Arthritis pain affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Arthritis actually means inflammation of the joints, and it encompasses a large group of diseases that all cause pain and swelling of the joints.
Types of arthritis and common symptoms
There are many different types of arthritis. The most common types of adult arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some types of arthritis are autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system attacks your joints. These are known as inflammatory arthritis and include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus arthritis, and others. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is known as a degenerative disease, and is caused by “wear and tear.”
Regardless of the type or cause, arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. today. It causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in many of the joints of the body.
If you have osteoarthritis-related pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, support devices, such as knee braces, or weight loss, if the arthritis is in the hips or knees. Medical treatments include over-the-counter pain medicine, prescription medicine, topical medicines, or even surgery. Immune system suppressants may be recommended for autoimmune types of arthritis, but these drugs can have serious side effects and must be used in a careful supervised manner.
Advances in treatment using PRP
PRP therapy is a relatively new treatment for pain caused by arthritis or injuries. There’s a lot of interest in PRP use for chronic problems such as osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis. PRP takes a different approach than current therapy: it aims to heal your tissues rather than just control pain.
What does PRP stand for?
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. Platelets in your blood are associated with growth factors that, among other functions, promote cellular growth and healing.
What can I expect with PRP therapy?
In PRP therapy, doctors use your own blood to concentrate the platelets and then inject the enriched plasma back into your injured tissues. The theory is that this “super-enriched plasma”, combined with a rehabilitation program will stimulate healing and regeneration in areas such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage that are damaged or injured.
Does PRP work?
Recent results show that PRP may help some patients with osteoarthritis delay or even avoid knee replacement surgery, but PRP treatment is still being studied because it is a relatively new treatment.
A study in the Journal of Physical Therapy from 2015 says that PRP is “an effective treatment for functional status and pain in moderate knee osteoarthritis.”
Talk with your orthopedist about PRP and your condition to find out more, and how PRP may be able to help you.
Is PRP right for me?
PRP may be an option for you if other treatments have not been effective. Though the method of preparing PRP has been FDA approved, PRP injections for arthritis are considered “off-label” use. This means the specific use remains untested by the FDA, but it is in wide use today by many doctors and clinics.
If you are experiencing arthritis pain and want to know more about treatment options, call us at (800) 336-2412 or use our Online Appointment Request Form.
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bill Hefley is devoted to treating a broad range of conditions affecting the shoulder, hip, and knee. We look forward to helping you live better, with less pain.