Skeletal muscle tissue is amazing and among the most abundant tissue in the body. Skeletal muscle is responsible for moving us through the environment and protecting us from injury. It is under control by our nervous system and communicates bi-directionally with our spinal cord and brain.
Everyone knows that skeletal muscle tissue responds physiologically to biomechanical stress and exercise. This is the basis for every musculoskeletal rehabilitation intervention used in medicine. When muscle is exercised or conditioned, it incurs tiny injuries and tears. These tears result in the release of chemical messengers that activate the body’s muscle-healing cascade to produce direct muscle repair or hypertrophy. The healing cascade also activates nearby reparative cells called satellite cells.
Satellite cells are small mononuclear progenitor cells with virtually no cytoplasm found in mature muscle. They are precursors to skeletal muscle cells, able to give rise to satellite cells or differentiated skeletal muscle cells. Upon activation, satellite cells can re-enter the cell cycle to proliferate and differentiate into myoblasts. Recent studies of satellite cell surface markers show that they demonstrate similar kinds of markers as mesenchymal stem cells.
Platelet rich plasma contains concentrated growth factors and chemical cell signaling molecules essential for muscle repair. This study in rats showed that platelet-rich plasma treatment induced a modification of certain cytokines and growth factor levels in muscle but not in the bloodstream. This suggests that local platelet-rich plasma treatment influenced directly or, more plausibly, indirectly the synthesis or recruitment of cytokines and growth factors at the site of injury. When they looked for growth factor levels and cytokines in non-treated muscles they didn’t find any. This suggests that the effect was more likely related to the injection itself and not systemic factors.
Local platelet rich plasma injections for painful muscles (trigger points) are a safe and plausible treatment for locally painful muscles that have not responded to physical modalities (heat, stretching, electrical stimulation, or acupuncture-type treatment) and exercise. By using ultrasound guidance, very specific muscles can be isolated and targeted for treatment. The injections can be safely performed in the office within a single day.
The specialists at Columbia Pain Management, PC are experts at applying the latest findings from the science of Regenerative Medicine to reduce pain and improve function. We use the Regenexx proprietary form of platelet rich plasma and platelet lysate that can be customized and concentrated beyond what is typically available from other producers. If you’re feeling stuck, stymied, or frustrated by chronic muscle pain, then we might be able to help.