Relieving Osteoarthritis with PRP Therapy

Osteoarthritis (OA) is incredibly common, and affects almost 25% of the adult population of the United States. More than 30 million people have OA, and it most often affects the knee joint. When you consider the importance of your knees, you begin to understand why treating the stiffness, swelling, and pain of OA is so critical. 

At the Osteopathic Center for Healing, Dr. Neil Spiegel and physician assistant Jennifer Gularson are dedicated to making sure you’re living your healthiest life. If you can’t do the things you need and want to do because your knee hurts all the time, you probably aren’t as healthy or happy as you could be. PRP therapy may be the best treatment to alleviate your OA symptoms. 

Platelet-rich plasma therapy explained

In order to understand PRP therapy, you need to know a little about the composition of your blood. Your blood is made up of various components, and three of the main ones are red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Platelets are specialized cells that stimulate healing and growth, among other things. 

All of the various components of your blood move through your body in plasma. Plasma is mostly water, but also contains other important elements such as proteins and various antibodies. 

When you have PRP therapy, we draw some of your blood and process it using a centrifuge, which separates the different components. We mix your platelets into a small amount of plasma to make platelet-rich plasma, which is then injected directly into the damaged tissue of your affected joint. 

Why PRP works

Platelets are special cells because they have several jobs. For example, when you cut your finger, platelets first help your blood clot so that you stop bleeding. They also provide growth factors and other healing proteins.  

The idea behind PRP is that when the platelet-rich plasma is injected into your damaged joint, the platelets will do exactly what they do when you cut your finger and begin healing the damaged tissues in your joint. 

What should I expect from PRP therapy? 

Scientists are still studying and learning about the benefits of PRP therapy, but in our practice, we’ve seen impressive results and our patients report success. The potential side effects of PRP therapy are generally very mild, mostly because the injection contains materials your own body produced. 

There’s always a slight risk of an infection when you’re injected, and of course, the injection itself may be a bit unpleasant. However, we do everything we can to make sure you're comfortable during the process. 

You won’t feel better immediately because the PRP needs time to work. You may need to ice the affected joint and take acetaminophen for a few days.  As the platelets go to work, you’re likely to notice a decrease in your symptoms. 

If you’d like to learn more about PRP therapy and find out if it may be a beneficial treatment approach for you, book an appointment at the Osteopathic Center for Healing. You can request an appointment online, or call our office in Rockville, Maryland, at 301-245-1940.

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