Professional and amateur athletes put intense strain and pressure on their bodies, and sometimes that results in injury. Sprains, tendon and ligament injuries can take a long time to heal, and limit movement and functionality while they recover. There is generally a fair amount of chronic pain associated with this type of injury as well. The use of PRP injections to help speed a recovery is very promising, and has very few down sides.
What Are PRP Injections?
PRP stands for “platelet rich plasma”. Plasma is a component of the blood that contains a high concentration of the proteins called growth factors that let physical healing happen. PRP is a special type of plasma that is five to ten times more concentrated than normal. It contains more of the growth factors that allow the body to regenerate and heal.
In order to deliver treatment, the doctor administering the therapy will inject some of that solution into the body.
The Benefits of PRP Injection Therapy
For an athlete who relies on the health of the physical body, PRP Injections can help put a long term injury into a quicker healing state. Whereas previous generations depended upon surgery, physical therapy and medication, there is strong evidence that PRP injection therapy helps patients to heal with lower risks. Shown by studies to be best suited to treating tendon injuries, PRP injections are commonly used to treat inflammation and chronic injury.
In recent years, there have been studies of PRP used during surgery. While limited benefit has been found in the process of repairing tendons, bones and ligaments, patients do find more rapid soft tissue healing when PRP is used. Patients who have had PRP injections report a three month wait following the injection, in order to return to their full range of motion and work.
How Does PRP Injection Therapy Work?
A consultation with a medical doctor is the first step toward PRP injections. The doctor will evaluate the potential for PRP to help the patient heal more quickly. Many patients are surprised that their own blood is used in the process of creating the PRP injection. There are many reasons this is a good idea, including blood safety and the body’s ability to absorb the proteins properly. The blood draw that is required is not lengthy. The medical professional will separate out the plasma from the blood, and then concentrate the plasma using a centrifuge.
The medical professional may inject the PRP directly into the site of the injury, sometimes after the use of a topical anesthetic. While some people do find immediate relief from their injury related pain, there are many who report that the pain becomes worse for a time, until it finally resolves completely in a week or so.