Today’s athletes have to constantly be at the top of their game both in sport and physical health to perform at the level they do. However, their active lifestyle also makes them susceptible to a variety of sports injuries. Here’s where Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy can help.
If not properly treated and managed, these conditions can often cause excruciating pain. Over time, these injuries can become chronic, a condition which usually results from overusing one area of the body while playing a sport or exercising over a long period. Signs include pain when performing an activity, a dull ache when at rest or swelling experienced in the affected area.
However, chronic pain from tendon injuries or musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis may soon be a thing of the past with relief from a safe, non-surgical procedure that is gaining popularity amongst athletes today. A relatively new treatment known as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, platelets are collected from the athletes’ own blood to rebuild a damaged tendon or cartilage and commonly administered via an injection with local anesthesia.
In addition to pain relief, this is also believed to aid in the rapid healing of injured body tissues. This is because our blood contains platelets, which assist in clotting the blood and healing. This not only encourages the growth of new, healthy tissue but also aids recovery for damaged parts of the body. After PRP is administered, it activates dermal fibroblasts, a skin component that is vital in maintaining skin integrity and youthfulness and boosting the development of cell-renewal ingredients such as collagen, adhesive molecules and cytokines.
Besides treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, it is also used for aesthetic purposes such as skin rejuvenation and hair restoration due to its growth factor activity. According to doctors surveyed, PRP would certainly make a difference to people with such conditions.
“With PRP, not only is it efficient, it is also safe and natural. Given the variety of therapies in the market today, it is extremely important that they will not have an adverse impact on the athletes’ health,” according to a doctor who sees a variety of patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
Although research studies are still being done on the effectiveness of PRP therapy, it remains a viable solution for athletes experiencing sports injury due to its quick recovery time and minimal discomfort. Sports stars that are reported to have previously used PRP include golf’s Tiger Woods, tennis’s Rafael Nadal and basketball’s Kobe Bryant for a quick recovery from sport injuries.
The term “sports injury” generally refers to the types of injuries most commonly experienced during sports or any other physical activity related to exercise. These could occur as a result of pre-exercise preparation, insufficient warm-up or stretching and lack of adequate muscle conditioning. The most common type of sports injuries includes muscle sprains and strains, tear in the ligaments that hold the joints together, tear of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move, followed by dislocated joints and fractured bones, including vertebrae.
Even though it is popular in Europe, the US and certain parts of Asia, such as Korea and Japan, it is only available at selected practitioners under strict guidelines. In Singapore, it is generally approved for treatment of acute muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.
A quick search on the Internet will bring up some names of specialized clinics which offer PRP with promises of success and at varying costs. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that the doctor is qualified and experienced in offering PRP as a medical treatment. However, more importantly, it is essential to find out if and how it can aid in treatment of the said condition as well as the duration of its effects.
Given the growing buzz around PRP and its reputation as an alternative to painful and time-consuming surgery, it may be time to make it relevant. It could well make the difference between extending that sports career and/or aiding in the speedy recovery for just more time to indulge in the sports one loves.