

Although the larger medical community is just beginning to recognize some of the therapeutic uses of platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine we have recognized its healing benefits for quite some time. Platelets, long known for assisting the clotting process, are also effective in accelerating the healing process.

Because our practice is open to complementary as well as traditional approaches, we investigate all well-tested methods of relieving pain and restoring function as they become available. PRP has been around for a lot longer than many people think — having been first discovered as an aid to healing in the 1970s.

What is PRP therapy?

True to its name, PRP is a treatment that uses a concentrated mixture of platelets (taken from the patient’s own blood) to assist in many different types of healing. Through intensive scientific research, it became clear decades ago that, in addition to helping blood to clot, platelets contain hundreds of growth factors that promote cell proliferation, a process that speeds healing in spinal, musculoskeletal, and other tissues.

How do doctors prepare PRP?

Once researchers realized the vital role platelets could play in wound healing, they decided to concentrate them to make them a more substantial proportion of the blood. This is now done by taking blood from the patient and putting it through a centrifuge that separates the platelets from the other (red and white) blood cells.

What does this accomplish?

This process provides blood that is five to ten times as platelet-rich as ordinary blood. When this platelet-rich blood is reinjected into the patient’s area of injury, it is powerful enough to greatly energize natural healing.

Because the PRP procedure is administered under sterile conditions, and because the patient is, after all, receiving his/her own altered blood, the only typical side effect is soreness at the injection site. After the treatment, patients are advised to rest for the remainder of the day and not engage in any vigorous activities involving the injected region for as long as their doctor advises.

Advantages of PRP When It Comes to Treating Back and Joint Injuries

The risk/benefit ratio of PRP is all in your favor. PRP has been proven valuable as a minimally invasive way of:

  • Decreasing pain
  • Stimulating healing and recovery from injury 
  • Increasing strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Carrying no more risk of infection, tissue damage or nerve injury 

than any other injection

  • Requiring little downtime
  • Reducing pain and inflammation pre-or-post surgery

Conditions PRP Helps, Even When Other Treatments Have Failed

Both acute injuries and chronic conditions we have successfully treated with PRP therapy include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Rotator cuff injuries 
  • Hamstring tears
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow 
  • Tendonitis
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • UCL tears 
  • Fractures
  • Torn ligaments

It should be remembered that PRP therapy does not work instantaneously. It is common for several weeks to elapse before improvement is noticed by the patient. But then, the relief of pain and increased mobility may be truly remarkable and enduring.

Like Most Medical Treatments, PRP Is Not for Everyone

Our skilled physiatrists always screen patients before recommending or administering PRP therapy by taking a full medical history and doing any necessary diagnostic tests prior to treatment. Patients with active infections, metastatic disease, certain blood or bleeding disorders, or skin problems are not good candidates for this treatment.

Contact Our Enlightened Team of Pain Management Experts

The professionals at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are broad-minded when it comes to using complementary as well as traditional methods of reducing pain and restoring function. Our primary goal is to make you feel better, so you can count on us to explore every avenue that will decrease your discomfort and dysfunction and restore your sense of overall well-being. Why not give us a call today?

Posted in PRP