Treat Arthritis, Back Pain, Tendon Pain, & Joint Pain With PRP or Stem Cell Therapy
If you have arthritis, back pain, or chronic tendon pain, you may benefit from PRP or stem cell therapies.
Both of these treatments use the cells and/or plasma (part of blood) in your own body to ease pain and help you heal. Since these treatments use your body's natural tissues, they are not drugs and therefore aren't regulated by the FDA. They are also sometimes referred to as "regenerative medicine" or "biologics."
You may benefit from these treatments if you have the following conditions:
- joint arthritis
- disc problems in your spine
- tendonitis or tendinopathy
PRP and stem cell therapy are not used to treat bone fractures, pinched nerves, or acute ACL or ligament injuries.
Arthritis happens when the cartilage in your joints wears down. Cartilage acts like padding between your bones, so when it wears down, your joints start to hurt and feel sore.
Researchers think that PRP and stem cells may help assist in healing damaged cartilage and relieving pain.
Spinal Disc Pain
Discs inside your spine cushion the different bones in your spine. Sometimes, these discs can cause back pain for some people.
Researchers think that PRP and stem cell therapy may help some discs that have a damaged outer lining. This may help reduce pain.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses platelets and other materials inside your blood. Platelets are a type of blood cell that help your blood clot. Platelets also help wounds heal more quickly.
During PRP therapy, your treatment will follow these steps:
- First, your doctor will take a small sample of your blood.
- Next, your doctor will put your blood sample into a special machine that separates your platelets and the plasma part of your blood from other materials in your blood.
- Later, your doctor will inject your platelets back into your body, close to where your pain or injury is.
Since this injection has five to 10 times more platelets than normal blood (as well as a high concentration of growth factors), doctors suspect that these extra platelets help reduce inflammation and help you heal faster.
How Long Does PRP Last?
Doctors are still studying how effective PRP is at treating different types of pain. Depending on where the pain is, clinical trials have shown that patients may experience pain relief for anywhere between one and three years.
However, results are different for each person. More research is needed to find out how long PRP injections last on average.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are special cells inside your body that can develop into many different types of tissue. When injected into your body, stem cells may have the ability to grow into healthy new cells. (You may have heard of stem cells being used alongside chemotherapy during cancer treatment).
In a similar way, doctors use stem cells to treat bone and joint problems. Doctors extract (remove) stem cells from your bone marrow. Your doctor will then re-inject these stem cells into areas of your body that are in pain (for example, your knee or shoulder).
The stem cells then may grow into healthy new tissue.
How Effective Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Just like PRP, stem cell therapy is a new, experimental treatment. This means doctors and researchers are still studying how it works and how effective it is at treating different types of pain or dysfunction.
Stem cell therapy may not work for everyone. You may also need multiple injections of stem cells before your pain gets better.
Stem cell therapy may be a good option if other treatments (like steroid injections) haven't worked.
PRP & Stem Cell Therapy vs. Steroids
Many patients have steroid injections or hyaluronic acid (HA) injections for pain relief. These injections work for some people, but may not provide long-term pain relief for others.
In these situations, PRP or stem cell therapy may be an appropriate option.
Some patients may also need more treatments (injections) than others.
Find a Doctor
Why Choose University Orthopaedic Center?
Tracking Outcomes of PRP & Stem Cell Therapies
Unlike other clinics, the University Orthopaedic Center tracks outcomes for PRP and stem cell therapies. This means our doctors will work with you to see if your PRP or stem cell injections are working. If they're not, our doctors will refer you to other types of treatment.
Both PRP and stem cell therapies are newer types of treatments for pain. Researchers don't yet know how long PRP and stem cell therapy injections last. Some patients will need more injections than others.
For these reasons, our doctors are committed to following up with you after your injections to see how you feel over time.
This type of tracking and monitoring also helps doctors and medical professionals better understand how PRP and stem cell therapies work.