Approximately 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. In fact, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition and one that causes significant pain for many of its sufferers. If you are an osteoarthritis suffer, do you fully understand the condition you are dealing with? Furthermore, are you aware that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may be able to offer you relief from your chronic pain?
Apex Biologix, a Utah company offering training programs in stem cell in PRP therapies, says they have trained hundreds of doctors around the country hoping to offer regenerative medicine to their patients. They say that PRP therapy is now successfully being used to treat osteoarthritis patients, many of whom have been suffering with the painful condition for years.
Company officials urge patients looking for relief from osteoarthritis to discuss PRP therapy with their doctors. Even if a given doctor does not yet offer the procedure, there may be others locally who do. PRP training is growing fast enough that most major metropolitan areas are home to at least a few orthopedists and general practitioners offering regenerative medicine treatments.
Basics of Osteoarthritis
The Arthritis Foundation describes osteoarthritis as a “degenerative joint disease” that most often occurs in the “knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.” The fact that osteoarthritis is degenerative is key to understanding why PRP seems to help so many people.
A healthy joint is typified by plenty of healthy cartilage covering the ends of both bones for nearly frictionless motion. Cartilage basically provides an area of cushion that prevents the two bones from making direct contact. In an osteoarthritis scenario, that cartilage has either begun to break down or is completely gone. This results in the bones making contact whenever they move.
The obvious result of this contact is pain. Osteoarthritis sufferers tend to experience pain that worsens over time as cartilage continues to break down and bone spurs develop. It can be made worse by pieces of bone or cartilage breaking away and moving throughout the affected joint.
How PRP Helps
Osteoarthritis is considered an aging-related disease inasmuch as most sufferers are people in their 60s and 70s. It can strike at any age though, and it is not uncommon among athletes who suffered some sort of joint injury earlier in their lives.
PRP is helpful because it can help restore some of the tissue that has been lost as a result of the breakdown of cartilage. PRP injections consist of concentrated platelets (donated by the patient being treated) suspended in serum to maximize efficacy. The most important thing to understand is that PRP is rich in the growth factors the body needs to repair damaged tissue.
When PRP therapy is used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, the goal is to encourage the body to regrow new cartilage. The injections are also known to increase blood flow and stimulate localized stem cells to more quickly regenerate and form new tissue.
If it makes it easier to understand, think of PRP injections as fertilizer. When the injections are combined with the natural material that already exists in and around the affected joint, the growth factors in PRP stimulate tissue regeneration that can bring significant relief to osteoarthritis sufferers.
Apex Biologix explains that PRP is not a miracle cure for every kind of orthopedic disease or injury. However, significant numbers of osteoarthritis sufferers have found relief through PRP injections. It is something to consider if you are suffering from the painful condition.