Whether due to arthritis or an injury, damage to a joint affects your function and mobility in addition to causing pain. Traditionally, treatment for joint damage revolves around managing your symptoms, hoping your body can repair the damage over time, or even undergoing surgery.

But with advances in medical research and treatment, you may have a better option. At Lighthouse Medical Center, Nithya Mathai, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, may be able to help your body repair the damage with platelet-rich plasma therapy, known as PRP.  

Powers of PRP
When you’re suffering from joint pain, you may find it difficult to believe that your body has everything it needs to heal the damage causing your pain. When you have a cut on your hand, for example, your body reacts by sending its healing cells — platelets, stem cells, growth factors, and other specialized proteins — to the wound site. Together, these cells stop the bleeding, create new tissue, and repair the damage. That’s the idea behind PRP.

PRP is a solution we create from a sample of your own blood that we spin in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from your blood’s other components, creating a concentration of your body’s most powerful healing weapons. When applied to an area that needs extra healing support, like your injured knee, these healing properties get to work to repair the damage, usually at an accelerated pace.

Professional athletes have been taking advantage of the powers of PRP for years to help them recover from their injuries so they can get back to doing what they love. In many cases, PRP has allowed these athletes to heal faster and prevent the need for invasive surgery.

Conditions that benefit from PRP
At Lighthouse Medical Center, we use PRP for a range of conditions, from sports injuries to degenerative joint disease. You may want to consider PRP therapy if your joint damage is due to:

 - Osteoarthritis
 - Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
 - Tendinitis or tendinosis
 - Rotator cuff injuries
 - Meniscus tears
 - Muscle strains

If you need surgery to repair joint damage, PRP can help accelerate the healing process. Platelet-rich plasma therapy has also been used as an adjunct treatment for the healing of fractures.

How to prepare and what to expect
PRP induces inflammation, so in order for you to get the best results, you need to stop taking anti-inflammatory medication before your injections. We provide specific instructions on how to prepare on a case-by-case basis. Other than your anti-inflammatories, there’s not much else you need to do before your treatment.

During your procedure, we first draw a sample of blood from your arm to create your PRP. Once it’s ready, we inject the preparation directly into your damaged joint. As noted, PRP induces inflammation, so you may experience some redness and swelling after your injection — and this is a good sign.

However, you still need to continue to abstain from the use of your anti-inflammatory medication so the healing properties in your blood can repair your damaged joint. Depending on the site of the injection and your overall health, we may suggest you take it easy for the rest of the day following your injection. But, in most cases, downtime isn’t necessary.

PRP is powerful, but don’t expect quick results. It takes your body time to repair damaged tissue, and you may not notice improvements in your joint for several weeks or months.

Your joints are complex and carry out many vital functions, and any damage can significantly affect your day-to-day life. But you don’t have to suffer and hope your joint damage heals when you have regenerative medicine options like PRP. To learn more about this breakthrough treatment, call Lighthouse Medical Center or request an appointment online today.