One of the issues with joint pain and mobility problems is that, apart from injury, many conditions that cause these symptoms are degenerative and without cure. Arthritis treatment focuses on symptom management and slowing the progression of the disease, but where pain is concerned, long-term pharmaceutical pain relief is often ineffective.
An emerging regenerative medicine technique that uses elements of a patient’s own blood shows promise. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has long been used in the sports world where fast recovery from injuries is a priority. Cosmetic procedures, like the so-called vampire facial, use PRP to rejuvenate complexions.
And some characteristics of PRP make it an excellent choice to treat joints, addressing both pain and mobility while often reducing your dependence on drug-based pain management. Franz Jones, DO, and his team specialize in PRP applications and frequently recommend it as a low-risk, natural addition to joint pain management plans. Here’s why.
The most natural source
In a sense, PRP goes directly back to the most qualified healer you’ve ever experienced, and that’s your own body. Perhaps as a child, you noted with wonder the way your body fixed common cuts and scrapes, making a tearful injury invisible within weeks.
You’re likely aware of some of the abilities of platelets in that process. They’re the solid component of your blood that starts clotting when you have a bleeding injury, creating the scab that covers over the hidden repair work until it falls off, magically revealing your healed skin.
Platelets also carry human growth factor hormones, chemical messengers that help manage the healing process. These growth factors act as body repair resources, the raw materials of healing. Usually, their quantities are limited by how well your bloodstream can deliver them. PRP therapy offers a way to help nature out by increasing that supply, right where you need it.
The PRP process
Using a sample of your blood, about the same amount taken for a simple blood test, processing starts in a centrifuge, another common blood test feature. The centrifuge separates blood into roughly three components.
The heaviest red blood cells sink to the bottom while the watery plasma sits on top. Between these layers, the medium-weight platelets settle. From here, they can be extracted and mixed with a small amount of the plasma, creating the PRP serum, which can be injected strategically into your body.
Why is PRP good for joints?
Some of the tissue in joints, such as cartilage and ligaments, aren’t heavily vascularized, meaning that blood delivery in those tissues is limited. They may receive nourishment primarily from fluid within a joint capsule rather than from blood, greatly limiting the benefits of platelets for joint repair.
Injecting PRP directly into a damaged joint provides a fresh store of growth factors, some of the resources needed to reduce inflammation that causes pain and reduces mobility. For some patients, PRP treatments produce remarkable results.
You may be able to regain ground in your fight to conquer joint pain and limited mobility. Contact Dr. Franz Jones — by phone or online — at one of his three southeast Florida offices to schedule a consultation to learn more about PRP.