What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy (also called reconstructive therapy) is an injection technique that has been shown to cause growth of cells and tissue to stabilize and strengthen weakened joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It was discovered in the 1920’s by George S. Hackett, M.D., and two Philadelphia Osteopathic surgeons, Dr. Gedney and Dr. Shuman.
What does Prolotherapy address?
Prolotherapy stimulates your natural healing process. The injections stimulate blood vessel growth into tissues. This increases oxygen, nutrients and growth factor delivery to the areas. This process along with a mechanical understanding of the tissues facilitates healing.
The Spine is composed of bones, tendons, ligaments, discs, cartilage and connective tissue. Discs and cartilage serve as shock absorbers and keep your bones from rubbing against one another. In acute injuries, where the ligaments and tendons become torn and are unable to stabilize joint areas, grinding and tissue damage can occur. This causes the discs or cartilage to degenerate which ultimately leads to joint instability, pain and malfunction.
Ligaments function as the primary stabilizers of the joints in the body. They connect bones to each other and function to limit excess range of motion. Tendons connect muscles to bones in order to provide motion. Improper positioning of vertebrae, muscles and soft tissue can affect nerve flow. Whenever the nerves are impinged, skin, muscle and organ malfunctions can occur. This holds true for any and all tissues of the body. Correction of musculoskeletal abnormalities can normalize nerve flow and therefore improve tissue and organ function.
The injections are administered one to three times weekly. Each treatment session results in increased deposition of tissue in the needed areas. As a result, the joints continue to become stronger and more stabilized. Thus, the natural functions of the body are regained. Research has shown this therapy is capable of increasing strength and structure of ligaments and tendons 30-40% above normal. The frequency and number of injections depend upon the area, the individual and the type of dysfunction or damage.
As Prolotherapy stimulates blood vessel growth into tissues, a unique opportunity to deliver a variety of essential nutrients to these areas develops. We now know that our Healing Ability, Immune Response, Cardiovascular System and Metabolism are adversely affected by Nutrient Deficiency. The doctor therefore must perform a Nutritional Assessment and physical exam prior to beginning therapy so as to maximize results. A specialized Vitamin and Mineral blood test is done to assess nutrient status, absorption and digestive ability. The doctor then reviews the patient’s daily food diary and blood work. A nutritional protocol is recommended that is tailored to each individual. This is the most specific and advantageous way to optimize nutritional status and therefore benefit from reconstructive therapy.
Indications for Prolotherapy
- Have you been advised by a physician to take medication for aches and pain? (Cortisone, Nalfon, Feldene, Clinoril, Naprosyn, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol or Aspirin)
- Have you had joint, tendon or ligament pain? Or lack of function or endurance for longer than six weeks?
- Do you get only temporary relief from manipulation / adjustments or other body therapies, such as rolling, massage, physical therapy, hot packs and acupuncture?Have you been told you have arthritis, degenerative joint disease or worn cartilage or discs?
- Have you had orthopedic or neurosurgery and still have pain? Or are you worse after surgery?
- Do your joints click, grind, snap or pop?
- Do you have a joint that slips out of place or buckles?
- Do you have to change positions of a joint every few minutes?
- In general, is your problem worse after activity or exercise and better with rest?
- Do you have a joint which swells after use?
- Does a splint or brace help the joint?
- It promotes the body’s own natural healing ability.
- The functions of the body are regained and optimized.
- No drugs or surgery are used.
- It relieves pain.
- In a double blind human study, in which neither the patients nor the researchers knew specifically who was receiving the treatment, 88.5% of those injected with the reconstructive solution showed improvement.
- It is capable of increasing the strength and structure in ligaments and tendons 30-40% above normal.
- The results are permanent.
- There’s no down time.
- There are no significant side effects.
- It is a very conservative treatment and doesn’t remove parts or weaken areas as surgery often does.
- It must be performed by a physician specially trained in Reconstructive / Neural Therapy and Osteopathic technique, principles and practice.
In general, patients note a marked improvement after the first few series of injections. It is then a matter of repeating the treatment enough times to bring the joint back to full strength and function.
Read Prolotherapy related articles (CLICK the links below)
- Randomized prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study of dextrose prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis with or without acl laxity.