PRP therapy for back pain

PRP: A natural treatment for chronic lower back pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints among men and women, and the bad news is that it can get worse with age. Lower back pain can have a variety of causes, but much lower back pain is related to problems with "cushioned" discs that separate each spinal pair (vertebrae). In fact, disc problems are the cause of sciatica, one of the most common types of back pain. 

Injections have been used for many years to reduce inflammation around herniated or slipped discs in the lower back. Until recently, these injections contained steroids or other drugs to relieve pain and swelling. More recently, researchers have begun to explore natural alternatives to these drugs, including platelet-derived plasma, or PRP.

Because PRP is made from your own blood, it does not carry the same risk as steroids and other drugs. While steroid injections can relieve the symptoms of lower back pain, PRP treatments can actually help repair the damage that is causing the painful symptoms. Here's how PRP injections work for back pain. 

How does a PRP work?

As the name suggests, platelet-rich plasma contains a high concentration of platelets, one of the most important "building blocks" in the blood. Platelets contain chemicals called growth factors that play a big role in healing. They also contain special proteins that signal stem cells around a wound, allowing these cells to enter the treatment area. Together, growth factors and signalling proteins form healthy new tissue that is used to repair damaged tissue. 

These healing processes happen naturally, but the problem is that they don't always happen exactly where we need them or with the intensity needed for optimal repair. By injecting PRP directly into the lower back, these growth factors and proteins are concentrated exactly where they are needed so they can begin to heal and repair damaged areas to relieve pain and restore normal function. 

In recent years, PRP injections have received considerable attention as a treatment modality for musculoskeletal conditions due to their safety and ability to potentially improve soft tissue healing. Tissue regeneration in musculoskeletal conditions is achieved by percutaneous injection of PRP. PRP has been used effectively to treat rotator cuff tears, osteoarthritis of the knee, ulnar collateral ligament tears, lateral epicondylitis, thigh injuries and Achilles tendonitis.

Repair effect of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is required to promote endogenous healing processes. However, the mechanism remains unclear. Healing is thought to occur after PRP stimulates the recruitment, proliferation and differentiation of cells involved in regeneration with a variety of growth factors and proteins released by platelets. However, platelets contain antibacterial proteins and can migrate to wound sites. Platelet-released growth factors include vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor (TGF) β-1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), fibrin growth factor (FGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), insulin and growth factor connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), which significantly affect tissue proliferation.

 

These growth factors, produced by the concentrated platelets in PRP, can restore the integrity of the extracellular matrices of the degenerated plates. A key feature of these platelets is that they release cytokines, bovine chemoreceptors and bovine chemoreceptors and thus can help regulate inflammatory responses and immunological aspects of tissue healing. Platelets also prevent excessive recruitment of white blood cells by anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Vorteile von PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

Platelets occur in abundance in the circulation of most people. The concentrated injection of growth factors provided by these platelets allows PRP therapy to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions. 

One of the greatest benefits of injecting platelet-rich plasma is the ability to avoid surgery. By "optimising" the body's natural ability to heal, it can eliminate the need for invasive procedures that were previously only possible for patients and often shorten the recovery time for injuries. 

PRP has not only been used successfully in athletes to treat arthritis, chronic tendonitis (also known as tendinosis), ligament and joint cartilage damage and more. Because the injection is made from the patient's blood, there is no risk of rejection, toxicity or disease transmission. Now that more doctors and patients are aware of the benefits of this procedure, its popularity as a treatment for musculoskeletal pain has increased dramatically. 

The following steps are performed during a PRP treatment.

  • Step 1

Blood collection:

The procedure requires 1 - 2 PRP tubes. The collection is virtually identical to PRP therapy process of blood collection for a blood test, where a collection needle is inserted into a vein in the arm and the blood is collected in a small vial.

  • Step 2

Centrifugation

A centrifuge is a device that spins the PRP tubes at high speed. This action physically separates the solid and liquid parts of the blood: red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), platelets (thrombocytes) and plasma (fluid).

  • Step 3

PRP removal from the PRP tubes

Normal blood contains about 200,000 platelets per millilitre, while platelet-rich plasma contains five times this amount. The resulting three to seven millilitres of platelet-rich plasma are collected in a syringe and administered immediately.

Step 4

Inject the PRP at the desired location.

The syringe with platelet-rich plasma is injected into the right place depending on the type of injury being treated.

PRP-Röhrchen - PRP-Tubes

After PRP therapy

Patients who undergo PRP therapy should be able to return to normal daily activities almost immediately.  As the PRP injection fills the injury site with fluid, it is normal to see the area as swollen and tender, as if you have a sprain and the resulting swelling. 

  

Remember that you should not treat pain after PRP treatment with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen as these seriously interfere with the treatment. 

 

Some patients may experience significant pain after the procedure, possibly due to the increased inflammatory effects that PRP therapy promotes. 

 

Most importantly, the patient should be patient. PRP does not provide immediate pain relief. The process to regenerate healthy tissue with PRP takes weeks. However, this is an improvement over the months it may take the body to complete tendon or ligament repair without the addition of platelet-rich plasma. 

Summary

PRP is a safe, effective and practical treatment method and is emerging as an effective therapy for the treatment of discogenic back pain. Considering the remarkable progress and the other possible aspects that need further research, PRP therapy definitely offers new and exciting perspectives for the treatment of degenerative disc disease and other musculoskeletal disorders.

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