What do Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant have in common? Yes, they’re all professional athletes, but they’ve also received Platelet Rich Plasma injections (PRP) for chronic pain.
Platelet Rich Plasma is a non-surgical therapy that takes the patient’s own blood and spins it in a centrifuge until the components separate. The platelets are then removed and injected back in to the patient where the injury occurred. This increased concentration of regenerative cells contain up to 10 times the healing factors of their normal concentration, which helps the body regenerate tissue and speeds up the healing process.
PRP is not a new therapy, (it’s been around for about a decade), but it’s begun to receive more attention in recent years, and not just among professional athletes. As we age, our bodies don’t deal with the wear and tear of our favorite activities as well. Running, tennis, biking and hiking can all have negative effects on our muscles and ligaments. Platelet Rich Plasma uses the body’s own resources to effectively heal itself. Most of the research for PRP has been targeted toward soft tissue injuries, like tendons, muscles and ligaments. However, PRP injections have also been proven effective against osteoarthritis and disc degeneration of the spine.
Because there is still a lot of research to be done on PRP, it is not covered by most insurance. But the non-surgical aspect is a big draw for athletes, both amateur and professional, looking for relief from chronic pain. In 2011, Kobe Bryant gained attention for receiving PRP injections in Germany. He had been suffering from arthritic knee problems. “"It wasn't long before the sports community figured out this stuff is really powerful," said Dr. Mayo Friedlis of the Capitol Spine and Pain Centers, a Washington, D.C.-area practice. "It's much better than cortisone and much better than surgery in a lot of cases. So athletes who wanted to maintain their careers of course jumped on it." (Full article here.)
If you suffer from chronic pain that’s slowing down your golf game or causing you to limp during your morning jog, Platelet Rich Plasma may be a treatment option for you. The doctors at The Washington Center for Pain Management can help you decide your best course of action for treating your pain without surgery. Call (425) 774-1538 or visit www.washingtonpain.com to learn more.