A sprained ligament triggers pain in a patient’s ankle, causing an intense hurt that makes it almost impossible to run and walk. Though the sprained ligament slowly begins to heal, a sudden injection of plasma enters the ankle and hundreds of proteins drift toward the site of the injury. The proteins collect around the wounded ligament and begin their processes of reproducing the connective tissue to speed healing. Platelet-rich plasma injections, otherwise known as PRP injections, have been aiding processes like bone grafting, wound healing and the warding off of post-surgery infections for more than 20 years. Physicians recently started using PRP injections to treat chronic pain, specifically for conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and spinal and neck pain.
What Are Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections?
The concept of PRP injections is derived from the action of platelets surrounding an injured body part and spurring the clotting cycle. During this process, the platelets release bioactive proteins, also known as growth factors, which regenerate tissue to heal the wound. A physician uses PRP injections to increase the power of the growth factors by removing some of the patient’s blood and placing it in a centrifuge to filter out red blood cells and plasma. The remaining combination of platelets and white blood cells compose platelet-rich plasma and are concentrated five to seven times more than they normally would be when they are not separated from the rest of the blood. When the platelet-rich plasma is injected, the high concentration of the plasma allows for speedier tissue regeneration and recovery.
A physician first determines the exact location of the injury using ultrasound technology and follows with a local anesthetic injection at the location. The physician then injects the platelet-rich plasma; an ache or soreness after the injection indicates the healing process has begun. Though PRP injections can treat many different pain conditions, the procedure is not suitable for all injuries. For example, a torn ligament or tendon would fare better with surgery or stem cell treatment, while strains or sprains stand as ideal candidates for PRP injections.
The full PRP injection treatment takes about four to six months to heal an injury and consists of taking one to three injections every four to six weeks. Physicians declare PRP injections as safe practices; the injections use only the patient’s blood as opposed to transferring blood from another person and resulting infections are rare. However, the procedure should not be regarded as a quick process; the concept of PRP injections focuses on spreading the healing process so that injuries can recover properly and pain can gradually subside.
For more information, contact the Pain Relief Center in Plano, TX.