Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain, then you are not alone. In fact, it is the most commonly reported type of pain there is. Indeed, as the National Institutes For Health (NIH) note:
“Among clinically associated pain conditions, musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is the most frequent. MSK diseases are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability and have a major impact on the quality of life of patients. MSK pain affects hundreds of millions of people around the world.”
And this is why The London Pain Clinic strives to provide our new and existing patients from both the UK and abroad, with the latest state-of-the-art treatments, some of which can form part of their multi-faceted Holistic Personalised Treatment Program. One of these cutting-edge treatments is Platelet-Rich Plasma injections for painful knee, shoulder, foot, ankle, and elbow issues.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy(PRP)
The main principle of Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy is to provide patients with a natural treatment using platelets (fragmented cells which have proven healing properties) from their own blood. Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) is classed as a form of regenerative medicine which amplifies and harnesses the natural growth factors in our own blood cells, for the purpose of healing damaged tissue. The plasma itself is the liquid component of our blood, and is largely composed of water and proteins. Furthermore, the plasma serves as a medium for our red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, to travel around our body. (Note: platelets are blood cells which act to form blood clots and carry out other functions needed for growth and healing).
PRP is a concentration of one type of blood cell (platelets), which are vital for blood clotting. Your Pain Specialist will inject this concentration into a diseased or injured area of your body in order to speed up the healing of any damaged joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons, that your are suffering with. One of the major advantages of Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy, is that it can reduce a patient’s demand for over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, and opioids. In fact, your Pain Doctor will instruct you to stop taking anti-inflammatories at the time that you are undergoing PRP treatment, as the platelet-rich plasma optimises the initial inflammatory response linked to healing.
At the time of the treatment, which takes under an hour, your Pain Consultant will prepare your PRP injection by first cleaning your skin using an antiseptic agent, and then injecting a local anaesthetic in order to minimize pain. They will then extract one or more tubes of your own blood. (The amount that is extracted varies according to several factors, such as the area of musculoskeletal pain and degeneration that needs to be treated). The next stage involves spinning the extracted blood in a centrifuge in order to separate it into its various components: red and white blood cells, platelets, plasma etc. (Note: a centrifuge is a device which uses centrifugal force to subject a specimen to a specific constant force, e.g., to separate various components in a fluid).
The platelets are then gathered and concentrated to a level between 2 to 8 times their normal number. After this, the platelets are mixed into a blood plasma liquid base, which the Pain Doctor injects directly into the area of concern (such as a knee joint). In some instances, ultrasound imaging will be utilised in order to guide the injection.
To recap, patients’ own blood contains natural healing properties, which have the potential to repair:
- Damaged cartilage
- Ligaments, and
For example, if a renowned Pain Doctor such as Dr Mona Mubarak, who specialises in Platelet-Rich Plasma, (and has an impressive history of directing the application of leading-edge pain solutions), treats a patient for osteoarthritis, she will inject PRP directly into the affected joint with the aim of:
- Reducing pain
- Improving joint function
- Potentially halting, slowing, or even repairing cartilage damage
Once this PRP procedure is completed, you will be asked to stay in the treatment room for a short while for observation. After this, you will be able to go home and resume most of your normal activities.
Of note, generally speaking, Platelet-Rich Plasma injections serve as a relatively painless treatment option. However, a number of patients may experience some minor discomfort during the procedure, according to the extent, type, and location of the injection (based on the level of degeneration or injury being treated).
In summary, if you are suffering from long-term knee, shoulder, foot, ankle, or elbow issues, then Platelet Rich Plasma insertion could be an excellent treatment option. PRP injections are becoming more and more called for as an alternative to more conventional methods that do not give as much relief as a patient needs for optimal living.