Did you know tennis elbow affects 1% to 3% of the U.S. population? Of that small percentage, men are more likely to be affected compared to women, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When it happens, you may be wondering what type of treatments provide fast relief, and of course long-lasting results. At our chiropractic in El Segundo, we recommend skipping corticosteroid shots and trying platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections instead.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, occurs when an individual engages in repetitive motions, which affect the wrist and arm. Unlike its name might suggest, it does not just impact athletes. Anyone can fall victim to its slow, progressing pain. When you are overusing and straining forearm muscles, you will experience dull to severe ache and discomfort on the external part of your elbow.
How Is Tennis Elbow Treated with PRP Injections?
The aches you feel occur where the tendons of your forearm muscles meet the bony tip of your elbow. You may experience the following:
- Persistent pain that intensifies around the outside of the elbow.
- Worsening discomfort when holding objects or shaking hands.
- Painful or stiff wrist when lifting items.
Tennis elbow is not an injury that you can recover from instantly, as there is limited blood flow in the surrounding area. PRP injections were developed to take your blood platelets, which are known for enriching healing properties, before re-inserting back into the wound to accelerate healing. Unlike PRP, corticosteroid shots only provide short-term relief without the intention of healing. It may cause your tendon to break down further when you go back to work or return to your favorite sport.
What the Studies Reveal
In a study conducted by Taco Gosens, MD, Ph.D., and others at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, Netherlands, they assigned patients with tennis elbow to receive PRP or corticosteroid injection. Once treated, corticosteroids were proven to have had faster relief. However, nearly 30 weeks later, patients that received PRP saw more improvement in functionality and reported having less pain than those who took the corticosteroid. According to WebMD, medical researchers found that:
- 64% of patients that received PRP saw an improvement in pain.
- 84% of patients that received PRP had an improvement in disability.
- 24% of corticosteroid-treated patients saw an improvement in pain.
- 17% of corticosteroid-treated patients saw an improvement in disability.
According to Gosens, “…In the natural history of lateral epicondylitis 80% of patients are healed in one year, but all patients had complaints for at least six months,” Gosens and colleagues report. “In our [study], significant results were achieved only after 26 weeks [with PRP].”
Are PRP Injections Right for You?
Although there is a high success rate, not everyone jumps at the opportunity to get PRP injections in El Segundo if it is not covered under their insurance plan. With any new treatment, you should schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. You can trust us, at Premiere Chiropractic to work with you and deliver the best results.