As we grace the senior cohort and reach an age exceeding 65 decades, we’ve likely come to terms with our wrinkles and stark white hair. Aging continues to surprise us in new ways that it changes — from our teeth to our sexuality — expect the unexpected!
Most commonly, it’s our neuromusculoskeletal system that weakens. Our bones are less dense and the fibers, tendons, and tissues that keep us in place and able to move deteriorate. This is an issue we all face, but how can you compensate when you’re a lively and active senior? Afterall, you don’t want your body to slow you from yoga, tennis, or your overall optimal fitness. In the search for methods to help your aging body, have you considered platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections as a form of regenerative medicine? If PRP injections are new to you, let’s explore this amazing regenerative modality. In this article, we’ll look at what PRP therapy is and why it is beneficial for active seniors!
What is PRP?
PRP is blood drawn directly from the patient receiving the injection. The blood is then spun and separated using a centrifuge, to produce a high concentration of platelets well over the normal value. The platelets are then injected to the patient to support and promote healing to the injured site.
What Are PRP Injections Good For?
PRP therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical therapy that promotes the healing in musculoskeletal injuries. It’s popular in cosmetic procedures made famous by the Vampire Facelift, but its origins are with healing and repairing tissues in the body. PRP injections have also been favorable for injured athletes as they speed recovery time enabling them to get back to competing faster and with minimal pain. This therapy is an amazing option for active seniors who are coping with tendonitis, arthritis, ligament tears, and sprains.
How Are PRP Injections Beneficial?
PRP is often referred to by medical professionals as “liquid gold” because of its ability to heal the body with a substance we already create. The common role for platelets is for its blood clotting properties, but we now know of its superpower for healing tissues and wounds.
The blood is comprised of roughly 93 percent red blood cells, six percent white blood cells, and one percent plasma and platelets. Because the concentration of platelets are so low, to see a therapeutic effect on the body higher concentrations need to be administered, hence the blood being drawn and separated. This high concentration of platelets benefit tissues because they are extremely rich in healing and connective tissue growth factors. When a tissue is injured, the first response is for the body to transport platelets to the affected area. In addition, platelets both attract stem cells and stimulate repair to the injury. When further platelets are injected to the joints, tendons, and ligaments — the natural mending begins.
How Do PRP Injections Directly Affect Active Seniors?
As seniors, we are more prone to accidents and injuries not only doing everyday activities but also when we’re participating in activities we love. PRP injections are perfect for active seniors because it can speed healing and prevent future injuries. Being a health and functional senior can mean the difference of being out and about and able to drive a car to an injured one that is bed-bound indefinitely. It’s independence vs. dependence.
PRP injections are ideal for the following soft tissue injuries:
- Spine and disc pain
- Shoulder pain and weakness
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Golfer or Tennis elbow
- Knee pain and instability
- Patellar pain and/or sprains
- Ankle sprains
- Nerve impingements
- SI discomfort
- Lower back pain
As An Active Senior, Will I be Able to Avoid Surgery?
PRP therapy addresses the injury on an individual basis, so you’ll always want to consult with your doctor. With that said, because PRP injections are highly concentrated and highly restorative they amazingly work to repair small tears and sprains. In the case of arthritis, PRP therapy could prevent further deterioration — reducing the need for joint replacement surgeries.
How Long Does a PRP Injection Take In Office?
From start to finish, the total procedure time is no longer than an hour including both the blood being drawn and then the platelets being injected. The procedure is somewhat painful, but it’s only a bit uncomfortable for a moment.
The biggest takeaway from a PRP injection is to not take an anti-inflammatory if it’s still achy after the treatment, as this can impede on the healing process.
The timeframe for seeing results will vary from patient-to-patient depending on factors such as how many injections were administered and the degree of injury. Many active seniors have seen results within four to six weeks!
If you’re a senior who loves to be active but fear what may happen if you accidently fall or move in an awkward way, PRP injections are an excellent option to promote quick healing if something does happen. Stay active and stay independent!
Are There Risks For Seniors?
Because PRP is a substance that is coming directly from the patient, PRP therapy is extremely safe. You don’t have to worry about an allergic reaction because it’s your own platelets! When a needle is introduced there is always a risk of infection or nerve damage, but this is very rare.
Optimal Health and Medical Fitness
At Optimal Health and Medical Fitness, we love to support active seniors. It’s important to maintain your autonomy and stay healthy and mobile. If you suffer from arthritis or have a soft tissue injury, schedule an appointment with us today!