Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Low Back Pain: a Comprehensive Review

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 Jul 3;23(7):52. doi: 10.1007/s11916-019-0797-6.


Purpose of review: Back pain is a growing problem worldwide, incurring enormous economic costs and disability. Current treatment modalities often provide adequate relief but fail to address underlying conditions. Regenerative cellular modalities aim to restore anatomical function in degenerative conditions which may cause low back pain. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) consists of an increased concentration of autologous platelets suspended in a small amount of plasma. PRP can be administered via injection or topically and is prepared using various techniques.

Recent findings: While a unifying mechanism of action is not well understood, biochemical and cellular changes involved in inflammation and mechanical structure have been detected in both in vitro and in vivo studies. At a higher level, PRP injection research utilizing animal models and patient data have provided insights into pain relief, chondroprotection, and factors that impact the therapy's efficacy. Recently, a small number of studies have promoted PRP injection as a relatively safe means of treating patients with degenerative disc disease who have failed other means of managing their lower back pain. PRP injections for sacroiliac joint-related pain are not an accepted or common treatment modality; the evidence for their efficacy remains to be seen outside of small RCTs and case reports. A small number of prospective trials have suggested there may be some benefit to using PRP injection in the treatment of pain or functional decline caused by facet joint arthropathy. These commonly used modalities require further study to improve quality of evidence and to investigate the safety and efficacy of PRP injections for various common causes of chronic low back.

Keywords: Back pain; Chronic pain; PRP; PRP injections; Platelet-rich plasma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / therapy*
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Zygapophyseal Joint / surgery*