Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
Traditionally, physicians inject steroids and prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to treat pain from injuries, arthritis, tendinopathy (inflammation of tendon), tendon tears, and similar conditions. These medications decrease pain by decreasing inflammation, which unfortunately also stops the body’s healing process. They may also come with other unwanted side effects.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a revolutionary new injection technique that decreases pain while enhancing the body’s ability to heal itself. One of a growing number of restorative therapies, PRP is an effective way to treat sports injuries to joints, tendons, and ligaments, arthritic joints, lower back pain, degenerative disc disease, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL tears, rotator cuff tears, and plantar fasciitis.
In this drug-free therapy, a physician extracts one to two ounces of blood from the patient’s vein and spins it in a centrifuge. This process separates out the platelets, which are cells that secrete growth factors to promote healing. The doctor then injects that platelet-rich plasma back into the patient at the site of injury, where it spurs the repair of injured tissue by temporarily increasing inflammation. Most patients experience relief within several weeks.
Professional athletes use PRP to treat their injured joints, tendons, and ligaments. According to the Wall Street Journal, golf legend Tiger Woods used it on his left knee before four majors. Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee used PRP to relieve an abdominal strain, while Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward used it to treat a strained calf and a sprained knee ligament before the team went on to win the Super Bowl.
I use PRP either separately or as part of a treatment protocol in combination with nutrition therapy, natural hormone replacement therapy, reduction of toxic load (such as chelation therapy, detoxification, or removing foods the person is sensitive to), vitamin therapy, or homeopathy. I also use PRP injections for cosmetic purposes to enhance collagen production in the age-affected (collagen-poor) areas of the face, neck, arms, and hands. Generally, two to three treatments are advised, but sometimes one injection is all that it takes to restore youthful skin.