How PRP Can Treat Your Arthritis

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How PRP Can Treat Your Arthritis

Arthritis is a life-long condition. To date, there’s no cure. Treatment involves slowing the progress and treating the pain. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) holds promise as an innovative treatment. Read on to learn more.

Arthritis refers to many diseases that affect the joints of the body. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common and have no cure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly one-quarter of American adults have a diagnosed arthritic condition, with over 23 million reporting physical limitations because of their disease. 

Because arthritis can be a life-long issue, treatment can sometimes be difficult. While some efforts can slow the progress of your condition, sometimes pain management is a challenge due to the limitations of pain medications. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy provides a treatment that slows the deterioration of joints while also reducing the need for drug-based pain relief. Orthopedic shoulder surgeon Scott Ellsworth, MD, frequently includes PRP in arthritis treatment programs.  

What is PRP? 

PRP therapy is a treatment in which the platelets used come from your own body. You may already know that platelets are the blood components that form clots over cuts and scrapes. They also hold some of the raw materials needed for the healing process. 

In particular, growth factor hormones serve as chemical communicators to guide the natural recovery from injury. The theory behind PRP therapy is based on isolating platelets from a small sample of your own blood, then reinjecting them at a site where natural healing is underway. 

Arthritic joints are a common target for PRP injections. PRP is safe because it’s your own tissue, and it’s a drug-free treatment, so it’s easy to add to any arthritis management plan. While PRP therapy can’t cure arthritis, many people experience improved mobility and less pain after PRP treatments. 

The effects of PRP

The precise healing mechanisms behind PRP therapy aren’t fully understood, but since PRP injections carry very low risk, they’re gaining popularity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that PRP speeds up some of the mechanisms of healing, even if it can’t reverse the progress of arthritis. 

The benefits of PRP therapy are thought to include: 

  • Increased production of synovial fluid, a natural cushion and lubricant found in joint capsules
  • Formation of new cartilage tissue, compensating for arthritis-related cartilage loss
  • Slowing the rate at which osteoarthritis, the most common form of the disease, progresses
  • Reducing inflammation in the damaged joint
  • Altering the way nerves near the site of arthritis damage report pain

Not all people respond to PRP therapy in the same way. Results vary between dramatic improvement and less noticeable effects. The prime candidate for PRP is a person who no longer responds well to conventional treatments but is not yet ready for more aggressive treatments like complete joint replacement. 

You can learn more about the applications of PRP therapy during a consultation with Dr. Ellsworth. Contact his nearest office by phone or using the appointment request link on this page. PRP can be a sustainable arthritis treatment. Find out if it’s right for you by scheduling your visit today.