Whether you’re a musician, athlete, laborer, or artist, you’re at risk for an overuse injury if you use repetitive motion in your vocation or avocation.
Unfortunately, the very movements that make you good at what you do also lead to damaged tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Even worse, you won’t be able to engage in your work or craft until those tissues have healed.
Overuse injuries can make it impossible to do your job or even accomplish simple tasks, such as walking up the stairs or opening cabinets or jars. Whether you suffer from knee pain, shoulder pain, or osteoarthritis, you must take time off to heal and rehabilitate to reduce the risk of further, perhaps permanent, injury.
At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our board-certified rheumatologists stay on the cutting-edge of therapies that help your body heal. That’s why we’ve been long-term proponents of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to accelerate healing and shorten recovery time.
How would your overuse injury benefit if you add PRP to your healing protocol? Read on to find out.
PRP is all you
When we prepare PRP serum, we start by withdrawing blood from your arm. The process is identical to that of giving blood for a blood test or donation. We clean your arm, insert a needle that’s attached to a test tube, and encourage you to make and release a fist to increase blood flow.
Depending on the extent of your injury, we may fill anywhere from one to several test tubes with your blood. We then place the test tubes in a special centrifuge that spins them rapidly to separate the plasma (i.e., protein-filled liquid portion of your blood) from the platelets (i.e., disc-shaped cells).
Platelets are cell fragments that your body uses to clot wounds to stop the bleeding at wound sites. Platelets are also filled with growth factors, proteins, and other healing ingredients that help your body rebuild and repair tissues.
We take the isolated platelets and mix them with a small amount of plasma, creating a concentration that has 5-10 times the amount of growth factors in non-concentrated blood. We then inject the PRP serum directly into your injured tissues, using ultrasound guidance.
Because PRP is made from your own blood, you don’t have side effects, but you may have temporary tenderness at the blood withdrawal and injection sites.
PRP speeds up healing
Because your body now has 5-10 times the concentration of ingredients it needs to build new tissue, create more collagen and elastin, and repair your wound, you heal faster.
In one study of the use of PRP in accelerating healing in fractures, those who received PRP healed at a rate of 81.1%, compared with 55.3% in the placebo group.
If you require surgical repair, we may add PRP directly to restored tissues. Again, the presence of the concentrated platelets, with their growth factors, allows you to heal more quickly, shortening your recovery time.
PRP helps many conditions
Doctors and other medical professionals now use regenerative therapies such as PRP to do everything from healing wounds and bones to restoring skin and hair. Some overuse injuries and other conditions that benefit from PRP include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Tendon injuries
- Arthritis pain
- Sports injuries
- Joint pain
In addition to accelerating healing, PRP helps you eliminate or reduce the need for painkillers. You may also no longer need steroids or other anti-inflammatories to manage pain as you heal.
If you have an overuse injury that’s keeping you away from doing the things you love, contact us today about PRP. Call the office nearest you — in Monroe, Flemington, or Somerville, New Jersey — or reach out with our online form.