Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): Why It’s a Game Changer for Treating Aging Joints

Have you noticed that as you age, your joints feel less and less youthful? Maybe you’re experiencing aches and pains around your joints that weren't there when you were younger. Or maybe you’ve injured yourself playing sports or in a car accident. At Metro Denver Pain Management in Greenwood Village and Parker, Colorado, we help many patients like you using effective and innovative treatments. One of these treatment methods is called platelet-rich plasma therapy.

What is platelet-rich plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma therapy, also known as PRP therapy, is a style of regenerative medicine that harnesses your body’s ability to heal itself. This ability comes from the use of your body’s blood components — specifically the platelets — which contain growth and healing factors.

PRP therapy is often used to repair damage to different tissues that make up your body’s joints, such as ligaments, muscles, tendons, cartilage, and even bone. The goal of PRP therapy is to reduce pain, improve your joint’s function, and slow or even repair damage to the cartilage in the injured joint. Some common joints that our patients experience symptoms in include the knee and shoulder joints.

What happens during a PRP therapy treatment?

During a PRP therapy treatment, one of our providers will draw your blood, usually from your arm, and then run it through a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of your blood components. Then we’ll use a needle and, when necessary, ultrasound guidance, to accurately inject the platelet-rich plasma into the treatment area. 

The entire procedure is safe, effective, and can be done in a single appointment. The procedure typically takes no longer than 30 minutes, but this depends on your specific case and how many affected areas of your body are receiving treatment.

Since the procedure uses your own blood, there is little risk of an adverse reaction, though there is a small chance of side effects that include pain at the injection site and infection. Generally, the treatment is well tolerated.

Who is a good candidate for PRP therapy?

Patients who make good candidates for PRP therapy are those who are suffering from joint pain related to illness, such as arthritis, or an injury from participating in physical activities or having an accident. We typically recommend PRP therapy to patients who have tried more conventional forms of treatment, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone shots, but have found little to no relief from them.

If you’re looking for relief from joint pain and are interested in learning more about how PRP can help you, call on of our offices or send us a message online for a consultation today.

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