You’ve had it. Your shoulder hurts. You’ve tried painkillers, hot baths, and heating pads, but nothing’s helped. Before you can treat your shoulder pain, you need to find out what’s causing it. Here’s how.
You may not play golf like Tiger Woods or basketball like Kobe Bryant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the same revolutionary therapies star athletes use to rehabilitate and repair damaged and aching joints.
Whether your joints are creaking from a poorly healed sports injury or because of age-related osteoarthritis, you can take advantage of the healing power of your own blood to restore joint function, just like Tiger, Kobe, and others do. Regenerative medicine expert Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Megid at Rheumatology Center of New Jersey heals your joints with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
Most of your blood is made up of a salty, protein-rich liquid called plasma. Your blood also contains a variety of solid components, namely red and white blood cells and platelets.
The red blood cells transport oxygen from your lungs to nourish your organs and tissues. The white blood cells are your immune system’s warriors, attacking invaders and fighting off infection. Your body uses platelets to clot your blood when you’re wounded or injured, so you can begin to heal and repair yourself.
Platelets are full of multiple growth factors that aid in wound healing, including platelet-derived growth factor and insulin-like growth factor.
When Dr. Abdel-Megid prepares PRP from your blood, he creates a platelet-concentrated form of plasma that’s then injected into the site of your injury. The dense concentration of platelets — about five times the normal concentration — jumpstarts healing so that your body can quickly repair your injury and restore function.
One of the most amazing things about PRP is that even though it’s a cutting-edge and revolutionary therapy, it’s simple to perform. During your appointment, Dr. Abdel-Megid removes about 30 milliliters of your blood with a syringe. He then puts the blood in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the rest of the solids and plasma.
Once Dr. Abdel-Megid has a high enough concentration of platelets, he mixes it with a small amount of plasma and injects the mixture into your injury. The whole process takes less than an hour. Depending on the extent of your injury or impaired mobility, you may need a series of treatments over time.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joint bones, which prevents them from rubbing against each other, wears down. Your cartilage might degrade as a result of getting older or from repetitive use such as constantly throwing a ball, kicking, or playing a musical instrument.
When Dr. Abdel-Megid injects PRP into your injured cartilage, the growth factors and other healing substances like cytokines stimulate your cartilage cells to produce new cells and blood vessels. Your body also produces more of the long-strand protein called collagen that helps your new cartilage tissues stay moist and robust.
Research has shown that PRP therapy improves pain, stiffness, and function in both men and women who suffer from osteoarthritis. Most men and women need at least two injections to find relief.
Athletes also use PRP to recover more quickly from a variety of injuries, including tendon and ligament injuries. PRP injections accelerate healing so athletes can return to their sport faster, with less risk of re-injury.
In addition to speeding recovery from an injury, Dr. Abdel-Megid uses PRP to improve:
He may recommend PRP therapy for tissues that support your joints if they’ve also been injured or torn.
To join the ranks of star athletes and find out if PRP regenerative medicine therapy is right for you, contact Dr. Abdel-Megid at Rheumatology Center of New Jersey. Phone the knowledgeable staff or book your appointment online.
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