PRP or Platelet-Rich Plasma
PRP is blood that has been enriched with platelets. PRP contains various growth factors that can stimulate healing.
How does PRP treatment work?
When the body is injured, a complex set of events occur in which the damaged tissue is broken down and removed, while new tissue is created. Some parts of the body are prone to poor healing – tendons and ligaments especially. Additionally, some people have an imbalance between breakdown and healing where the body tends to break down more than heal. PRP contains a complex array of growth factors that promote healing rather than painful inflammation and breakdown. PRP is an injection of potential – the patient must utilize the PRP to its full potential by adjusting their lifestyle, especially with proper exercise, to promote on-going healing beyond PRP which will provide an initial boost to that process.
Are PRP injections painful?
PRP injections, in general, are not considered painful. However, it often depends on the part of the body being treated. Injections into the joints typically cause a minimal amount of pain. The patient may experience some discomfort after the procedure, which can be remedied with over the counter Tylenol.
What conditions can be helped by a healing response?
Painful tendons, discs including ruptured or mildly degraded discs, ligaments, and joints can be stimulated to heal.
PRP for Tendonitis, back pain, arthritis
PRP has shown to be useful when addressing spine pain, tendonitis, and arthritis
Are there risks associated with PRP?
Like any injection, there is a small risk of infection, bleeding, or nerve damage. However, because the plasma-rich-platelets come from the patient’s own blood, there is little to no risk of infection or of the body rejecting the PRP.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem Cell Therapy is becoming more and more popular, to the point of exaggeration in many cases. Nonetheless, it is promising for the same indications as PRP to boost the healing process even more. Intuitively the idea is that stem cells self-propagate into the types of cells needed. However, based on research done, stem cells seem to exert a different effect where they help coordinate and stimulate the body’s own healing process even beyond what PRP is capable of accomplishing. At Acute Pain Therapies, we offer Stem Cell Therapy Guidance, to help candidates decided what’s best for them.
What are adult stem cells?
Somatic stem cells are found in the organs of children and adults and are able to divide, or self-renew, indefinitely. They are able to generate all the cell types of the organ where they originate. Because they do not require the destruction of an embryo to be harvested, the use of this type of stem cell is not controversial.
What conditions can be treated with Stem Cell Therapy?
The same conditions as PRP.
Top FAQs about Stem Cells:
Q: Nothing else has worked. Are stem cells the answer?
A: There is a lot of false propaganda about how stem cells are a panacea. One day that may be true. Currently the field is in its early stages. It has potential for promoting healing and for that reason our office is willing to provide the therapies to fully informed patients. However, we do not expect miracles. Stem cells may help a painful spine, joint, tendon, or ligamentous condition, especially if the injection is used as a spark to engage in a healthy lifestyle that will promote the healing potential of the cells. However, it should be used as an adjunctive treatment only, not a replacement for standard medical care.
Q: Is the use of stem cells ethical?
A: Our office uses adult stem cells from the patient’s own body (hip) which upon extraction from the hip is introduced into the injured area immediately after minimal manipulation – centrifugation. There is no religious ethical concern associated with this type of cell.
Q: Is the use of stem cells safe?
A: A lot of advertisements for stem cells suggest it is perfectly safe with no risk for complications. There is no such thing as a medical treatment without risks, side effects, or complications. While rare in the medical literature thus far, all studies of stem cells have been too small to definitively say that stem cell injection therapy is completely safe. It may eventually come to light that stem cell injection therapy is harmful. We do not believe that will happen, and for that reason we are willing to provide the treatment to patients willing to take that small but real risk in hopes that stem cells may bring them some healing and relief.
Other Regenerative Treatment Options
There are other treatment options that have their place. These options include:
- Alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M) and interleukin 1 receptor antagonist protein (iRap)
- Amniotic fluid
- Exosome products
The concept for all of the above is that they are somewhere in the mid-range of potency between PRP and stem cells, and can be a less expensive, less invasive option to use in addition to PRP to provide a more potent response if PRP is likely to be inadequate.