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Pain Management Physician's Guide to Platelet-Rich Plasma

Published: 03/24/2023

When it comes to treatments, pain management physicians have two main goals:

  1. Treat the pain and discomfort the patient is experiencing
  2. Heal the injury so the patient doesn’t run into the same problem in the future

To do so, pain management physicians have to become true masters of the human musculoskeletal system and the conditions that can affect it.

Because so many patients don’t respond to conventional therapies, pain management physicians tend to be more receptive to alternative treatments in an effort to avoid surgery. Such alternatives may include dietary changes, chiropractic care, exercise, and physical therapy.

Many pain management physicians have been successfully incorporating platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy into their practice. Let’s look at why PRP injections are quickly becoming a frontline therapy for pain management physicians.

PRP: A Winner in Pain Management?

As a pain management physician, you likely experience your fair share of frustration at conventional interventions. Sure, they might relieve pain short term, but soon you begin to see the same patients again and again. Why? Because most of the common conventional interventions don’t address the underlying issue.

Fortunately, the pain management field has benefited immensely from advances in PRP devices and preparation methodologies.

Here’s why we think PRP therapy is probably the best treatment to bring into your practice.

PRP is Holistic

Pain management specialists have to look at the whole body, rather than the isolated body part experiencing the injury. After all, poor posture doesn’t only affect a patient’s back – it can also be the cause of a patient’s neck pain and devastating migraines.

PRP is also holistic because it harnesses the body’s own natural mechanisms to do what it does best – repair and heal. For example, activated platelets in PRP release many pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators that help reduce pain. When applied to an injured area, PRP changes the microenvironment using multiple complex pathways related to cell proliferation, cell differentiation, stem cell regulation, etc.1 These characteristics are credited with PRP’s effectiveness in chronic pain management.

PRP Can Reduce Dependence on Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are valued in pain management due to their ability to bring almost immediate relief. But they can also weaken the immune system, which means you need to closely monitor patients receiving them or limit patients to one injection every few months.

Although PRP is slower acting, it’s a much safer and long-term option. And its effectiveness is comparable to that of corticosteroid injections. In a 2021 systematic review, investigators found “no significant medium- to long-term difference between corticosteroid and PRP injection in the treatment of rotator cuff lesions.”2

Another study involving 40 patients with knee osteoarthritis found no significant differences between PRP and corticosteroid injections short-term. But when the investigators followed up 1 year after the treatment, they found that patients treated with PRP showed a greater improvement compared to those treated with corticosteroids.3

PRP is Versatile and Has Limitless Potential

Rarely does any single tool in medicine have such a vast scope of application as PRP does. Interest and use of PRP therapy have been surging in recent years, and it’s not just among pain management physicians either. PRP is claiming its place in diverse medical specialties, from dermatologists to rheumatologists.

It’s probably because the mechanism of action behind PRP is so straightforward. When injected into a site of injury, the concentrated platelets release many biologically active factors, including growth factors, cytokines, lysosomes, and other proteins. These factors work synergistically to initiate the hemostatic cascade and to synthesize new connective tissue and revascularize.4 Because this mechanism is the same regardless of the site of injection, a positive effect in one area of the musculoskeletal system implies the same in other areas.

Clinical Evidence of PRP Effectiveness in Pain Management

Decades of research studies support the use of PRP for pain management. Let’s look at a few studies.

A randomized controlled trial by Everts and colleagues reported on the analgesic effects of PRP in patients undergoing open subacromial decompression. The PRP-treated patients recovered faster, took less pain medications, and were able to return to normal activities earlier than their counterparts.5

Kuffler also reported on the analgesic benefits of PRP in 2015. In this study, patients suffering from mild to severe chronic neuropathic pain were treated with PRP. Surprisingly, in the PRP-treated patients, the neuropathic pain remained either reduced or eliminated for at least 6 years after treatment.6

The Benefits of PRP for Pain Are Hard to Ignore

PRP therapy is here to stay. And it can be one of your most valuable tools – and a significant profit generator – as a pain management physician. There’s simply no rival that can match its outstanding safety and efficacy profile.

If you’re thinking about adding PRP therapy to your services, it’s important to keep in mind that not all PRP kits are the same. The quality of the PRP produced matters. A lot.

But Dr. PRP makes it easy. You can obtain a top quality, highly concentrated PRP using our kits and centrifuges. Reach out to a customer service representative today at (844) 377-7787 (DR-PRP-US) for assistance.