When PRP platelet rich plasma therapy was first researched several years ago, its potential effectiveness in the treatment of injuries was conjecture at best. Since then, much has been written about its use, and many famous athletes, such as golfer Tiger Woods and tennis star Rafael Nadal, have received PRP for their various problems. PRP can treat a wide range of ailments, such as sprained knees, stretched ligaments, and chronic tendon pains. Before PRP was discovered, these same ailments could only be treated with physical therapy, potentially habit-forming medications, and invasive surgeries. Still, questions of PRP therapy’s validity remain in the air. Many ask what platelet rich plasma is, how it works, and what conditions are being effectively treated.
What Is PRP Platelet Rich Plasma?
The fluid part of blood is much thicker than water and is referred to as plasma rather than liquid. Within the plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are found in abundance. You might know platelets for the body’s use of them in clotting blood. These tiny structures also contain proteins, called growth factors, which are a key ingredient in the speedy healing of bodily injuries. They not only help a scab plug a cut against infection, but also aid in the cut’s healing.
PRP is plasma that has been enriched with platelets, far beyond the usual count found in your blood. In fact, the levels of platelets within PRP can be five to ten times greater than usual. It gets absolutely crowded in there. In order to create PRP, blood must be drawn from a willing patient. This is why donating plasma is just as important as donating blood at your local blood donation clinic. The platelets are separated from the red and white blood cells and put through a process called centrifugation that increases their concentration. The concentration is then reintroduced to the remaining blood, creating a final product called PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma.
How PRP Can Treat Your Chronic Injuries
Because results vary depending on the area of the body being treated, the patient’s overall health, and whether the injury is acute or chronic, research studies are still being conducted on the validity of PRP therapy. Since each patient’s individual conditions can cause the treatment to be more or less effective, the results of these studies are so far inconclusive.
PRP therapy is most effective when used in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries, especially those such as tennis elbow. PRP therapy has also been used for similar chronic tendon injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis or jumper’s knee. However, it is too soon to say definitively whether PRP platelet rich plasma therapy is more effective than traditional treatment of such chronic injuries.