What is blood made from?
All mammals, and that includes us, have a fluid called blood that gets pumped around our bodies in a network of blood vessels (arteries /veins).
Blood is made up of many different cells and a fluid called plasma.
Most people have heard of red and white blood cells. The red cells carry oxygen which is an essential element in energy production. White cells help us produce antibodies to fight infection. There are however other bits floating around in the blood plasma which are much smaller. These are called platelets.
What are Platelets?
Platelets contain many different 'factors'. These can plug areas of damage to the blood vessels and prevent leakage; they also stimulate growth and repair. Consequently, to improve healing potential Growth Factors have to be present.
Plasma itself, whilst mostly water, contains many different proteins, electrolytes, vitamins and nutrients such as glucose and amino acids. These too are needed to grow new tissue and generate tissue repair.
Platelet Rich Plasma could therefore be described as a collection of the 'bits' of blood needed for tissue repair.
Do we heal faster if we have more platelets at the site of tissue damage?
Firstly, we don't heal at all if Platelets are not present. So to make sure we heal as good as possible it would stand to reason that there exists a 'best amount'; an optimal level.
But what is this level and how do we know what our own level is?
It is unlikely that we will know our platelet count or what our levels of folate, B12, zinc and magnesium (just to name a few) are. But if we take what we have and concentrate it, then the levels in that sample will be higher.
This is the logic behind injections of PRP.
It is however important to remember that if we improve our diet then we will improve our entire body chemistry!
Does the research support the use of PRP?
One of the largest research advice centres in the UK is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE provides guidance to the National Health Service (NHS) with regard to which treatments it should deliver.
The current information provided by NICE states that "the evidence on platelet-rich plasma injections for knee osteoarthritis raises no major safety concerns. However, the evidence on efficacy (its success) is limited in quality."
This pretty much sums up the status of PRP research. It can be done without risk, but its success is un-proven. It is not dis-proven; we simply don't know.
So what does the Injection Clinic think?
Number one: eat well and make sure you have a diet that contains all the essential ingredients, as mentioned in the last blog 'Body Chemistry'.
Number two: move well. If you don't move well then you will continually irritate the tissues that need chance to repair.
Number three: normal and appropriate healing takes time. When cooking food it is not best practice to put everything on full heat; some things just take longer. Be patient.
Number four: if you have not made an appropriate tissue repair after following steps one, two and three, then PRP is a safe treatment that could boost your healing potential.
Please Note: There are diseases and pathology that prevent good health irrespective of an individuals actions. The advice in this blog is not a substitute for medical opinion. Always consult your healthcare professional for specific advice on your personal condition. But please remember, best health irrespective of condition will always be optimised if your chemistry is made as good as possible.