TREATMENT OF MUSKULOSKELETAL PAIN WITH PLATELET GROWTH FACTORS OR PLATELET-RICH PLASMA
Musculoskeletal pain is an umbrella term for pain in muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints including their nerves, cartilage and sacs.
WHAT IS PRP?
It stands for “Platelet-Rich Plasma”, and it’s the part of blood containing the highest concentration of the so-called Growth Factors.
These factors naturally activate the mechanisms of our organism to facilitate a faster tissue regeneration and a quicker recovery of muscle, joint and bone injuries.
HOW IS THE PRP TREATMENT PERFORMED?
The process is as follows:
Step 1 ==> Blood samples are taken from the patient, as in a standard blood test.
Step 2 ==> From the blood we extract the parts with rich growth-factors (PRP) and these are activated.
Step 3 ==> The rich plasma is injected again in the affected area.
With this technique, the body is prompted to initiate its natural tissue regeneration/injury healing processes in a boosted and accelerated way.
It’s a simple intervention, minimally invasive, very short (generally between 15-25 minutes) and no more painful than a normal injection, so in most cases it is carried out without anaesthesia.
HOW MANY INJECTIONS ARE NEEDED?
Normally, it is recommended to have 2 to 3 injections with one-week gaps between them; however it may vary depending on the type of injury, the degree of affectation and the patient’s evolution. Meanwhile, between every injection, the patient can carry on with his/her normal daily routines as usual.
WHICH ARE ITS ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER TREATMENTS?
The treatment with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) has many advantages over traditional techniques, but most importantly three:
It is quicker ==> Accelerates tissue regeneration, being able to return to normal or practising sports again in significantly less time than with other treatments.
It is safer ==> As the samples are taken from the patient’s own blood, it doesn’t have any risks to him/her.
It is more comfortable ==> It is such a simple treatment that does not require a hospital stay or aggressive techniques.
AND WHICH ARE ITS DISADVANTAGES OR CONSTRAINING FACTORS?
It doesn’t have any disadvantages over other treatments, and since it comes from the patient’s own blood, it doesn’t have any side effects or constraining factors such as rejection, allergy, contamination, etc.
The only risk is that which is inherent to any injection, as a minimal local infection. For the peace of mind of the patient, we will perform a careful follow-up and, should you notice any abnormal symptom or pain, please return to our medical centre immediately and a specialist will evaluate you.
SHOULD I REST AFTER THE TREATMENT?
The patient can lead a perfectly normal life, being careful not to practise any sports or making any intense effort during the first 24-48 hours. The injected area should be paid an extra amount of attention, and our team’s advice on rehabilitation should be followed accordingly as well.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO NOTICE ANY IMPROVEMENTS?
After a PRP injection, it is normal to notice an improvement after the second or third weeks of the treatment – in some occasions, an improvement has been noticed already in the first week. From there, the patient will continue to be stable, with a progressive improvement in consolidation, mobility and ability to perform activities as normal.
Occasionally, an improvement in the symptoms can be noticed already in the first week.
In the case of chronic pain it is necessary to be a little more patient since its effects become noticeable after a longer period of time.
I AM AN ATHLETE, HOW IS THIS TREATMENT BENEFICIAL TO ME IF I INJURE MYSELF?
Athletes, both professionals and amateurs, are greatly benefited by this treatment due to being more injury-prone and their necessity, or wish, to return to practising sports as soon as possible.
PRP treatment shortens recovery and rehabilitation times (by up to half), lessening the chances of a relapse as well. Not surprisingly, this method is widely used by elite athletes like Rafa Nadal or Xavi Hernández.
Besides, it is a technique which has been approved by the Anti-Doping Agency (as it has nothing in common with other performance enhancers as autologous blood transfusions).
IS IT ONLY TARGETED AT YOUNG PEOPLE OR ATHLETES?
Not at all. PRP is widely used and has regenerative properties for every kind of patient, whatever their age or physical activity might be. Anyone can suffer an injury with daily activities such as walking down stairs, or having the usual joint degeneration that comes after turning 60 years old (in those cases, it can even help avoiding surgery or the placement of a prosthesis).
The members of our medical team treat with PRP on a daily basis with very diverse group of people, with excellent results.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I CAN RECEIVE PRP TREATMENT?
Once our medical team decides on the ideal treatment for the patient, he/she will be thoroughly examined to decide if there might be any contraindications.
Generally, most patients are eligible for treatment. It is only contraindicated in some cases of a local infection, neoplastic processes and certain blood diseases. All this would be detected in the preliminary analytics, for the absolute security of the patient.
We perform every injection with ultrasound control at our clinic. By means of the ultrasound there is a much higher accuracy when injecting the affected anatomic element, which is sometimes hard to locate by anatomical references only. Likewise, the ultrasound guidance allows a very low complication rate, such as puncturing unwanted places (arteries, veins, nerves, organs…), something which could have serious consequences.
This technique allows for the pain to completely disappear or a significant decrease in its intensity, the elimination or mitigation of the degenerative process and, in most cases, avoid or delay a surgical operation that usually requires a great deal of physical therapy afterwards.
The most frequent injections performed in clinical practice of platelet growth factor are the following:
Tendinosis or tendinitis: in the Achilles, quadriceps, rotula, Iliopsoas, epicondylitis or the supraspinatus muscle atop the shoulder.
Arthroses: knee, hip, shoulder, lumbar facets.
Shoulder injuries,Elbow injuries,Back and hip injuries, Hand and wrist injuries, Knee injuries, Ankle and foot injuries
Please contact us for more information or to make an appointment