Weekly Wellness: What are PRP and stem cell therapies?

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COLUMBIA - There are a couple of medical trends that are being mentioned lately. One is PRP (which stands for platelet-rich plasma) and the other is stem cell therapy. This week we're going to explain what both of these therapies are and what they might be used for. Maybe you can benefit from either.

PRP is made from blood platelets. Platelets are a rich source of proteins called growth factors that are found naturally in your blood. Any time your tissues are damaged or diseased, platelets migrate to the area, stimulate new cell growth, and accelerate tissue repair.

PRP is the creation of a higher concentration of platelets than the amount normally found in your blood. To create PRP, your doctor draws a sample of your blood and places it in a centrifuge, which separates out the platelets. These concentrated platelets are recombined with your blood plasma to make PRP.

PRP therapy is an effective treatment for a broad range of orthopedic conditions, from tendon, ligament, and muscle injuries to degenerative diseases, including:

  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Partial rotator cuff tears
  • Sprains and strains
  • Joint capsular laxity
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Knee pain
  • Back and neck pain

Stem cell therapy is different from PRP based on what it’s made from: stem cells. Stem cells are cells that can self-replicate then develop into many different types of cells and tissue. Adult stem cells continuously divide and grow into new cells to repair and replace tissues that are old, damaged, or diseased. There are different types of adult stem cells. Some produce one specific tissue, while others can replicate several types of cells. When adult stem cells are injected into an injured or diseased area of your body, they promote healing by generating new cells.

Similar to PRP, stem cell therapy is the creation of an injection that uses cells from your body to help to repair your body. When a concentrated amount of stem cells are injected directly into damaged tissues, the belief is that the stem cells will regenerate and repair the damage by producing new cells.

Stem cell therapy has successfully treated many orthopedic conditions, including:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hand and wrist pain
  • Muscle, tendon, or ligament tears
  • Inflammatory problems like tendonitis and bursitis

If you are interested in finding out further information about PRP and stem cell therapies, there are local physicians and clinics that provide these therapies. You may need to get a referral from your GP to see an orthopedic or you can contact one of the private clinics in the area.

I’ve, personally, had success with stem cell therapy and recommend it as a way to avoid surgery (if possible).