Chronic pain can interfere with living normally, no matter what part of your body it affects. However, when chronic pain strikes your hands and wrists, it can have a devastating effect. Debilitating hand and wrist pain can make it impossible to perform even the most basic life-sustaining tasks.
If conservative treatments, such as lifestyle modifications and physical therapy, haven’t improved your condition, you may benefit from innovative treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that promotes healing and pain relief without surgery or medication. It encourages faster recovery by increasing the level of healing properties at the location of an injury or deterioration.
Orthopedic surgeon Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, and the team at Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, have extensive experience administering PRP to treat hand and wrist pain. Their expertise in using PRP to trigger natural repair mechanisms has helped relieve pain and improve function in many patients’ hands and wrists.
How PRP therapy can relieve pain
Platelet-rich plasma therapy utilizes the healing power of elements that exist naturally in your blood. There are three primary elements in your blood: platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells.
Platelets carry growth factors. These helpful proteins support recovery by attracting stem cells and blood flow to damaged areas and increasing collagen production.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy harnesses the power of these platelets. First, your provider draws some of your blood. Then your provider separates the platelets from the other elements in your blood. Finally, your provider injects this platelet serum into your injured area.
The platelets then go straight to work, triggering tissue regeneration and helping the area to heal. And, as healing increases, pain decreases.
Common causes of hand and wrist pain treated with PRP therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is very effective in reducing symptoms and hastening the healing process in issues that involve the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues of the hand and wrist, such as:
Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that makes your thumb or fingers remain in a bent position. It involves the tendons that regulate the way your fingers flex and bend.
Every finger has a tendon that glides back and forth through a sheath when your hand grips and flexes. The sheath acts as a tunnel to hold your tendons in place.
When the tendon or sheath becomes inflamed or thickened, the tendon can’t slide through the sheath. This causes the tendon to get stuck and prevents the associated finger from being capable of straightening.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, results from pressure on the median nerve. This nerve extends from your arm to your palm through a passageway called the carpal tunnel.
Swelling of the carpal tunnel can occur from repetitive movements, rheumatoid arthritis, bone spurs, or an injury. This swelling narrows the carpal tunnel and exerts pressure on the median nerve, which can result in pain, tingling, and weakness in the hand and wrist.
De Quervain’s tendinitis
De Quervain's tendinitis, or radial styloid tenosynovitis, is a common source of pain in the wrist and the thumb side of the hand. It results from repetitive grasping, and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
When De Quervain's tendinitis occurs, it causes swelling in the tendon that runs down the forearm and through the wrist and thumb. When the swollen tendons rub against the sheaths through which they pass, pain can result.
What to expect from PRP therapy
With PRP treatment, there’s no possibility of an allergic reaction, because the treatment uses your own blood. You may experience temporary bruising or soreness at the injection site.
Unlike a steroid injection that provides immediate pain relief, PRP therapy takes time to work. In fact, you may experience increased pain at the injection site for the first week or two. This heightened discomfort is normal and occurs as the blood cells start the healing process.
It can take several weeks to achieve noticeable improvement of symptoms and function in areas treated with PRP therapy. The results you experience depend on many factors, such as your overall health and the extent of damage at the source of your hand and wrist pain.
To learn more about the benefits of treating hand and wrist pain with PRP therapy, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.