What is Prolotherapy?
If you are suffering from joint pain prolotherapy is a useful therapy.
Prolotherapy (Proliferative Therapy), also know as Non-Surgical Ligament and Tendon Reconstruction and Regenerative Joint Injection, is a recognized orthopedic procedure that stimulates the body’s healing processes to strengthen and repair injured and painful joints and connective tissue. It is based on the fact that when ligaments or tendons (connective tissue) are stretched or torn, the joint they are holding destabilizes and can become painful. Prolotherapy, with its unique ability to directly address the cause of the instability, can repair the weakened sites and produce new collagen tissue, resulting in permanent stabilization of the joint. Once the joint is stabilized, pain usually resolves.
Traditional approaches with surgery have more risk and may fail to stabilize the joint and relieve pain, and anti-inflammatory or other pain relievers only act temporarily.
The original term used for this therapy was “sclerotherapy”, coined in the 1930’s when this treatment was discovered, and included both joint and vein injections. Today the term “prolotherapy” is used for joint, ligament and tendon injections, while “sclerotherapy” is used for the treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, hemorrhoids and other vascular abnormalities.
How does Prolotherapy work?
Prolotherapy works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms to lay down new tissue in the weakened area. This is done by a very directed injection to the injury site, “tricking” the body to repair again. The mild inflammatory response which is created by the injection encourages growth of new, normal ligament or tendon fibers, resulting in a tightening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments repeat this process, allowing a gradual buildup of tissue to restore the original strength to the area.
What is in the solution that is injected?
Prolotherapy injections contain natural substances that stimulate the healing response, as well as local anesthetic agents to help with the pain of the injection. Traditional formulas include ingredients such as dextrose, saline, sarapin and procaine or lidocaine. Each treating physician tailors the selection of the appropriate formula according to the patient’s need.
Is the Prolotherapy treatment painful?
Any pain involving an injection will vary according to the structure or joint treated, the choice of solution, and the skill of the physician administering the injection. The treatment may result in a temporary increase in pain with mild swelling and stiffness. The discomfort usually passes fairly quickly and can also be reduced with pain relievers such as Tylenol or other prescribed medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are not recommended for pain relief because their action suppresses the desired inflammatory healing process produced by the prolotherapy injections.
Can Prolotherapy help everyone?
Each patient must be evaluated thoroughly with patient history, physical exam and radiological or ultrasound exam. When indicated, laboratory work, should be ordered or evaluated prior to treatment. With this information, your physician can evaluate your potential success with this therapy. Success depends on factors which include the history of damage to the patient, the patient’s overall health and ability to heal, and any underlying nutritional or other deficiencies that would impede the healing process. In appropriate patients, prolotherapy has a high success rate.