For more than a decade, a lot has been written and said about Platelet Rich Plasma therapy and its effectiveness in treating various injuries. The low-cost and limited number of side-effects has made this therapy popular among sports personalities for treating chronic tendon injuries and sprained knees. Prior to the advent of PRP, the above-mentioned health issues were treated with physical therapy, medications, and in severe cases, surgery.
World-renowned sports personalities, such as tennis star Rafael Nadal, golfer Tiger Woods, along with many others have received PRP injections to treat various health issues. Some sports-persons have even claimed that PRP helped them return back to their game more quickly compared to traditional medications and treatment modalities.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and Its Workings
The blood plasma is made up of three microscopic solid components: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The red blood cells are known to deliver oxygen to the nooks and crannies of our body, the white blood cells are an essential part of our immune system, and the platelets help in blood clotting.
Apart from helping the blood to clot, the platelets also contain protein substances called growth factors, which are an essential component for healing injuries. For the uninitiated, growth factors are responsible for stimulating the living cells to grow. The PRP concoction is basically blood plasma containing 5 to 10 times the amount of platelets than what is normally found in blood.
To prepare the PRP concoction, the doctors draw blood from the patient limiting the chances of possible side-effects. The platelets are then separated from the other components of the blood, with the help of a centrifuge, increasing their concentration. It is then mixed with the plasma and injected directly into the wound of the patient.
Efficacy of PRP Injections on Knee Arthritis: What Does Research Suggest?
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has emerged as an alternative treatment for a number of health issues including Osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease is the most chronic type of osteoarthritis condition observed in individuals. Commonly known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, this health condition takes place when the cartilage lending a cushioning effect between the joints disintegrates, leading to swelling, pain, and stiffness in the area.
With increasing number of studies showing evidence of tissue regeneration and quicker healing after ligament reconstruction in patients suffering from knee arthritis, Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy is fast gaining acceptance as an effective method of treatment for knee arthritis.
Research pertaining to the use of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for osteoarthritis and cartilage damage treatments had been underway since 2000. However, a majority of the research articles were published starting 2010.
The American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in November 2017 published a scientific report which stated the benefits of PRP therapy on reduced muscle strength in the knee joints and knee osteoarthritis. The study reported that compared to normal placebo (saline) treatment the PRP therapy significantly improved the stiffness, pain, and disability experienced by the patients while suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Furthermore, the PRP treatment was coupled with muscle strength training to enhance the end results.
In the same month of the same year, some researchers published a comprehensive summary of the latest findings on the efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy for knee arthritis in the scientific journal, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. In the published article, the researchers stated that PRP was effective in treating knee arthritis without alleviating any kind of adverse health risks.
Medical journal Arthroscopy, in 2015, published an article which claimed that PRP injections offered superior symptomatic relief compared to placebo or hyaluronic acid treatment for patients suffering from knee arthritis. This statement verified and confirmed conclusions of early research conducted in the field of PRP therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis. A 2014 study showed that Platelet Rich Plasma therapy yielded better results in reducing symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and improved the overall quality of life compared to placebo treatment and hyaluronic acid injections. Similarly, another study in 2013 also showed evidence of PRP being more effective than hyaluronic acid in treating low-grade osteoarthritis in active and younger patients.
In May of the same year, due to the presence of overwhelming positive evidence with respect to PRP therapy, researchers in Italy suggested that doctors must inform patients of this alternative treatment for knee arthritis and cartilage lesions.
There are many pieces of scientific evidence which show Platelet Rich Plasma therapy being effective for the treatment of knee arthritis of various grades. Furthermore, the minimal risks and low cost of this off-label treatment have made it quite popular among patients who are interested in trying out alternative treatment modalities.
However, doctor’s consultation and a prescription is a must before an individual decides to undergo the Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) therapy.
Posted on behalf of Advanced Healing Institute
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