Chronic pain is something thousands of Americans deal with every single day. When there is no discernible cause or end in sight, this pain can become a huge interference in everyday life. In many cases, long-term effects of untreated chronic pain can even cause damage to mental health. For some athletes, exercise with chronic pain can become virtually impossible, which can greatly impact their career. Chronic pain that affects everyday life oftentimes causes stress, and that stress in turn makes the chronic pain even worse. This is called the chronic pain cycle, and is difficult to break.
But what exactly is chronic pain? In the discussion of pain, you’ll usually hear chronic pain in comparison to acute pain. The distinction between acute vs chronic pain is that acute pain comes about quickly, is a little more severe, but then usually goes away in a short amount of time without treatment. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is continuous, lasting much longer than the original illness or injury that may have caused it.
For a long time, the leading method of treating chronic pain was through pain medication. When prescribed and taken responsibly, painkillers are a fine method of pain management. However, the addictive elements in many pain medications have turned a chronic pain problem into an addiction problem.
Fortunately, through the innovative medical minds of recent years, there is an alternative method of pain treatment that is non-addictive, and a lot more effective in treating the actual problem.
Platelet rich plasma treatment, or PRP, is a form of regenerative medicine that involves isolating the body’s natural healing properties/process and reinjecting it into an injured area. When your body is injured, there are automatic mechanisms in place that flood the area with healing platelets. What PRP does is speed up this process with a higher concentration of platelets injected straight into the area.
PRP helps with lots of acute, short term injuries, especially sports-related ones like rotator cuff injuries, ACL injuries, tennis elbow, etc. More importantly, it can also very effectively treat many chronic pains, regardless of the original cause. There’s PRP for back pain, PRP for knee pain, PRP for shoulder pain, PRP for joint pain, PRP for lower back pain — you name it.
Many people find this pain approach preferable because not only does it actually work, but it’s completely natural. The procedure itself is short and minimally invasive, with little to no recovery time afterwards. The physician will draw your blood, isolate the plasma, reinject it where the pain is, and that’s it. The whole visit will likely not take longer than an hour or two.
In terms of how soon pain relief can be felt ultimately varies person by person. Most people report some degree of immediate pain relief, but major relief is not usually felt until a few weeks afterwards. Better yet, by boost-healing the source of the pain, PRP treatment can sometimes actually completely heal the underlying condition that is causing the chronic pain in the first place. It should be noted that PRP treatment works best on soft tissue damage. For example, PRP treatment for back pain really helps with herniated discs, muscle spasms, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease.
Chronic pain may make you feel hopeless, but it no longer has to halt your life. So next time you have a chronic pain flare up and don’t want to risk potentially addictive pain medication, it might be a good idea to look into physicians in your area that administer PRP treatment. These specialized regenerative health physicians can also help you create a care plan for chronic pain that combines PRP with other effective forms of treatment. Don’t wait — a pain-free life may be just around the corner.