What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a natural injection therapy effective at treating acute and chronic pain of the joints and spine.
A solution of a mild irritant and a local anesthetic are injected into the injured ligament and tendon, which creates an inflammatory response by the body. The inflammation created at specific points in the joint triggers a cascade of healing cells to flood the area and restructure the supporting and stabilizing tissues of the joint.
The injection procedure is relatively quick in office. Dr. Heather has mastered the art of the “gentle injection” by using specific needling techniques to reduce pain and maximize therapeutic value during procedures.
Is Prolotherapy right for you?
Prolotherapy works best on people who are or were active and want to get back to their full strength without pain. A healthy diet with low sugar and lots of whole foods is essential in the healing process of musculoskeletal conditions (joint pain).
Do you want a natural solution for acute or chronic joint pain?
Prolotherapy may be the answer for you. This regenerative injections therapy has been around since the 1930’s, and has a very high success rate of permanently resolving chronic joint pain! So, you might ask, if this therapy is so great, then why don’t most doctor’s offer this or even know about this? Good question. First of all, prolotherapy requires extensive postgraduate training to become adept at the technique and hands-on skills that are necessary for optimal treatment outcomes. Second of all, prolotherapy is considered an alternative therapy, and insurance companies will not pay for this type of injectable treatment. This makes it difficult for the general population to adopt this therapy into common practice.
The unique aspects of prolotherapy that make it so great at healing the joints in the body include collagen regrowth and restructuring, increased fibroblasts (synthesizes extracellular matrix and produces structural framework for the cell for wound healing) to the area, and increased blood flow to the joint. This results in a strengthening and regenerative effect, which restores the stability, flexibility and function of the joint. Joint pain is mostly from weakened ligaments and tendons that are responsible for keeping the joint together. This produces a lax and destabilized environment to the joint, which stimulates a pain signal.
Prolotherapy works by injecting a mild irritant solution (dextrose) into the fibro-osseous junction (where the ligament meets the bone). An anesthetic is used as well to decrease some of the pain of the injection, and researchers believe that the anesthetic may have healing properties as well. The solution triggers an inflammatory cascade, and recruits all of the collagen repair cells to the area for the healing to begin.
Because prolotherapy utilizes inflammation to repair the joint, there are some precautions to preparing for a treatment with prolotherapy. It is important to follow all pre and post treatment recommendations to ensure optimal results.
Benefits of Prolotherapy
- Long term results can be seen because prolotherapy induces the body’s own healing mechanism. Initial improvement may be seen in just a few weeks to a few months.
- Clinical studies show that significant improvement can be seen in scores for pain, function, and range of motion; both in the short-term and long-term.
- The need for surgery can be greatly reduced by repairing the tissues of the joint before the damage becomes irreversible.
Conditions that generally respond well to prolotherapy:
- Acute joint injuries
- Chronic joint pain
- Knee pain
- Torn meniscus
- Low back pain
- SI (sacroiliac) joint pain
- DJD (Degenerative joint disorder)
- Rotator cuff injuries and partial tears
- Labral tears
- Sprained Ankle
- Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
Conditions that generally do not respond very well to prolotherapy:
- Severely herniated discs
- Cerebral spinal stenosis
- Complete rotator cuff tears
- Cancer pain
- Pain from autoimmune conditions
1. Will the injections hurt?
There is some pain involved with injecting the solution into the joint, however an anesthetic is used during the procedure and the pain is generally tolerable and only temporary.
2. How long does the procedure take?
The actual procedure is only 5-15 minutes depending on the joint site. The doctor will spend a short period of time with you prior to the procedure discussing the plan and answering questions.
3. How many treatments will I need?
Typically 3 treatments are needed spaced about one month apart. An average of 2-6 treatments is needed depending on the history of joint injury, and your current diet and lifesyle habits.
4. How long will the treatment last?
The treatment will often stimulate complete resolution of the joint pain. Sometimes a patient will need another treatment in 1-2 years depending on their activity level and lifestyle.