Advanced Regenerative Therapy in Braselton and Savannah, Georgia understands that life with joint pain can feel unrelenting. We want to do the best for our patients to help eliminate the day-to-day pain often associated with weak or achy joints, and one way that we can do this is by offering PRP joint injections.
What Are PRP Joint Injections?
PRP joint injections are a type of injection into the joint that is used to help control the pain and swelling in the joint by introducing your own plasma directly into the problematic area. These injections are used to treat pain stemming from a variety of sources and often provide quick, significant relief of symptoms.
Studies are still being done on this type of injection, but the outlook is promising. These injections promote healing in the joints and lubricating systems of the larger skeletal and muscular systems. Studies are showing that these injections not only relieve pain but could also alter the immune response to certain disorders and help reduce inflammation.
How Is PRP Acquired and Prepared?
A small quantity of your blood will be drawn before the injection. Once your blood sample is drawn, it will be placed in a centrifuge. Here, it will go through a process to isolate the layers of your blood. There are red cells, platelets, white cells, and plasma within your bloodstream.
The platelets and white cells will be isolated and centrifuged again. This will isolate only the platelets. Then, a small amount of the plasma will be added back into the platelets to create the injectable PRP serum.
How Do PRP Injections Work?
The platelets in your blood contain over 30 bioactive proteins. These proteins are used in the healing of normal body tissue. To do this, they secrete growth factors into your cell stream that triggers the process of healing a wound.
To put things simply, PRP injections activate the body in the same way it would normally react to a wound, but then amplifies it. The platelets in the injection enhance cell growth while also minimizing inflammation. This activates the healing process, which causes the tendons and muscles in the joint to temporarily strengthen and also triggers the body to activate its own natural pain reduction process.
Preparing for PRP Injections
Before you arrive for your PRP Injection, you need to be aware of some measures that are recommended to make the process easier and more effective.
No Anti-Inflammatories for One Week
Anti-inflammatories will work against the platelets in your bloodstream and can actually thin your bloodstream out, making the process of separating layers difficult or even impossible.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
The better hydrated you are, the quicker your body will “take” to the injection. Give yourself the best possible treatment by making sure you are taking in plenty of clear liquids in the days leading up to your appointment.
Relax and Be Ready
Injections can be scary. If you are having anxiety about the process, remember that it will only be a short pinch followed by a much longer duration of relief. It is also okay to talk to your doctor about an anti-anxiety medication if you feel the need for one.
Different people will have different experiences with the process. The most important thing to keep in mind as you go forward with your PRP injection is that your situation may or may not be like anyone else’s, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t worry if it doesn’t’ work out quite as you expect.
Causes of Joint Pain
There are a number of different situations that may present in joint pain. Depending on the cause of your joint pain, the recommendation for PRP joint injection will vary. Therefore, the best way to choose treatment is to understand what kind of joint pain you are dealing with.
There are dozens of causes of joint pain, but some are far more common than others.
All kinds of arthritis can cause pain in the joints. Arthritis is a general term that is used for a condition that causes joint pain, stiffness in the joints, swelling, or other related symptoms. The most common type of non-gout arthritis is called Osteoarthritis.
If you are struggling with osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage between the bones has begun to wear away, causing the bones to rub together. The joint fluid has also begun to become watery. This means there is less relief between the bones as they clash together. This causes pain and stiffness and is irreversible. Treating symptoms will provide your best and only relief.
Tendinitis is a disorder that is most often caused by repetitive but minor impact on an affected joint or area of the body. You typically see this cause joint pain in those who spend a lot of time bending, on their knees, or using their hands.
Tendinitis is common in those who do a lot of gardening, car repair, or farrier work with horses because of the uncomfortable body positioning that is often associated with these tasks. When the body spends a lot of time in an uncomfortable position, the tendons and joints of the body become sore.
Fibromyalgia is the second-most common issue that affects the joints, bones, and muscles. It is a fairly new diagnosis, though, and is often misdiagnosed or misunderstood.
