What is platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP)?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of therapy used in sports medicine. Although the technique is still being improved upon and perfected, it has been used since the middle of the 1990s in oral and dental surgery to help with soft tissue recovery after surgery. Many people have benefitted from PRP therapy, and it has recently become more well-known-about within the sports sphere when Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward from the Pittsburgh Steelers got PRP treatment before they ended up winning Super Bowl XLIII. Many other high-profile athletes have also tried PRP therapy, including Bartolo Colon and Takashi Saito (both Major League Baseball pitchers), and Tiger Woods, who got four PRP treatments after getting knee surgery. 

How does PRP therapy work?

People unfamiliar with PRP treatment may be wondering how exactly it works. PRP therapy sessions take about twenty minutes, and they begin with extracting thirty milliliters of the patient’s blood. This blood sample is put inside of a centrifuge so that the blood will be split into its parts, including platelet-rich plasma. After that, the doctor will inject these concentrated platelets into the area of the body that is being treated. Ultrasound is often used for accuracy. 

The function of platelets in the body is to repair injured tissues. Because of this, they are a natural source of growth factors in the body that are essential to healing. Platelets secrete growth factors that are able to stimulate tissue healing in the body by tenocyte-related protein and gene production, enhancing the proliferation of tendon stem cells, and upping how much collagen the body produces. These growth factors are also able to make cartilage be firmer and more resistant by stimulating blood flow to those areas. PRP treatment is able to activate tenocytes so that they proliferate more rapidly and create collagen to repair injured muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.

How long does it take to get results from PRP therapy?

People thinking about receiving PRP therapy wonder how long it will take before they begin to see results. The protocol that we follow is a series of 3 injections. The first injection is administered  and then a second after 2 weeks, the third injection is performed around 1 month after the second. As time goes on, you will notice that your endurance, strength, general mobility, and functional mobility will all increase. You will experience pain relief, and only will feel the positive effects. After between two to six weeks of receiving PRP therapy, patients begin to experience gradual improvement. Other people continue noticing improvement even six to nine months after receiving PRP treatment. In some studies that have been done, MRI and Ultrasound images have detected definitive tissue repair occurring after PRP treatment. This, along with other evidence, is proof that PRP can be beneficial for healing. By seeking out treatment for damaged tissues before the problem worsens, it can help people avoid having to get drastic treatments such as surgical interventions. 


What type of injuries can benefit from PRP Therapy?

PRP treatment can be used to treat a variety of injury types. Some of the injuries that PRP therapy can treat include tennis elbow, as well as injuries affecting areas such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, or rotator cuff. PRP can be helpful in treating most ligament or tendon injuries, except for total tears. PRP therapy is often the perfect thing for athletes that want to reduce their downtime after an injury, while also lessening their chances of getting injured again in the future. It can also lower your risk of getting a more serious injury in the future that could cause permanent disability or having to receive surgical intervention. 

It is important to remember that PRP therapy is not necessarily a substitute for receiving surgery. Although many people with chronic conditions receive relief from symptoms when they get PRP therapy, making them not have to get surgery, it is difficult to predict in which situations people will be able to heal sufficiently from PRP and when they will not. When an injury is chronic and has not managed to heal completely, it can cause excessive scar tissue to surround and go within the ligament or tendon. This can put the ligament or tendon at extra risk of getting injured again in the future, and can even cause impaired joint function. In many cases, if these injuries do not heal properly, it could be because there was not enough blood flow to the area. 

What can PRP therapy help with that other therapies can’t?

Because tendons have poor blood supply, and they are frequently under stress, they often experience chronic scarring and microscopic tears. The body can have a tough time healing these structures properly. It is thought that PRP works by initiating a response that makes the body think that a patient’s chronic condition is a new injury, and so it begins a renewed healing response. The PRP’s strong, concentrated healing factors augment this new healing response. Therefore, when PRP treatment is combined with reconditioning, it may prevent the injury from worsening and can improve the chance of successful healing. 

PRP is most often used in sports therapy, and more and more accomplished athletes use it every year. Some conditions that people have reported to successfully heal from after receiving PRP treatment include: rib problems, facet joint arthritis, Achilles tendon tendonitis, recurrent ankle sprains, peroneal tendonitis, strained or partially torn major knee ligaments, patellar tendonitis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, bursitis, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, rotator cuff issues, and more. 

Where can I get PRP therapy in Puyallup, Tacoma and Pierce County, WA?

At Nordquist Family Chiropractic and Regenerative Medicine, we implement PRP treatments to decrease the healing time for injuries, slow down or stop the progression of injuries and chronic conditions, and decrease the need for having to get invasive surgeries. PRP is a promising and developing form of therapy that can help people experience relief that they never had before. When you entrust your care to our chiropractors at Nordquist Family Chiropractic and Regenerative Medicine, you can be assured that we will help you recover and heal so that you can live the best life possible. Reach out to us for more information about how we can start you on the path to recovery. We will perform a health examination and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Please call us to set up an evaluation meeting to see if you are a candidate for PRP therapy.