Do you have an injury to your muscles, your joints, your tendons, or your ligaments? Arthritis? Are you researching ways to heal faster? The medical field has embraced Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as a way for people to recover quicker from injury.
The term began in the 1970s and the treatment made its way into the medical field in the 1980’s, with maxofillial treatment – which is treatment of the face, mouth, teeth, and jaws – and then the sports field began using it for the recovery from all kinds of injuries.
Here’s some things that you can learn about PRP and how it can be used in conjunction with physical therapy.
You have your blood drawn in the office and then they separate the plasma from the blood using a centrifuge machine – it spins rapidly to get the results. They are also seeking out certain proteins called growth factors. This can help healing.The doctor then injects it back into the problem area.
The thing with PRP is that it can normally cause swelling or inflammation in the area of the injection, and the last thing that you want to do is any physical activity. The doctor will likely have you rest a lot for the next week or so to allow that swelling to go down so that you can have a more normal range of motion to do any physical therapy activities. Each doctor follows a different set of guidelines based on their own experience, though, so please be sure to follow their instructions closely and communicate with them if the side effects seem more severe than anticipated.
The best part of PRP is that you are getting something from your own body. There are very few risks when it comes to something like this. It’s a great treatment for osteoarthritis in place of cortisone shots, which can wind up weakening tendons and ligaments if done repeatedly. This is why you hear of professional athletes only getting one cortisone shot for a particular injury to see if it works. Healthy cartilage can wind up possibly being damaged.
It can also help with pain, since anti-inflammatories can hurt your stomach, affect your blood pressure, and even possibly cause problems with your heart. This can be a much better alternative.
There are surgical options that may or may not work. Since there is no specific way to treat things like damaged tendons or arthritis, many see this as a worthwhile investment.
One of the issues that doctors have is when to even bring the treatment into play. Is this something that should be immediately done or should it be a last resort? For example – should rheumatoid arthritis patients see what else works for them or should they see it as the first option?
Another thing for them to consider, and this could push it to the con side, too: What exactly should be the balance of platelets versus the white blood cells? How much should even be injected in the first place? Also, there is some questions about how effective this is in parts of the body that are not the elbow, muscles, and tendons.
There are people who are not eligible for this. They may have anemia, cancer, are pregnant, have a low platelet count, Platelet Dysfunction Syndrome, be undergoing antiplatelet treatment, a smoker or heavy drinker, have septicemia. They may also be allergic to cows, whose products play a big part in the process.
When it comes to the cost, you have to make sure that your insurance carrier covers it. If not, then you could wind up paying a lot more than you had originally anticipated. Many places will work with you with your budget, though. But this is something you must check in advance.
The thing with PRP is that it is not the ultimate cure. Once the swelling has gone down, you need to continue with any lifestyle modifications, like shedding pounds, doing physical therapy and exercises of your own, taping, and taking NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen in moderation.
This is intended as a basic guide. You need to talk with a doctor about whether this would work for you or if you should seek alternative options first. If you do meet all the criteria, then this could be an excellent choice.
Dr. Steven Moalemi and the staff at Empire Physical Medicine are very experienced when it comes to the use of PRP. They will work closely with you to ensure that it aids your own healing and that the whole process is a smooth one. Rest assured that you will have everything done in a thoroughly sanitized office – they clean them before and after every single patient comes in. Give them a call at 646-665-7109 to learn more and to make an appointment.