Your Treatment Options for Knee Pain

Your knee joint is one of the strongest, most stable joints in your body, but it isn’t impervious to injury, overuse, or diseases like arthritis. ACL injuries, meniscus tears, strains, sprains, osteoarthritis, and many other conditions can result in a painful knee. 

At the Spine and Pain Center of California, Dr. Navin Mallavaram and his staff know how pain can affect your quality of life. No matter why your knee hurts, the fact that it does probably means you can’t do even simple things easily. We offer an innovative treatment that might be the solution for your knee pain

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a new treatment that harnesses your body’s natural healing response and directs it to the problem that’s causing your knee pain. Here’s how it works. 

PRP 101

Your blood is made up of various components, including red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and special cells called platelets. Platelets perform several important functions. They help your blood clot, and they contain proteins that help create new blood vessels. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is plasma that has a high concentration of platelets. When PRP is injected into an area that needs to heal, it helps to speed things along. 

To obtain PRP, we draw some of your blood and process it through a centrifuge, which separates the white blood cells, the red blood cells, and the plasma. Your plasma contains a very high concentration of platelets. The growth factors and healing properties of the platelets help to stimulate your body to heal damaged tissue. 

Although many practitioners use PRP, and it’s growing in popularity, the technique hasn’t yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The procedure is new, but also quite safe. 

It takes time for any procedure or treatment to receive full approval from the scientific and medical community, but PRP has few risks. You may have some soreness and pain at the injection site, but there’s extremely little risk that you’ll develop an infection or have tissue damage. 

Who benefits from PRP therapy? 

PRP is used in all sorts of applications. There are even some cosmetic uses. However, at the Spine and Pain Center of California, we focus on the following uses of PRP: 

Tendon injuries

Tendons connect muscles to bones, and they are tough bits of connective tissue, which is good, but also means they are slow to heal. 

Acute injuries 

If you’ve sprained your knee, you have an acute injury. An acute injury lasts less than six weeks, as opposed to a chronic injury. However, the pain can be intense! 

Osteoarthritis

The most common joint affected by osteoarthritis is the knee. If you’re over the age 50, you’re at a heightened risk of this “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis. A study conducted in 2015 concluded that PRP therapy worked better to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee than hyaluronic acid injections. 

What to expect during PRP therapy

The entire treatment happens in our office and usually takes a little more than an hour. Here are the steps of the process: 

If you need recovery time, it’s more likely because of your injury rather than the injection. However, you may not feel the effect of the injection immediately. That’s because the platelets need time to do their work. Over the course of the next several weeks or months, you begin to notice a difference as your condition improves. 

If you have knee pain, PRP therapy could be an appropriate solution. If you’d like to learn more, schedule an appointment at The Spine & Pain Center of California. We’re happy to provide an evaluation to determine if PRP is an option and to discuss other treatments that may be helpful. 

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