With the everchanging, rapidly advancing field of medicine – we understand that it’s a little difficult to keep up with. However, one fact that remains constant is that people will always experience health challenges, injuries, and more. Up until recently, most physicians have been utilizing cortisone injections (and their derivatives) to treat a wide variety of ailments and traumas.
However, it is worth noting that repeated or frequent usage of cortisone injections can damage the tissues and cause unwanted side effects. Enter – PRP, or platelet-rich plasma. PRP injections offer a viable alternative to corticosteroid injections, without all of the nasty side effects. We’re going to briefly review an exciting medical study that pits the two against each other to measure their effectiveness. Which one will reign supreme? But first, let’s define each.
Understanding PRP AKA Platelet-Rich Plasma
Everybody’s blood contains platelets in addition to red and white blood cells. They are important for forming blood clots. Platelets also contain growth factors, which are important for regenerative medicine in helping to decrease inflammation and relieve your condition. By concentrating and reinserting platelets into the affected location of the body, your platelets are being transferred in great quantities to the part of the body it’s needed the most to jump-start the healing process. The growth factors stimulate cell growth to allow your tissue to repair.
A Closer Look at Corticosteroids
A valuable tool for treating inflammation. This corticosteroid is a synthetic version of a natural hormone called cortisol. Cortisone is used to treat inflammatory conditions, including autoimmune diseases as well as joint swelling and pain. Its natural counterpart, cortisol, is produced by the body’s adrenal glands. This hormone suppresses the immune system’s inflammatory and allergic responses. The synthetic derivative cortisone mimics the action of cortisol but tends to achieve a more powerful response- as well as exposing the patient to potentially greater side effects.
PRP vs Corticosteroids – The Final Verdict
In a 2020 study by the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research1, 40 patients were treated for osteoarthritis. Half of the group were treated utilizing cortisone injections, while the other half had PRP injections. Results were monitored throughout the treatment period, and up to one year after the final injection.
Ultimately, no adverse reactions were noted in either group. However, here’s where things get interesting. In the corticosteroids group, pain relief and improvement were observed for the first 5 weeks. At 15 weeks the CS patients actually started regressing – with pain creeping up on them once again (statistically significant difference).
Contrast this with the effects of the PRP group, who observed pain relief for up to 12 months following the final injection. Additionally, the PRP group vastly outperformed the Corticosteroid group in several metrics relating to flexibility and pain levels. This study shows that PRP is safe and improves pain and function compared to corticosteroids for mild to moderate knee arthritis.
Get Seen, Get Better
Are you struggling with chronic pain? Have you tried corticosteroid injections with temporary or minimal results? ROSM offers better alternatives! Our tailored treatment programs are customized to your needs. We offer PRP injections to enhance our patient’s recoveries as well as their lives.
At Regenerative Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (ROSM), we’re helping our patients reach their optimal level of performance and health. Our team of experts are leaders in the field of regenerative medicine, providing regenerative orthopedic solutions to combat joint pain and get you back to your active lifestyle.
Want to learn more about PRP? ROSM offers an informative educational library for you to explore! Click here to read more on PRP and how it works.
At ROSM, pain is optional – but achieving positive outcomes for our patients is mandatory. Contact us to see what we can do for you today.