There are many possible causes of joint pain, but the most common one is simple: your joints are aging. As you get older, the tissues in your joints become weaker, and your body may produce less of the fluid that keeps them lubricated.
You’re also more likely to experience inflammation in your joints as time goes by because of those weakening tissues and the lack of lubrication. All of these changes can lead to joint pain.
Standard treatment for joint pain only works sometimes. Approaches such as over-the-counter pain relievers only go so far, and you may well hesitate to take stronger pain medications. In addition to the risk of addiction, many pain medications have undesirable side effects.
Now, a relatively new treatment, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are helping ease joint pain for many people. Although PRP has been used during surgical procedures since the 1980s, it’s now being used to treat joint pain. At San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, we’re offering this form of regenerative therapy to our patients in the San Diego area.
Platelet-rich plasma is a substance derived from your own blood. Your blood is a complex fluid, and contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. All of these various components are in a liquid called plasma.
Platelets play a critical role in blood clotting and are part of the healing process. If you cut your finger, platelets stop the bleeding and begin healing. Platelets contain proteins called growth factors that assist your body in healing injuries.
When you have PRP injections, the process begins with having some of your blood drawn. The blood is then processed to separate the various components. The concentration of platelets in PRP is much greater than in regular blood, so your injections contain extra growth factors and have greater healing power.
When you have PRP therapy at San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, your doctor injects the PRP exactly where it’s needed. For example, if you have knee pain, your doctor injects the PRP precisely into the part of your knee joint that needs to heal in order to relieve your discomfort.
All those growth factors rush in and stimulate your body to begin healing the area. Whether your joint pain is due to inflammation, weakened cartilage, or other effects of aging, the platelets will stimulate healing and growth.
Because PRP comes from your own body, the chance of you having some kind of allergic reaction or problem as a result of the injection is very low.
You may experience some redness and pain immediately following the injection, but within a few days, you should begin to see improvement. Some studies have shown there’s a better healing response when PRP therapy and exercise therapy are combined.
You’re a unique individual, so your treatment plan is designed specifically for you. Your doctor may suggest exercise in combination with PRP therapy. It depends on a host of factors.
If you’d like to learn more about PRP therapy and whether or not you may be a candidate for the treatment, book an appoint online, or give us a call.