Before the development of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, physicians generally used cortisone injections to relieve moderate to severe muscle/joint inflammation and (some) pain. However, with the creation of PRP injections, physicians can now alleviate inflammation and pain as well as aid the damaged tissue’s healing process.
Despite a few minor differences, both therapies provide patients with some level of pain relief. Regardless, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are covering the differences between the two therapies and which one may be best for reducing your pain.
Corticosteroids, the substances inside cortisone injections, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are often recommended for patients suffering from joint pain. Cortisone is commonly injected into the damaged or painful bursa, tendon or joint. The most significant difference between cortisone and PRP injections is that cortisone masks pain and does not repair the injured joint/tendon. PRP injections, on the other hand, have healing properties that encourage cellular growth and tissue regeneration.
As mentioned in previous blogs about PRP injections, the patient’s own blood is used to treat the injured joint(s). Our blood contains bioactive proteins that promote and manage the body’s healing process, so risks and/or complications from the therapy are much less prevalent than with cortisone injections. Unfortunately, studies have indicated repeated use of corticosteroids may cause deterioration of the cartilage within the joint.
Other risks may include joint infection, nerve damage, thinning of the skin and soft tissue around the injection site and in severe cases, death of nearby bone. Therefore, physicians will usually limit the number of shots a patient can receive. Nevertheless, PRP injections are also heavily controlled and unlike cortisone shots, relieve pain at a much slower rate. Patients may start feeling some level of pain relief 4 to 6 months after the initial injection.
PRP injections may also cost more than cortisone injections. Some insurance companies may provide partial reimbursement for PRP injections that have been pre-authorized. When it comes down to it, PRP injections may be better for not only alleviating joint/muscle pain, but healing it as well. Regardless, it’s important to discuss your health concerns with your Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician.
If chronic pain is impacting your life, don't wait to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With three locations and growing, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to! To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
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