By now, you may have heard the basics about platelet-rich plasma therapy, commonly known as PRP. You may know that it’s a procedure that can rebuild wounded tissue, ease pain in your joints and ligaments, and much more without painful or expensive surgery.

One of the ways we use PRP therapy at RestorePDX is to treat wrist pain. Whether you’ve taken a fall leading to an injury, suffer from arthritis or are a lifelong athlete with pain from repetitive motion, PRP can often bring pain relief in as little as six weeks. We know you might have a lot of questions about this treatment and whether it would be effective for you. We’ve answered a few of the most frequently asked questions about how PRP can treat wrist pain below, but don’t hesitate to reach out to us with additional questions.

What is PRP? Where does it come from?

You might remember learning about platelets, the tiny blood cells that help your blood clot, in your high school biology class. These small but mighty cells are one component of blood and contain growth factors that jump start the healing process and can help eliminate your wrist pain. When you fall and scrape your knee or get a paper cut, platelets help your blood clot and release healing growth factors that help the injury heal.

PRP is obtained by doing a simple blood draw from the patient. After drawing your blood, we use Regenexx’s proprietary lab processing method to separate the components of your blood and obtain the platelet-rich plasma that contains growth factors that are conducive to healing. Some PRP clinics may use a bedside centrifuge to separate the components of your blood and concentrate the platelets. However, we separate your platelets out in the lab at our clinic, allowing us to take into account the unique factors of your blood and obtain the highest concentration of platelets. Our PRP can routinely be concentrated to 20 times baseline, while others are lucky to get 5 times baseline.  Based upon studies and our own clinical experience the higher concentrations correlate with better outcomes.

What are RestorePDX’s first steps to treat wrist pain using PRP therapy?

Each patient is unique and there is no one-size-fits all approach to treating wrist pain. That’s why we start with pain-free, diagnostic imaging to find the correct diagnosis. This may include arthritis, tendinosis, ligament tears, ganglia, or even nerve injury.  Once we have the correct diagnosis, we’ll determine if PRP therapy is the best treatment for you and outline an individualized treatment plan.

When you’re ready to get started with PRP therapy, we take a quick blood draw just like you’re used to at the doctor’s office to collect the platelet-rich plasma that is key to the healing process.  We next use ultrasound guided injections, to target the small areas and ligaments of the wrist. The amount of PRP injected varies depending on the size of the area we are trying to target but is generally between two cubic centimeters (cc) to six cc.

Why is PRP therapy effective for wrist pain? Why is it better than surgery?

PRP contains proteins that dramatically enhance tissue recovery via stimulation, repair and regeneration of tissue. PRP is injected into small joints and ligamentous structures of the wrist without surgical intervention to target the sources of your pain. The therapy offers many of the pain-relief benefits of surgery without prolonged healing time and other side effects. Depending on your insurance coverage, PRP therapy may also be more cost effective than surgery.

Who is the ideal candidate for PRP therapy?

PRP is an excellent treatment option for a wide-variety of patients suffering from wrist pain. Whether you’re an athlete who has suffered multiple injuries and are feeling the strain of your sports career or a massage therapist who is experiencing pain as a result of your work, PRP can have a dramatic impact on improving your quality of life. Lifelong hobbyists, such as musicians who may suffer from wrist pain after years of tickling the ivories or strumming a guitar, often find PRP therapy to be an effective method of pain relief. We also recommend this treatment for people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis or neuritis of a nerve.

How long is the treatment plan?

The most common treatment plan is two to three treatments spread throughout approximately six weeks to three months. A few weeks after your first treatment, we like to check in with our patients to make sure that they are benefitting from the treatment and noticing a reduction in their pain levels. Many patients do notice an improvement in the amount of pain they are experiencing following the first injection. If there is an improvement in the level of pain and the patient is seeing the benefit, then we’ll move on to additional treatments.

What will this cost me?

Full treatment often ranges from $800 to $1,500. We develop an individualized treatment plan for every patient, so cost may vary. Insurance does not cover this procedure.

How painful is PRP therapy?

The injection of PRP is described as a dull ache-type pain accompanied by stiffness. We usually recommend 48 hours of downtime following the procedure before returning to work. After returning to work, you may still have some pain, which is normal.

What should I expect from the healing process?

You should expect a gradual healing process that takes time, not overnight relief. It often takes six weeks for patients to see a reduction in their pain levels and the benefits of PRP therapy.

What would surprise the average person about PRP treatment for wrist pain?

Patients are often surprised by how quick and easy the procedure is, then elated by the profound improvement that can be obtained from just one to two treatments.  

We have helped thousands of suffering patients see reductions in their pain levels through PRP therapy. This treatment method has helped them save time, money and unnecessary pain that would normally accompany a surgical procedure. To see how PRP treatment could help you and to schedule a consultation to see if it is a good fit, contact us today.