Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy started in the 1930s and the term was coined by Dr. Hackett in the 1950s for “proliferate” therapy. He defined it as “the rehabilitation of an incompetent structure by the generation of new cellular tissue”. Prolotherapy is when a stimulating substance (usually dextrose/sugar) is injected to stimulate the body’s intrinsic ability to heal an injury that incompletely resolved or a repetitive stress that is beyond self repair. It is usually focused at the weak “weld” points of tendon or ligament attachments to bone.


How it Works

There is a rich supply of nerves in the connective tissue that offer feedback to determine different types of pain. The weakest link is typically at the attachment, but can also occur in the zone where the tendon changes to muscle (musculotendinous junction). When an area is injured, the body reacts with “inflammation” to “clean” out the damaged tissue and bring in the elements for repair. Anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Aleve, steroids, etc.) interfere with this healing process if used incorrectly. Healing is not complete when the pain resolves. Studies have demonstrated that after 2 weeks there are no inflammatory cells so there is not continued inflammation, but if unresolved a degenerative process (tendinitis v. tendinosis) occurs. Weak areas cause overload to adjacent and remote regions in the body.


The Procedure

The treatment depends on the extent of the problem, the ability to generate a healing response (one’s own body health), duration of the pain/dysfunction, and other health issues that can affect healing. The typical number of sessions ranges from two to six. If the treatment is not affording relief after two to three sessions, either the solution is adjusted, there is a greater focus on the individual’s health or healing response or both. After three to four sessions to a specific area without relief, either a related area is addressed or the treatment is considered a failure. As healing takes time, the injections are repeated in 4-6 week intervals. It is common to have increased discomfort for 1-3 days (increased pain can occur 70% of the time). Reduce activities during the initial painful post-treatment period.  Anti-inflammatories are to be avoided and activity level should be no more vigorous than the preceding month.


Healing Process

The treatment depends on the extent of the problem, the ability to generate a healing response (one’s own body health), duration of the pain/dysfunction, and other health issues that can affect healing. The typical number of sessions ranges from two to six. If the treatment is not affording relief after two to three sessions, either the solution is adjusted, there is a greater focus on the individual’s health or healing response or both. After three to four sessions to a specific area without relief, either a related area is addressed or the treatment is considered a failure. As healing takes time, the injections are repeated in 4-6 week intervals. It is common to have increased discomfort for 1-3 days (increased pain can occur 70% of the time).  Reduce activities during the initial painful post-treatment period. Anti-inflammatories are to be avoided and activity level should be no more vigorous than the preceding month.


Benefits

Prolotherapy is a safe, non-surgical treatment for chronic or acute orthopedic injuries. Common conditions treated with Prolotherapy include Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow, Jumper’s Knee, Achilles Tendinitis, Hip/Shoulder Bursitis, cartilage/ligament/joint damage and Plantar Fasciitis. The typical Prolotherapy solution usually contains dextrose combined with an anesthetic like Procaine or Lidocaine. Prolotherapy actually promotes healing and repair in the damaged area by stimulating the body’s healing mechanism to restore function and strength to the damaged area. It is important to note that Prolotherapy is not like Cortisone shots. Cortisone only decreases inflammation and either slows or stops the healing process while Prolotherapy heals the injury.