Potential Pain Relief Through PRP and Stem Cell Therapies

Pain is an indication that something has gone wrong in your body. This can be short-term pain or chronic pain that affects your ability to handle daily tasks. When your regular pain relief methods don't work, or they work only temporarily, you need to seek therapy that helps lessen the pain to the point where it doesn't stop you from doing anything. Even better is finding a therapy that could potentially stop the pain and heal whatever caused it. Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapies are two possible methods of pain relief that could help you heal, rather than just mask the pain.

What's the Difference Between the Two?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a procedure in which your own blood is taken and centrifuged. The centrifuge action causes platelets in the blood to essentially gather together along with growth factors. This concentrated version of platelet-rich blood is then injected back into you at the site of the pain or injury. This is supposed to help stimulate growth and healing. Stem cell therapy uses stem cells taken from your own body; the source of the stem cells is either bone marrow or fat. Again, this comes from your own body, so if you have concerns about stem cell origin, you don't have to worry about that for this therapy. The material containing the cells is centrifuged to extract the cells, which are then injected at the site of the pain or injury. So the procedures look very similar, but the body tissue used to produce the platelets and stem cells is different.

Why Are They Sometimes Used Together?

Some therapies use both PRP and stem cells together. Not only does this double the chances of healing, since you're injecting two different materials that can go to work in different ways, but the two may actually complement each other. You could drastically cut down the number of treatments you need if you use both therapies together instead of just one.

Is One More Appropriate Than the Other for Certain Conditions?

Stem cells may be a better choice for severe injuries. This doesn't mean that platelets would not help, but rather that PRP might not be enough on its own to help heal the injury and promote tissue growth. If you have a more minor injury and nagging but mild pain, then PRP alone (albeit with a few treatments) could be enough.

You no doubt have more questions about PRP stem cell therapy, so ask the therapist or doctor everything you want to know. While these aren't new treatments, many people have not tried them or even heard of them, and it's natural to have questions even though the platelets and stem cells come from your own body.