PRP: A Game-Changer for Painful Aging Joints

PRP, joints, Qvita Health and Wellness

Joint pain is one of the most common medical complaints for both women and men, especially as the years take their toll. Most age-related joint pain can be attributed at least in part to osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that occurs when the joint surfaces start to wear away from years of wear and tear, causing painful inflammation which in turn can increase the damage inside the joint structures. Other times, joint pain occurs from excessive strain on a joint that causes injuries to the tendons or ligaments.

Traditionally, joint pain has been treated with physical therapy and long courses of medications to both numb the pain and, ideally, decrease inflammation. The problem with medications is that over time, they can take their own negative toll on your health, and neither drugs nor physical therapy help address the underlying inflammation and joint damage that’s the root cause of painful symptoms.

In recent years, doctors and medical researchers have become interested in using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to promote natural healing responses inside the joint, enabling the body to in effect heal and repair itself. PRP has shown a lot of benefits for patients with joint pain due to both osteoarthritis and overuse injuries (like tennis elbow, for instance). Here’s how it works.

What is PRP?

PRP is a product that’s made from your own blood. Like the name implies, it’s enriched with platelets — tiny structures found in blood that play major roles in healing. Prior to a PRP treatment, a sample of your own blood is extracted and placed in a special device that separates the platelets from the rest of your blood. Then those platelets are recombined with some of your plasma (the liquid part of your blood) before being injected into the site of injury.

One of the benefits of PRP is that because it’s made from your own blood, you won’t have the same risks of allergic reaction or rejection that can occur with solutions or other products from “outside” sources. Plus, since PRP uses needles to inject the solution into the joint area, there’s no need for more invasive surgical procedures.

How it works

PRP works in a couple of ways to promote natural joint healing. First, by injecting the PRP solution into the joint area, a basic healing response is initiated. Your body responds by recruiting special “agents” whose sole purpose is to help repair areas where a controlled injury has taken place. That includes the site of an injection.

But unlike other types of injections, PRP also works by promoting deeper healing responses. Platelets contain special growth factor proteins that help the body repair itself. Once PRP is injected into the damaged joint area, those proteins stimulate healing to help repair damaged tissue, including cartilage and tendons that help your joints move freely and without discomfort or stiffness. In addition, researchers think PRP may work in other ways to reduce joint pain, including reducing inflammation that causes most types of pain, and possibly by increasing the natural lubricating fluid found inside your joints.

PRP injections: What to expect

At Qvita Health and Wellness, we perform both the blood extraction (just like a normal blood draw) and processing, as well as the injections, right on site. During your appointment, a small sample of blood will be drawn and then placed in the centrifuge device for separating and processing. Once the PRP is extracted, it will be injected into the joint area to help “jump-start” the healing process.

Afterward, you might have some soreness in your joint as a result of the injection, but any discomfort will resolve after the initial healing begins. You’ll also need to rest the joint for a period of time afterward to give the platelets time to initiate those natural healing responses. Since osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, you’ll probably need to have injections repeated in the future to keep the joint structures in good shape.

Put an end to your joint pain

PRP can help you relieve your joint pain and improve the way your joints work so you can get back to the activities you love. To learn more about PRP treatments at Qvita Health and Wellness and how they can help you feel your best, book an appointment online today.

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