Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. 

As the needle moves closer to my 70th birthday, so does my interest in regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine is somewhat a new field, but the different techniques (i.e. stem cell, PRP, etc) that are being used to help the body heal its own tissues, make the possibilities almost endless. 

This past week I went to the Performance Medicine office in Bristol to get a PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injection in my knee. Note: knee pain is a common complaint among us seniors! Jill Henritze, PA-C (orthopedic expert) had injected my knee a couple of years ago, and due to a recent twinge on the pickleball court, I found myself back on her table! 

Without spoiling the video, I will tell you that the procedure was quick and painless, plus we had time to talk about the benefits of PRP, and how it is being used more and more to help people who suffer from joint pain, chronic tendonitis (tennis elbow), and other post injuries. Check it out on YouTube!

PODCAST NOTES

  • PRP Platelet-Rich Plasma is a regenerative therapy that uses platelets (cell fragments found in blood) to help stimulate healing and enhance repair in certain injuries. To make platelet-rich plasma, blood is drawn from the patient and then processed to create a concentrated solution that looks somewhat like liquid gold. After processing, we inject the concentrated platelets and growth factors back into problem areas. PRP is effective for a variety of issues, including joint pain, chronic tendonitis, hair growth, and even erectile dysfunction. 
  • PRP works by stimulating the body’s own healing response. The concentrated platelets and growth factors in the plasma create inflammation, signaling the body to initiate the healing process. PRP is sometimes used during surgeries like rotator cuff repairs. The PRP is drawn and injected right on top of the repair to stimulate more healing. Note: If you have bone on bone, PRP is not going to work for you. 
  • Cortisone has its place, to decrease pain and swelling. While cortisone (steroid) injections can provide temporary relief, PRP is considered a safer and potentially long term solution, as it doesn’t harm cartilage (like steroids might). 
  • PRP is not painful like it used to be. There are no crutches involved, and you can resume normal exercise within 5-7 days. Watch the video!
  • For post treatment, you should avoid anti-inflammatories like Advil for at least 3 days to ensure maximum effectiveness. It is recommended to avoid strenuous activities for about a week post injection. 
  • Combining PRP with other treatments (i.e., cortisone injections) must be done carefully. Cortisone can decrease inflammation which might interfere with the PRP’s effectiveness. A gap of 6 to 12 weeks between the treatments is often advised. 
  • PRP is considered very safe as it uses the patient’s own blood products, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions. While it might not reverse severe conditions like end-stage arthritis, it can alleviate symptoms and delay the need for surgery. 
  • I’m a big believer in collagen supplements. Researchers suggest supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen which may lead to lower inflammation, better joint support, and reduced pain. 
  • Staying active is essential for joint health. Movement helps maintain joint function and prevents stiffness. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling blood sugar and blood pressure are crucial for overall joint health.

The future of regenerative medicine is promising! Although stem cells remain controversial and aren’t yet FDA approved unless sourced from bone marrow or fat, PRP shows that using your body’s own natural healing mechanisms is effective. 

As always, I encourage you to do your own research.  

Stay educated, stay healthy.

Till next week.