Most commonly, fibromyalgia presents with joint pain and fatigue. There is no known cure for fibromyalgia at this time, but a combination of medication, exercise, stress management, and healthy habits can ease symptoms and, sometimes, joint injections can provide great relief of symptoms associated with joint pain.
Lupus is one of the most complicated and unpredictable diseases on the spectrum. Those who struggle with lupus usually have no warning how long or when symptoms will set in. Keeping track of symptoms, though, can sometimes reveal a pattern that can be treated with a pre-emptive joint injection.
Sometimes, a pocket of infection forms in a trouble area of the joint. You may not even realize that the infection is there until the pain starts. In these situations, you will need to be treated with antibiotics, and, in some cases, the abscess will be drained.
Gout is a very common and complicated type of arthritis that affects those from all walks of life. It is most often characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain with swelling, tenderness, and sometimes redness in the joints. The most usual joint affected is the one found at the base of the biggest toe on the foot.
The symptoms of gout tend to come and go as they please, but there are specific ways that these symptoms can be treated. One of which is with a pain-reducing injection into the affected joint.
Rickets is a skeletal disorder that forms when the body is lacking in Vitamin D or calcium phosphate. These nutrients are necessary to provide strong, healthy bones, so those who do not get enough of these nutrients may experience symptoms of soft bones, stunted growth, or pain.
If you have suffered from an injury to a joint, that joint may feel tender and sore for some time. Usually a slipped kneecap or a rolled ankle are the most common types of joint pain caused by an injury. These injuries can take a while to heal and, as they do, they will feel tender. It is not uncommon to treat this pain with an injection to help ease the ache until the joints can be used properly again.
Not all causes of joint pain are listed here, but these are the most common types of joint pain we see in our office. If you are unsure what is causing your joint pain, you should seek the assistance of a physician to help you narrow down the possibilities.
You should also bear in mind that there are other types of injections that do not include the use of PRP. If PRP is not right for your situation, you may find that one of the other options will be a better match.
Things to Know About PRP Joint Injections
Before getting a joint injection, there are some things you should probably familiarize yourself with regarding the use of injections, the process, and how they work.
Can Be Used as Diagnostic Tool
If there are various reasons why you may be suffering from joint pain, your doctor might actually choose to use an injection to help zero in on a diagnosis. These injections can help exclude one or more conditions, so a doctor may try the injection as a trial to see if relief comes.
They might also choose to diagnose pain based on where they inject the serum. For example, if you know your knee hurts, but don’t know why, then certain knee injuries or arthritic developments will respond on their own based upon where the injection is administered.
Results Will Vary
While there is a general timeline for how long relief may last, there is no way of knowing for certain. You might find that your injection only offers relief that lasts a couple of weeks, while someone else might get closer to a year of relief from the same treatment.
Similarly, you might find that your injection does not take effect as quickly as someone else’s. Some patients will experience almost immediate relief and notice a difference as they are leaving the office. Others will take a couple of weeks or even up to a month to begin to notice a change is taking place.
Therefore, you should not go into an injection treatment expecting the same or even similar results to another person. Your experience will be as completely unique as you are.
They Are Not Permanent
One thing that can be said for certain regarding the length of time you will receive relief is that it will not be permanent. You should go into your injection with the understanding that this is not a cure. It is a temporary relief of a troubling symptom.
The best way to end joint pain once and for all is to work with your doctor to treat the source. In some cases, there is no cure for the source, but a more permanent solution to your pain can be developed with proper medical intervention and therapies.
If you have other questions regarding the injection process, don’t worry. Your physician and staff will be happy to help you understand the way these injections work and what you can expect from your first and subsequent treatments.
Schedule a PRP Joint Injection Consult Today
If you are ready to tackle joint pain, contact Advanced Regenerative Therapy in Braselton or Savannah, Georgia today to schedule a consultation for joint injection therapy. Our friendly doctors and staff are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the process and help you find a solution for a pain-free way of life.