What Is PRP Therapy for Chronic Back Pain?

by AZ Pain Doctors, on Sep 8, 2022 11:06:00 AM

About 46% of patients who visit a chiropractor complain about back pain. In fact, about 11 to 40% of American adults live with chronic pain. Visiting a general physician or chiropractor isn't always enough, though.

Instead, you might want to consider PRP therapy for treating your chronic low back pain.

What is PRP, exactly, and is it an effective form of treatment for chronic back pain? Read on to learn everything you need to know with this helpful guide today! 

What is PRP Therapy?

First, let's cover the basics. What is PRP therapy?

There are platelets within autologous blood that play a part in the body's natural healing process. They're considered the building blocks of blood. These platelets secrete growth factors at the site of injuries throughout the body. 

Growth factors play an important role in natural healing. They also contain proteins that signal stem cells to focus on a treatment area.

Growth factors and signaling proteins work together to produce healthy, new tissue to repair an injured area.

Though the wound-healing process is a natural occurrence, it doesn't always occur right away in the needed area. 

Autologous blood that contains these platelets in higher concentrations is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Injecting PRP into the lower back ensures growth factors and proteins focus on your injuries. Then, they can begin healing and repairing the area to ease your pain. 

The Process

Platelet-rich plasma therapy involves harvesting a patient's own blood from the median cubital vein. The blood is centrifuged to separate and collect platelet-poor plasma from other components. Then, the prepared PRP is re-administered at the site of an injury. 

PRP therapy has gained popularity, namely within orthopedics. In fact, about 86,000 athletes within the US are treated with PRP each year.

For example, PRP shots can help heal an injured athlete's soft tissue or joint damage. This form of regenerative medicine helps the body heal and regrow tissue naturally. It's also used for non-invasive facelifts and hair regrowth.

Platelet-rich plasma is derived from your own blood. As a result, it doesn't carry the same risk as medicines like steroids. 

Instead, PRP injections could help repair the damage that's causing your chronic low back pain in the first place. 

The Benefits

The early research on PRP therapy for back pain is so far promising. However, the majority of studies were completed on animals, rather than humans. 

According to one study, PRP could restore structure and function to a spine that's been affected by disc degeneration. Patients reported less pain after one month of treatment.

Concentrated platelets in PRP produce growth factors, which could restore the integrity of substances in your degenerating discs. PRP can then produce antiapoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects. Antiapoptotic effects indicate it can prevent a certain type of cell death. 

The results could contribute to disc repair and symptom relief. 

PRP could also help repair musculoskeletal problems like torn rotator cuffs, chronic tendinosis, and Achilles tendon injuries. It could also help repair acute injuries like:

  • Partial patellar tendon tears
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Patellar tendon strains
  • Golfer's elbow
  • Tennis elbow

PRP injections might help reduce joint degeneration, pain progression, and tissue deterioration. Improving your body's ability to heal could boost your recovery times. The approach could restore the functionality and mobility of your injured muscle or tissue. 

It could also ease inflammation that's causing your pain symptoms, which otherwise could take months to heal naturally.

With PRP injections, you could get back to living a full, pain-free life. 

Before treating your chronic low back pain with PRP therapy, consult a specialist. They can help you determine if a PRP spinal injection can help. 

PRP injections aren't ideal for all forms of chronic low back pain. Your doctor will complete a thorough evaluation and examination to determine if PRP injections can help. Otherwise, they'll recommend another treatment option based on your needs. 

More pain specialists are offering PRP injections to treat chronic back pain. It could help heal spinal damage from the inside out. 

What to Expect

First, your pain specialist will have you avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for about two weeks. These include ibuprofen and aspirin. 

Your PRP therapy session should only take about 30 minutes. First, your doctor will draw blood from your arm. They'll use a machine to separate the platelet-rich plasma from other blood components.

Guided by an ultrasound, they'll inject the PRP back into your body in tendons, ligaments, or joints. Using an ultrasound will ensure the utmost accuracy. Your doctor will ensure the solution is placed where you'll benefit the most from treatment. 

You can return to normal activities after your PRP session for the most part. Avoid applying lotions or washing the treatment area for about 48 hours.

If you receive a tendon injection, avoid strenuous activity or exercise for two or three weeks.

Ask your doctor about your post-PRP physical therapy regimen, too.

Remember, PRP works by stimulating the body's natural healing responses. As a result, it can take a few weeks before you begin noticing results. Your doctor might combine PRP therapy with other treatment options like physical therapy. 

It's normal to feel sore for at least a couple of days. If you experience severe pain, call your doctor right away. 

Though PRP therapy has a solid safety record, the procedure isn't risk-free. There's always a risk of infection with injections. Make sure you choose an experienced, licensed practitioner.

PRP Therapy for Chronic Back Pain: Explore Your Options Today

You don't have to let your chronic low back pain continue impacting your quality of life. Instead, talk to a pain specialist about PRP therapy for chronic back pain. They can help you determine if a PRP spinal injection can help.

With a solid treatment plan, you can ease your pain and start improving your quality of life.

Want to learn more about PRP and other treatment options that can ease your chronic back pain? We're here to help you find pain relief.

Contact our team today to schedule your first appointment. 

Topics:prp therapy