Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) eases joint pain the best way possible: by healing damaged tissues and reducing inflammation. Orthopedic specialists often use PRP to heal joint injuries. It also effectively relieves pain caused by osteoarthritis.
As a rheumatologist and expert in regenerative medicine treatments such as PRP, Behnam Khaleghi, MD, at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center has extensive experience in using PRP, ensuring the best results with PRP injections containing the optimal concentration of platelets.
Keep reading to learn how PRP works and why it’s such a good option for joint pain, especially osteoarthritis.
PRP’s role in healing
PRP consists of plasma (the liquid part of your blood) and concentrated platelets, cells normally found in your bloodstream. Platelets are essential for your body’s natural healing response.
When you’re injured, platelets travel through your bloodstream to the injured tissues and release specialized substances called growth factors.
The growth factors then trigger cellular activities that promote healing. Though healing can still take several weeks, PRP produces long-lasting pain relief.
How PRP relieves joint pain
We produce PRP in the office from your own blood. First, we draw a blood sample, then we process it in a centrifuge that separates the platelets and plasma from the other blood components. Once we have your PRP, we use real-time imaging to guide the needle into your joint and inject the platelets at the damaged tissues.
PRP serves an important role in your joints because many of the joint’s tissues don’t have a good blood supply. As a result, they can’t get enough platelets to heal properly. Depositing a high concentration of platelets results in the surge of growth factors needed to heal the injured tissues.
PRP injections ease joint pain caused by cartilage, muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries. PRP treatments can also help reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. However, we most often use PRP to treat the complex tissue damage caused by osteoarthritis.
PRP for osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis develops as cartilage breaks down over years of joint movement. Damaged cartilage can’t heal on its own because it lacks blood vessels. Additionally, osteoarthritis increases the death of cells that normally regenerate new cartilage.
The cartilage damage alone leads to pain and stiffness, but that’s not the only joint problems caused by osteoarthritis. As the disease progresses, inflammation develops, the supporting cellular matrix breaks down, and the bones under the cartilage become damaged.
PRP treats the painful joint damage caused by osteoarthritis as its growth factors:
- Regulate and reduce inflammation
- Inhibit the death of cartilage-regenerating cells
- Stimulate the growth of new cartilage-producing cells
- Prevent tissue deterioration caused by inflammation
- Rebuild the supporting cellular matrix
- Stimulate bone growth and healing
- Promote collagen production
If you still have joint pain despite conventional treatments, PRP may be the next best step. To learn more, call one of our offices in Laguna Hills or Tustin, California, or request an appointment online today.