Pro athletes and duffers alike are trying injections of platelet-rich plasma to treat chronic injuries like tennis elbow. But despite thousands of studies, it’s not clear that the treatment works.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.npr.org
This article at NPR.com refers to a study French researchers presented at a conference in Paris:
They gave two groups of people with Tennis Elbow (a total of 44) two injections four weeks apart.
Half the people got injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma, half got saline injections (salt water.) Most people were pain-free after a year, but the people who got PRP did no better than people who got saline.
“…injections of growth factors-containing platelet-rich plasma are no more effective in treating recently developed epicondylitis than injections of saline.”
“while PRP injections were shown to have no inherent benefit… what is exciting is that pain scores in both treatment groups decreased significantly over the course of the trial.”
(The pain scores in the both groups had improved by about 50-60% at the 6-month mark.)
“The healing process is stimulated by the echo-guided injection of a substance and/or by the own effect of the needle (needling); the injections stimulate the process of tendon repair through an irritation effect, a technique known as Prolotherapy.”
So this is not a negative or necessarily a confusing result, as the NPR story suggests . The study suggests that BOTH PRP and Prolotherapies (and/or dry needling/Fenestration) may be effective treatments.
(Although it’s hard to separate the “Needle Effect” from the placebo effect, because any time they put a needle into a patients tendon – even if it’s just as a control group and nothing is injected – you still have a potential benefit from the needle (again, the dry needling/Fenestration therapeutic effect.)