Cortisone Injections vs. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injections
What are Cortisone Injections?
Before PRP was created, Cortisone injections were widely used to help treat moderate to severe levels of pain, muscle and joint inflammation. Cortisone injections are derived from a specific type of steroid called Corticosteroids that grew popular due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties and its instant pain relief. A cortisone injection is administered directly into the pain specific area in the tendon or joint and provides immediate pain relief. But the problem with Cortisone injections are they only provide temporary pain relief and do not provide a healing solution but rather a band-aid to the underlying issue and due to its extreme potency, a physician must monitor the patient through the entire process and limit how many shots they can receive due to its powerful side effects such as ligament, bone and joint deterioration.
What are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) on the other hand is similar to Cortisone injections but have their own benefits, processes and objectives in regards to pain treatment. With PRP treatment, it is directed to healing the injured area to relieve the pain rather than masking the pain like Coritsone Injections. Cortisone Injections have immediate pain relief but is primarily a temporary solution. With PRP on the other hand, it offers not only pain relief but also tissue regeneration and healing but has a longer healing and pain relief time. With PRP, you must see a licensed physician who specializes in joint regeneration to evaluate the severity of the pain, the location and if PRP is even needed. With PRP, a licensed Physican uses your own blood and will then centrifuge (spin) it to separate the proteins called Growth Factors, which are important in the pain relief and healing process. Once all of the growth factors have been separated, it is then prepared in a syringe to be injected into the injured tendon or joint with minimal side effects other than soreness.
Which Injections should I choose?
With Cortisone injections, they provide immediate pain relief into the severely painful tendon or joint space, which then allows you to do the same movements and activities either with little to no pain. The downside of Cortisone injections are the high potent side effects that may cause ligament, bone and joint deterioration and only provides temporary relief until it wears off. Also, Coristone injections are limited due to its side effects and do not provide any healing properties to the injured area which can actually cause more damage in the long run.
With PRP, its healing process and pain relief does have a more significant amount of healing time but PRP provides the ability of “two birds with one stone” analogy. With PRP, its offers healing of the tendon and joint space as well as pain relief just at a slower rate. With PRP, you’re inhibiting the bodies natural healing process with your own blood and has very minimal side effects other than possible soreness. In the long run, PRP will benefit you more due to the fact that it does not mask the pain with temporary pain relief, but provides healing of the injured area and offers pain relief through out its process.
But, the best method to decide which of the above treatments are best for you is to see a Osteopathic Physician that is a members of the American Osteopathic Association who has expertise and experience in the field of Regenerative medicine. They can easily help weigh out the pros and cons of the injections and medically evaluate you and give you the best treatment options and plan of care.