Give it a Shot! Deciding Between Prolotherapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

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Have you heard?

Prolotherapy vs Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy are two of the leading forms of regenerative medicine that offer injection-based relief from various forms of arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. This includes injuries of the muscles, tendons, or joints, as well as degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. Both treatments have become increasingly popular due to their relatively simple nature and potential for significant results. 

Like all medical treatments, reaching a decision on which treatment will be most effective for pain relief will involve a discussion with your provider about the associated benefits and risks. It can be helpful, though, to know a bit about your options ahead of time and become familiarized with the “what”, “why”, “for whom”, and “how’s” of each!

What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is also known as Regenerative Injection Therapy or Proliferation Therapy. Though the treatment involves a very personalized timeline and experience, it is characterized by the fast and simple injection of an irritating substance of saline or sugar into the target muscles or joints experiencing pain. 

Prolotherapy encourages natural healing by making it abundantly clear to the body which damaged regions of its soft tissue require attention. The exact mechanism of the body’s response to such injections is not fully understood, but most theories agree that inflammatory signals are triggered and released in the targeted region. This promotes migration of immune cells and healing agents to the damaged tissue. By re-aggravating the compromised area, the healing process may be reinitiated, encouraging long-term relief from chronic pain of the area. Prolotherapy is kinda like when two wrongs may actually make a right!

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: For You, From You

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is another regenerative medicine therapy worth considering for musculoskeletal pain. The process begins with the collection of a blood sample from your arm. This sample is then spun in a centrifuge to promote layer separation by density. The resulting liquid layer contains the platelets and is separate from the rest of the blood’s organic matter. After Ospina’s Regenexx-patented purification and concentration laboratory techniques, the super-concentrated platelet serum is then injected into target muscles or joints experiencing pain. These cell fragments promote blood flow and healing to the target tissues. 

A normal PRP procedure concentrates the platelets to nearly five-times their normal concentration…hence the name “platelet-rich plasma therapy”! Here at Ospina Medical, we can generate a super-concentrated serum of up to 30-times the normal platelet concentration in your blood. We use this broader range to achieve a more personalized treatment for each region of your body receiving treatment. 

Comparing Prolotherapy and PRP

Prolotherapy and PRP are two forms of regenerative medicine that each have the potential to provide significant benefits to your pain and function. It is important to discuss with your provider which treatment is best for your circumstances and pain-relief journey, and consider the different benefits of each. There are a number of factors that you can be informed about ahead of time, though, which may help you and your medical team make this decision.    

  • Effectiveness: PRP injections activate healing in a way that is similar to prolotherapy, but act as a more direct method of delivering healing factors to damaged tissues. After all, the injected substance comes from your own body.     
  • Timeline: Prolotherapy may require more repeat injections than PRP injections. This is due to the fact that PRP delivers your healing agents directly to the injection site, and is therefore a more involved process than the indirect route to healing provided by prolotherapy.    
  • Cost: Both prolotherapy and PRP injections are generally not covered by insurance. This means both will involve an out-of-pocket cost. Prolotherapy is cheaper than PRP, though. Prolotherapy injections start at around $300 per treatment; PRP injections start at around $2500 per treatment. If the larger upfront cost of PRP injections makes this treatment a less desirable option, prolotherapy may be a more appealing choice!     
  • Application: Unlike prolotherapy, PRP offers the potential to promote significant improvements in conditions other than musculoskeletal pain. Most notably, PRP has seen success in promoting hair regrowth and skin-resurfacing. Have you ever heard of the “Vampire Facial"? This uses PRP!

Which Is Right for You?

Overall, both Prolotherapy and PRP Therapy have proven to be very successful at relieving chronic musculoskeletal pain and relieving a number of musculoskeletal ailments. Book your appointment with one of our Ospina Medical doctors, Dr. Matthew Kohler or Dr. Raj Maniam, if you wish to get started on your regenerative medicine pain management journey. 

Author: Camden Rowe

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.