Thursday, July 25, 2024

Revolutionising relief by decoding PRP for musculoskeletal pain

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The musculoskeletal system, comprising bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue, provides structural support and facilitates movement in our body. Any disorder or injury that affects this system is called a musculoskeletal disorder; its predominant symptom is pain. As advancements in pain management continue, the utilisation of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in managing musculoskeletal pain is gaining popularity.
About 1.71 billion individuals worldwide grapple with musculoskeletal problems, a leading contributor to disability. These problems impact mobility and agility, resulting in early retirement, diminished well-being, and decreased societal participation affecting the quality of life. Musculoskeletal pain is a common experience for adults, regardless of gender, and economic status.
PRP treatment is emerging as a promising solution, demonstrating pain reduction and improved function in patients with musculoskeletal disorders. It is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure with minimal side effects, as it uses the patient’s own blood.
Conventional musculoskeletal pain management includes methods like Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, along with physical therapy and corticosteroid injections combined with targeted rehabilitation exercises. While providing temporary pain relief and early functional recovery, these methods usually do not reverse structural changes linked with musculoskeletal conditions.
In contrast, PRP transcends these limitations, aiming to regenerate damaged tissues and spark the growth of new cells. It contains growth factors promoting tissue growth, collagen production, and increased stem cell numbers, enhancing the healing process. PRP also harnesses anti-inflammatory properties, serving as a promising therapeutic approach for arthritis.
Tailoring PRP formulations for specific injuries or conditions ensures better results. The platelet concentration in PRP is crucial for its effectiveness in treating conditions, like joint arthritis and shoulder rotator cuff tears. Studies indicate that higher platelet concentrations generally result in better healing. For instance, conditions like knee osteoarthritis may benefit from a specific platelet concentration, around 10 billion platelets, with fewer white blood cells preferred, as it is believed to reduce inflammation and minimise the risk of adverse reactions.
Image-guided injections, especially under ultrasound or X-rays, are another determinant of PRP success. Doctors find these methods beneficial as they provide precision through real- time visualisation, ensuring accurate needle placement in the targeted area. This is important for delivering PRP directly to affected joints, tendons, or other structures. Image guidance also enhances overall safety by minimising the risk of accidental injury to adjacent  nerves and blood vessels. In the pivotal conclusion, the success of PRP is all about concentration and precision.

(The author, Dr Tushar B Munnoli, is a Pain Management Specialist, at Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad.)

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