Today, platelet-rich plasma injections are one of the most popular pain-management treatments I offer at Integrated Pain Consultants. But they were not well-known outside the world of sports until a few years ago.
PRP injections use a patient’s own platelets, drawn from their blood, to treat pain in an afflicted area and stimulate healing. Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are cells within the bloodstream that form clots when a blood vessel is damaged.
For NBA fans, PRP injections made their first big appearance in 2011 when Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant flew to Germany for treatment on his right knee, ESPN reported. Other athletes, including golfer Tiger Woods, have also undergone the treatment.
More recently, Yahoo Sports reported that Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors got a PRP injection in his right knee after spraining it in the first round of the 2016 NBA finals.
Despite the increasing prevalence of PRP injections among athletes, sports journalists typically label the treatment “experimental.”
While the treatment is relatively new, recent medical research is increasingly supporting its benefits in pain management.
A 2013 study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that PRP injections provided greater pain relief than saline injections (a placebo). The study had a sample size of 78 patients with early osteoarthritis of the knee.
As researchers have discovered in recent years, platelets can do a lot more than stopping bleeding. A concentrated dose of platelets injected at the injury site can offer fast pain relief and can accelerate healing.
I am proud that Integrated Pain Consultants has offered PRP injections to patients. PRP injections aren’t just for athletes like Kobe. They can be for anyone who suffers back pain, neck pain, joint pain, or nerve pain.