Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is an innovative and state-of-the-art procedure often used by athletes to speed the healing of damaged tissues. It can be used to help individuals who have suffered a variety of orthopedic injuries heal and get back on their feet sooner than with other types of treatments. PRP can help relieve pain and restore movement for older patients with aging joints.
The Challenges of Arthritis
Arthritis is common in older patients and is characterized by soreness, stiffness and inflammation in the joints. It can occur at any joint; however, age-related arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, most often occurs in the small joints of the fingers, in the knees and in the hips. According to the CDC, of people aged 45 to 64 years, 29.3 percent reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Of people aged 65 years or older, 49.6 percent reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Arthritis can make it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks. Pain relievers may be necessary, which have their own risks and the potential for complications. Other treatments include hyaluronic acid injections, corticosteroid injections, medication, physical therapy and surgery. Living with aging joints is difficult, but luckily, there’s hope. Today, a growing number of arthritis sufferers are turning to PRP.
Platelet-Rich Plasma for Arthritis
Platelet-rich plasma is created by taking a small amount of your blood and using a machine called a centrifuge to separate it into its different components — red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, and plasma. Then, the white blood cells and platelets are placed into the centrifuge a second time to draw out the platelets. Some of your plasma is added back into the platelets, thus readying the PRP for injection. This plasma preparation has between five and 10 times more platelets than blood alone. PRP is actually not a new procedure — it has been used for many years after surgery to speed the healing of wounds involving bones, ligaments and tendons.
PRP can be extremely helpful for the management of arthritis. It may:
- Reduce inflammation in the joints
- Slow down the progression of arthritis
- Help the body form new cartilage
- Boost the production of fluid within the joint, which lubricates bones, muscles and tendons for decreased friction during movement
- Reduce pain by changing how pain receptors in the area respond
There are numerous benefits that individuals with aging joints and chronic joint pain due to arthritis can enjoy with PRP treatments. Although scientists aren’t quite sure exactly how PRP works, it is believed that injecting plasma directly into the affected area stimulates healing more quickly and effectively than allowing the body to work on its own.
PRP Compared to Other Treatments for Aging Joints
PRP is relatively new; however, it is far less risky than other types of treatments used for arthritis.
- Cortisone injections can help reduce local inflammation and reduce pain, but continued use may damage healthy cartilage over time
- Physical therapy typically does not give patients marked improvement since the condition is chronic vs. rehabilitation after an injury
- NSAID pain relievers may cause stomach ulcers, especially when taken frequently or in larger doses
- Minor surgical procedures are invasive and are often not effective at relieving arthritis pain
- Joint replacement surgery requires a lot of downtime and should be used only in very severe cases of painful arthritis
PRP can help reduce pain and inflammation of the joints with little-to-no side effects. PRP treatments are generally safe, even if you take medications for other conditions, and the procedure is minimally invasive. The injections are done with a very fine needle, and most patients only see a small amount of bruising after the procedure, if anything at all. Relief can begin immediately, or it can take time for the body to respond to the treatment. Speak with your physician about your projected results.
Contact Orange Orthopaedic Associates Today
If you’re struggling with debilitating arthritis pain due to age or the overuse of joints, you may be an ideal candidate for PRP treatments. Harness the concentrated healing power of your own body to relieve pain and restore movement with PRP. Contact us for a consultation to learn more about PRP and to discuss if PRP is the right option for you. Call now at (973) 291-2080 or book your appointment online.