Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Not Just for Athletes

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Not Just for Athletes

The average American is familiar with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy only to the extent that they know professional athletes sometimes utilize it to help recover from injuries. Anyone who follows Major League Baseball probably knows of at least half a dozen pitchers who have embraced both PRP and stem cell injections as an alternative to Tommy John surgery. What many Americans do not know is that PRP therapy is not just for athletes.

PRP therapy is a therapy that uses blood donated from the patient to create a platelet-rich concentration of plasma that can then be injected into the site of an injury to promote healing. The concept itself is really nothing new. Surgeons have been using the process for decades to promote post-surgery wound healing. But not until recently has medical science discovered the benefits of PRP and stem cell procedures for sports injuries, orthopedic issues, and pain management.

Prevalence in the Sports World

In order to understand how PRP therapy is impacting average patients, it is probably a good idea to look at its prevalence in the sports world. A recent article written by Dr. Paul Mackery for The Citizens’ Voice sheds quite a bit of light on the prevalence of PRP in sports medicine.

Mackery begins his article talking about former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward. As one of the Steelers’ most prolific receivers, Ward was always on the field when an important catch was necessary. He underwent PRP injections after suffering a ligament injury in one of his knees. Ward went on to say that the therapy was instrumental in helping him play in Super Bowl XLII.

The article then goes on to talk about other well-known athletes and their PRP experiences. Mackery mentions NBA great Kobe Bryant and tennis player Maria Sharapova. He didn’t need to mention baseball players for one obvious reason: the use of PRP therapy in Major League Baseball is so pervasive that the general public already knows about it.

If It’s Good Enough for Them…

The underlying concept behind both PRP and stem cell therapies is one of regenerative medicine. In fact, the term ‘regenerative medicine’ has been coined as an umbrella phrase to denote a growing list of medical procedures that favor the regeneration of tissue for healing as an alternative to more invasive procedures. Stem cell and PRP therapies are just two options within the regenerative medicine realm.

Having said that, America is slowly awakening to the realization that PRP and stem cell procedures can be beneficial. They are understanding that if such procedures are good enough for professional athletes who rely on maintaining a competitive edge for their livelihood, they are probably good for the rest of us too.

So how is PRP therapy being used outside of sports medicine? According to Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute, a Utah company specializing in PRP and stem cell training courses, regenerative medicine therapies are already used to treat people suffering from osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, sports injuries, and even alopecia. New uses for the therapies are being discovered on a regular basis.

Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) explains that people are gradually warming up to PRP therapy because it is a less invasive alternative to surgery. And because the material used in such procedures is donated by the patients themselves, there is no risk of rejection and very little risk of complications.

PRP therapy is not a perfect solution for every injury under the sun. But it is very effective for those things it is currently being used to treat. Best of all, it is not just for athletes.

Categories: Health

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