WHAT IS PROLOTHERAPY?
Prolotherapy is a natural non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured or weakened joints, ligaments, and tendons. With Prolotherapy, the weakened areas are injected with a solution that stimulates the growth of healthy, strong tissues. As the tendons and ligaments grow stronger and vibrant, the pain is alleviated and motion is restored.
WHERE DOES PROLOTHERAPY COME FROM?
Prolotherapy's modern model was founded in the 1950s by Drs. George Hackett and Gustav Hemwall, but the notion of irritating an injured area to stimulate the body to heal itself goes back to ancient Greece. Prolotherapy helps your body make new cells, which strengthen lax or torn tendons and ligaments (ligaments are the tough tissues which connect bones to bones and tendons are the same kind of tissue which connect muscles to bones).
HOW DOES PROLOTHERAPY WORK?
Sometimes an injured area still has pain, or may remain weak, after a healing period of weeks, months or years. The reason? Both ligaments and tendons have poor circulation, and this lack of blood supply deprives them of the nutrients they need to heal properly. These weakened areas may have little or no blood flow, but they are well supplied with nerves. That is the reason why you may feel a significant amount of pain, even weeks or months after the original injury. When ligaments become relaxed and weak this can also lead to increased cartilage degeneration, and finally bone-on-bone friction, which may result in arthritis type pain. In addition, the nerves around these soft tissues often become stretched and irritated, which is another source of pain.
The prolotherapy technique involves the injection of a proliferant (a mild irritant solution - dextrose, phenol, glycerin, etc.), causing the tissues to become inflamed, a bodily response which then stimulates the healing process. A local anesthetic is used so there is minimal discomfort with the injections. The result of prolotherapy is a stronger or larger tendon or ligament, which is able to hold body structures in place more effectively. The weakened area heals, and the patient's pain is reduced or eliminated. Prolotherapy is an excellent alternative to cortisone injections, which long-term studies have shown can actually weaken tissue.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NECESSARY?
Most patients will require between four and six prolotherapy treatments to restore function and relieve pain, but many find improvement after only one session. The treatments are usually given at two to four week intervals.
IS PROLOTHERAPY SAFE?
Prolotherapy is a non-surgical treatment heartily endorsed by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who himself was a prolotherapist.
The physicians at Chambers Clinic are happy to discuss your options and further details of your case during a free 15 minute consultation.
WHAT SORT OF CONDITIONS MAY BE HELPED BY PROLOTHERAPY?
In addition to chronic (and in some cases acute) back and neck pain, shoulder, knee and other joint pain, tendinitis and bursitis, prolotherapy has been shown to be effective at eliminating the pain from:
TENDINITIS (such as tennis and golfer's elbow)
ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES
OTHER INJURIES OF THE JOINTS, LIGAMENTS, AND TENDONS