Nothing stops you in your tracks like damaged joints. Whether it’s in your knees, hips, shoulders, or elsewhere, the damage can make simple functions you take for granted become difficult, painful, or even impossible.
As you get older, the wear and tear deterioration of osteoarthritis is virtually impossible to avoid.
Once arthritis starts, it’s a matter of managing its progress and minimizing the effects. There’s no cure, so disease management is your only option.
Carlos A Uquillas, MD, offers platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to his patients who have joint issues. PRP is a drug-free alternative that reduces pain and slows the deterioration of joints. Contact Dr. Uquillas’s closest office to find out if PRP can help you.
The function of platelets
Your blood carries the proteins and nutrients that run your body. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to cells, white cells fight infection, and you probably know platelets best for their blood-clotting ability.
Platelets also carry components that aid your body’s natural repair abilities, hormones called human growth factors.
Regenerative medicine research looks at these growth factors as important messengers thought to trigger stem cells into differentiation, the change from a cell with no specific job into the type of cell necessary for a repair.
Providing more growth factors in the form of concentrated platelets may be able to speed your body’s response to injury, reducing pain, and improving the efficiency of repairs.
An autologous treatment
PRP is an autologous therapy, meaning simply that the blood used to create PRP serum is drawn from your own body. A sample similar in size to that taken during an average blood test is treated in a centrifuge. Heavier cells settle to the bottom, while the saline plasma floats to the top.
Between these layers, the middle-density platelets collect. These are carefully drawn off and comprise the active part of the PRP serum, which is now ready for injection at the site of a damaged joint.
The targets of PRP
It’s important to note that platelets themselves have no healing properties. Instead, they serve as a resource for your body to use.
Otherwise, healing at a site of damaged tissue is limited to resources in amounts delivered through regular blood flow. When it comes to cartilage and other joint tissue, there’s often little natural blood flow reaching them.
PRP can help your body naturally reduce pain while improving joint function. Research is still ongoing, though it’s suspected that the progression of cartilage damage slows or stops, and it’s hoped that, in the future, PRP may be able to assist cartilage regeneration.
A safe therapy
While research continues, PRP remains a valid addition to joint treatment for several reasons.
Since it’s drug-free, natural, and biocompatible with each patient, there’s literally no downside to treatment. Any injection carries a small risk of infection, but this is the same as when you give blood or receive an allergy shot.
Many patients experience pain relief that’s significant enough to reduce or eliminate their need for pain medications. That alone is key since drug therapies often cause other harmful side effects. PRP complements other treatments and therapies, adding another tool to your joint pain management plan.
Contact the nearest office of Carlos A Uquillas, MD, by phone or online, to schedule your consultation to find out more about the powers of PRP.