Arthritis is a term that refers to more than 100 different conditions, all of which impact your joints. Roughly 15 million American adults have some form of arthritis, and millions more have other conditions that cause joint pain, such as fibromyalgia or traumatic injuries.
At LA Orthopaedic Specialists, our staff has extensive training in how to use a cutting-edge treatment called platelet-rich plasma injections to treat joint pain. Also known as PRP, these injections can help damaged tissue heal, relieve pain, and allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle.
PRP is revolutionizing the way we treat pain. Here, we explain why.
Your body is powerful
Your blood may look like just one substance, but it’s composed of four separate parts: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. When you have an injury, platelets cause your blood to clot, but they also contain proteins called growth factors that are powerful healing agents.
Imagine you’ve gotten a cut on your finger. The platelets in your blood get to work right away, stopping the bleeding so your body can immediately begin repairing the torn tissue. With their primary job completed, your platelets then release growth factors, which act as a call to action, signaling your body to send in additional resources, like stem cells.
PRP therapy taps into your body’s already existing healing response, and we can direct it to your painful joints. All of your body’s various responses work together to lower inflammation and start repairing your injury.
Why your joints hurt
In the vast majority of cases of joint pain, the pain isn’t because of the bones of the joint. Instead, it usually arises because of problems with the soft tissues in your joint. The ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage in your joints play critically important roles and can become damaged due to normal wear-and-tear, degenerative diseases, injury, or a host of other causes.
Our orthopedic surgeons can very often repair tendons, ligaments, and muscles, but problems with your cartilage are a different story. Your body doesn’t create new cartilage easily or quickly, which is one of the reasons PRP is a game-changer. It provides a way to help your body rebuild valuable cartilage and promote smoother joint function.
PRP comes from you
One of the best things about PRP therapy is that the injections come from your body’s own resources. First, we draw some of your blood and process it in a centrifuge, which isolates your platelets. This creates a concentration that is 5-10 times more powerful than platelet levels in a normal sample of your blood.
We then mix the concentrate with a small amount of your plasma. Finally, we use ultrasound imaging to guide us as we inject the PRP precisely into your joint where it’s needed. Once we inject the PRP, your platelets get to work, calling in more growth factors and stem cells to help rebuild your damaged tissue.
If you’d like to know more, schedule an appointment at LA Orthopaedic Specialists. We’re happy to answer your questions, and determine whether PRP therapy may be a good approach for you. Scheduling is easy: You can book online anytime, or you can call our downtown Los Angeles office during weekdays at 213-455-8448.