With the advancement in medical technology and knowledge, scientists can now create a unique concoction of cells derived from our body to treat a number of health conditions. The cells, found naturally in the body, are concentrated to create a mixture – Platelet Rich Plasma – which has emerged as a popular alternative treatment for musculoskeletal injuries.
The Platelet Rich Plasma therapy has been in practice for years and physicians have been refining this treatment modality since the 1990s. This therapeutic discourse has become popular due to its declining cost and low health risk, making it affordable to individuals, especially athletes, suffering from musculoskeletal injuries.
What Is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
The Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is a non-traditional, alternative treatment approach towards a number of musculoskeletal injuries. This non-surgical therapy boosts the body’s natural healing process by injecting a concoction made of concentrated blood platelets, plasma, cytokines, and growth factors. All of these elements are procured from our own blood which makes this treatment comparatively safe with limited side effects.
To create the PRP mixture, the doctors first draw blood from the patient’s body and puts it in a centrifuge to segregate different parts of the blood. Each of the elements has been chosen for its regenerative and healing qualities. While our blood has around 6 percent platelet, the PRP mixture injected into the affected area contains 94 percent platelets. Moreover, the mixture also consists of 5 to 10 times the amount of growth factors than what is normally found in our blood.
How Does the PRP Mixture Work?
To treat an injury, the PRP mixture is injected directly at the site of the affected area so that the healing process can start as fast as possible. This concentrated mixture boosts the natural healing prowess of the body to treat the wound quicker, without using external sources. PRP can be seen as providing the body with a biological boost to get faster, last longing results. Thanks to PRP’s effectiveness and minimum side effects, famous sports personalities such as Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods had undertaken this approach to heal themselves quickly.
The Effectiveness of PRP Therapy on Different Musculoskeletal Injuries in Athletes
Here we look into the efficacy of PRP therapy on different types of musculoskeletal injuries.
Partial Rotator Cuff Tear
- The treatment of partial rotator cuff tear has been a challenge to orthopedic surgeons for long. However, the researchers have established that PRP therapy has a positive influence on this injury and has been successful in treating the tear. Twenty individuals suffering from symptomatic partial rotator cuff tears participated in a 2017 study, where PRP mixtures were administered to them guided by ultrasounds. Eight weeks after the PRP injections it was found that 17 out of 20 patients displayed significant development in the affected area, leading to improved shoulder functions and a sharp decline in pain.
Common Extensor Tendinosis
- Common Extensor Tendinosis, popularly known as the Tennis Elbow, is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries plaguing athletes. Studies claim that the PRP treatment heals tennis elbow injuries much better than corticosteroid shots. The researchers also claim that PRP attracts healing factors to the injury site leading to quick healing. In a 2010 study, researchers randomly injected patients with either corticosteroids or PRP mixtures. The study participants suffered from chronic lateral epicondylitis, which is tennis elbow injury lasting for more than 6 months with pain ranging from 5 to 10 points.
Initially, the control group, which received corticosteroid injections, experienced faster pain relief. However, after a span of 26 weeks, it was seen that the PRP injected group experienced lesser pain and showed improvement in elbow function compared to the control group. Over a years time, the patients treated with PRP injections showed 84 percent improvement in elbow disability and 64 percent improvement in pain relief.
- Jumper’s Knee, medically known as the Patellar Tendinosis, affects many athletes, especially the ones engaged in games which require jumping. Scientific evaluations have shown that this chronic and disabling condition can cause pain and reduce knee function for an average of three years. Follow-up studies spanning over a duration of 15 years show that 53 percent of the study participants (athletes) who suffered from this condition had to quit sports due to reduced or damaged knee function.
A 2009 study looked into the efficacy of PRP treatment for jumper’s knee and found positive results after traditional medicine and treatment therapies failed to cure the condition. The study involved 15 patient’s suffering from chronic refractory patellar tendinopathy and treated them with PRP injections combined with physiotherapy. Following the treatment, a significant improvement was noticed in the patients and further development was documented at the end of six months after conducting physiotherapy in the affected area.
- Athletes in the course of their sports career are very much likely to suffer from hamstring injuries. The traditional methods of treating hamstring injury have failed till date to fasten up the healing process. It is likely due to this reason that the interest in PRP treatment for hamstring started becoming popular in the first place.
A research published in 2014 evaluated the efficacy of PRP therapy for acute hamstring injuries in 24 athletes within 7 days of sustaining the injury. All of the 24 athletes had suffered partial tears in their hamstring muscle fibers and a single PRP injection was administered randomly to some patients, directly in the affected area. It was observed that the treatment group patients who received PRP healed faster and returned back to their game quicker than the athletes in the control group.
The efficacy of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for musculoskeletal injuries is undeniable and fast gaining popularity in the sports community. It is recommended to go about the treatment after consulting a doctor for best results.
Posted on behalf of Advanced Healing Institute
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