A 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 8.6 million Americans are injured playing sports each year. That’s 34 people out of every 1,000. Out of those injuries, sprains and strains led the pack at 44.1 per 1,000 injuries. Although most injuries don’t require a visit to the ER, they can often take a while to heal.
There are many ways to treat injuries, but few methods combine pain management and healing as well as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. These shots use your own blood to spur regrowth in damaged tissue and lessen pain.
At Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center, Behnam Khaleghi, MD and the rest of his staff will work with you to create a regenerative medicine plan to treat your injury. With regenerative medicine, you can both feel better and heal more quickly than without treatment.
The importance of platelets
Your blood does an astounding amount of work as it flows through your body. After an injury, the platelets in your blood help regenerate new tissue. In addition to helping your blood clot to seal wounds, platelets also act as growth factors to help your body repair and strengthen damaged tissue. The more platelets that are able to reach a certain area, the quicker the area will heal.
How PRP injections work
Platelet-rich plasma injections aim to mend your injury quickly by flooding your injured areas with platelets. The extra platelets can help stimulate the growth of new, healthy tissue. As a result, you can feel less pain because the tissue is healing quickly.
Getting PRP injections
To start, a small amount of blood is taken from your arm. It’s then placed into a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. After applying a local anesthetic, Dr. Khaleghi uses an ultrasound as a guide to inject the platelet serum into your injured tissue. The concentrated platelets, which contain 5-10 times more growth factors than normal blood, immediately go to work once injected.
PRP therapy works
A recent study done at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, Netherlands, compared PRP injections and corticosteroid shots in patients with tennis elbow. Although the corticosteroid shots provided more immediate pain relief, PRP therapy won out. After 26 weeks, patients who received platelet-rich plasma injections experienced less pain and had gained more movement. And a year after the treatment, PRP’s advantage held up. Patients had a 64% improvement in pain and an 84% improvement in movement.
Do you have a sports injury and want to see if PRP injections can help? Book an appointment online or over the phone with Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center today.