Education Has Patients Choosing PRP over Steroids and Drugs

Education Has Patients Choosing PRP over Steroids and Drugs

You go to the doctor for a routine exam before getting your next prescription for pain medication. You do this several times a year as a result of the chronic osteoarthritis pain you suffer. You have been doing it for years. But then you run across a couple of articles talking about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. Despite your doctor not being in favor of it, you investigate PRP injections anyway. You eventually decide they are right for you.

The scenario just described is happening more frequently in the United States. A growing number of people previously willing to accept anti-inflammatory therapies and joint replacement surgeries have decided there might be better ways to treat their pain. They are taking the time to educate themselves about PRP and other regenerative medicine procedures. And many are choosing to forgo steroid injections and pain medication in favor of PRP.

So what’s going on? Why is the American public so interested in PRP therapy despite so much media-generated debate? It all boils down to education.

Patients Are Taking Control

Imagine a group of doctors attending training sessions at the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. After multiple weekend sessions teaching them everything from what PRP does to the actual procedures for administering it, they return to their practices on Monday morning. They start seeing new patients a few days later.

It would not be uncommon for said doctors to discover that their patients know more about PRP therapy than they do. In fact, patients are becoming increasingly more informed about what ails them. Thanks to a combination of endless information on the internet and a new realization that patients are their own best advocates, people are starting to take control over their healthcare decisions instead of just accepting what the doctor says.

We can agree or disagree over whether that is good or not, but it does not change reality. Patients are no longer willing to accept that steroid injections are the only option for managing their chronic arthritis pain. There are no longer willing to blindly take pain medications for years on end without asking questions. They are no longer willing to accept that joint replacement surgery will permanently end their pain.

Patients Are Learning the Truth

Patient self-education is not limited only to learning about regenerative medicine and its benefits. People are also educating themselves about the potential negative consequences associated with traditional therapies. For example, doctors know enough to be very cautious with steroids. But until recently, patients have not been aware of just how dangerous steroids are.

Thanks to self-education, people are discovering that steroids are very difficult to stop using once therapy starts. They are learning that steroids can lead to cartilage loss and secondary osteoporosis. They are learning that even the most effective steroids only offer temporary relief.

It is not just steroids that people are wary of. More and more patients are alarmed to learn the truth about NSAIDs. For the record, tens of millions of NSAID prescriptions are written in this country every year. And yet, long-term use of these drugs poses a significant enough risk that doctors are taught to be cautious with their use.

The truth of the matter is that the traditional approaches for addressing chronic osteoarthritis pain are not as safe and effective as commonly advertised. Why so many doctors insist on continuing to recommend them while simultaneously discouraging PRP therapy is a mystery. Thankfully, patients are beginning to take matters into their own hands. They are educating themselves to make informed decisions.

Category Health