Nuts and Bolts
Prolotherapy is a natural and nonsurgical approach to healing. The treatment stimulates the body to repair the painful area when the natural healing process needs some help.
Chronic pain from sprains and strains can be devastating for those who suffer. This pain is often caused by weakened connective tissue, especially where tendons or ligaments connect with bones. These sorts of injuries tend to heal poorly as blood supply is limited around joints. The resulting stretch in a ligament compromises joint stability. As the joint becomes unstable, excessive wear and tear occurs in the joints - pushing the area to be more susceptible to arthritis, bone spurs, muscle spasm and pain.
Prolotherapy is an injection technique that stimulates the regeneration of connective tissue. A solution of dextrose (sugar), procaine (anesthetic), B12 (nerve healing) is strategically injected into the affected tissue to create a controlled inflammation. The increased inflammation increases blood flow and nutrients to the affected joint and signals cells to strengthen ligaments and tendons. This encourages the growth of healthy cells and tissues.
As the tissue regenerates and ligaments are reinforced, the pain is reduced and patients can enjoy long-lasting results.
You should consider prolotherapy if you are suffering from long term chronic pain or have developed a recent injury to a ligament or tendon. Prolotherapy has been successful in eliminating chronic muscle spasm due to ligament instability. Imaging is not necessary to determine the source of your pain as MRIs and X-rays can miss ligament abnormalities. I find the best value for diagnosis is in an orthopedic exam to trace pain to its roots, following referral pain patterns.
Factors that can interfere with results from prolotherapy include hormonal and nutritional deficiencies. Dr O'Neill looks at pain from an holistic approach and addresses these deficiencies along with the prolotherapy injections.
When Will My Pain Go Away?
Procaine, a local anesthetic, is part of the prolotherapy solution. Patients experience immediate relief of their pain after a prolotherapy session, yet as the anesthetic wears off, it's expected and normal to have more pain, swelling and tenderness over the area injected for up to 72 hours. These are good signs. The body is now doing its work to bring inflammatory cells into the site. NSAIDS and ice are to be avoided here, or the healing process will be thwarted. As this initial process settles down, pain may return, yet usually to a lesser degree than at onset. Follow up exam and/or treatments are indicated to further push this process and bring complete resolution of pain along with full healing of the ligaments and tendons.
How many Treatments?
Treatments are traditionally given 2 to 4 weeks apart. The number of treatments varies based on the degree of injury and how chronic the injury is. Most patients receive between 4 and 6 treatments. You should expect to see improvement in your pain by the second or third treatment.
Prolotherapy in the News
The use of Prolotherapy has been endorsed by a number of prestigious medical journals, including theArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine, Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques and the Mayo Clinic’s Health Letter publication.
The following PDF provides guidelines for what to expect post injection and some additional advice for supporting the healing process.