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Can PRP Help My Arthritic Joints?

Painful, inflamed joints can decrease your quality of life. You may struggle to do the things you want and need to do, as well as the things you enjoy. Constant pain can even impact your relationships with people you care about. 

At Downtown Pain Management, our staff, led by Dr. Ron Ben-Meir, wants to help you live a full, active life with the least possible amount of pain. Arthritis is often a progressive disease, but there are ways to slow it down and control the pain it causes. We understand that pain medication isn’t always the best approach, which is why we offer services such as platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP).

Platelets

Your blood contains platelets, which are a powerful and important tool for healing. Here’s an example of how platelets work: Imagine you’ve cut your finger. You immediately feel pain, which is your brain signaling that something has gone wrong. Your body immediately goes into “fix it” mode. The platelets in your blood get to work and bind together so your blood clots and you stop bleeding. 

Platelets also release chemicals called cytokines that trigger a response from your immune system to protect you from any germs that might have entered through the cut. Platelets also begin to transform as necessary into whatever cells you need to heal. Platelets can become skin cells or ligament cells or cartilage cells. 

PRP therapy 

When you have PRP therapy, Dr. Ben-Meier uses the platelets in your blood to stimulate healing. The first step is drawing some of your blood, which is then processed so the components separate. Once it’s separated, he injects the plasma, which is rich in platelet cells into the area that needs to be healed. 

If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, for example, he will inject the platelet-rich plasma precisely in the part of your joint that has degenerating tissue and is causing your pain. The platelets do their job and rush to the area that is injured and begin transforming themselves into what your body needs. 

The science

There have been some studies of PRP that had excellent results and some that were inconclusive. All of them, however, found very little risk to the procedure. 

As research continues, PRP is an increasingly popular therapy both among physicians like Dr. Ben-Meier who has seen it work for his patients and among patients themselves, who have reported less pain and a slower progression of arthritis. 

PRP isn’t a miracle cure for painful joints, but it is one of several tools that can help you live with less pain and enjoy a higher quality of life. If you’d like to learn more about this innovative, drug-free approach to treating joint pain, book an appointment at Downtown Pain Management.

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