Dr. Goddard explains Prolotherapy and its benefits
Did you know that the human body already has the power to cure itself from any injury or disease? Swelling caused by bee stings and twisted ankles are the underlying principles of prolotherapy at work!
Prolotherapy is a natural non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured tendons and ligaments. It is a “new” treatment that has been utilized in medicine for nearly 100 years. Prolotherapy, or “proliferative therapy” is considered to be the first type of regenerative injection therapy. It aids your body in the creation of new cells, which strengthen lax or torn tendons and ligaments. At the Osteopathic Center, our highly skilled staff performs this treatment under local anesthesia by injecting a specific solution to the affected area to promote inflammation. It may surprise you, but inflammation is your ally when it comes to expediting the healing process.
You might wonder why you still have pain in an injured area or why that area remains weak, even after a resting period of weeks or months. The answer lies in the fact that both ligaments and tendons have very poor circulation, and it is this lack of blood supply which deprives them of the nutrients they need to heal properly. Now, these weakened areas may have little or no blood flow, but they have lots of nerves. When ligaments become relaxed and weak, these nerves within and around the ligaments and tendons become stretched and irritated. Pain results.
How can you strengthen tendons and ligaments? Unfortunately, exercise cannot build or strengthen ligaments or tendons, but Prolotherapy can help repair the weakened ligaments and tendons of a chronic injury. It also help if you wish to strengthen certain areas of your body as a preventive measure for an active lifestyle. In contrast to cortisone or steroid injections, prolotherapy induces inflammation. The increased blood flow from the inflammation contains growth factors to recruit stem cells and induce new tendon and ligament growth. The treatment is nonsurgical and administered through injection right here in our office.
Almost anyone (even the elderly) can receive Prolotherapy. There are very few cases in which a person would not be a suitable candidate. A consultation is necessary prior to receiving treatment to determine if it is right for you. Assuming the condition is one that responds to Prolotherapy, it can offer a great relief for a multitude of symptoms.
In the hands of a competent practitioner, Prolotherapy is extremely safe. Dr. Gustav Hemwall, who practiced Prolotherapy for forty years, treated over 10,000 patients with more than 4 million injections. He reported not one case of paralysis, permanent nerve injury, infection, or death. The most common side-effect is muscle stiffness for a few days after the injections. Prolotherapy is much safer than enduring the effects of chronic pain on the body. Today, nearly 70 years later, no serious side-effects from Prolotherapy have been reported in medical literature despite millions of Prolotherapy treatments given. Prolotherapy is not dangerous and is known for its effectiveness curing chronic pain.
Each person’s response to Prolotherapy is different. The number of treatments varies depending on the severity of injury and the type of sclerosing agent used. With dextrose, 4-6 treatments is the norm. With PRP, 2-3 treatments is common. Some people need only one treatment, while others may require as many as ten or twenty. It depends on the individual case.
We always tell our chronic pain patients that the pain of the injections is nothing compared to what they live with everyday. Although very few of our patients require sedatives or painkillers to undergo the treatment, it is more painful than your average shot because it is not an average injection.
Most people feel fine after their treatment. They can return to work that same day after the treatment with only minimal residual soreness from the injections. It is normal to experience muscle soreness for a few weeks after the treatment. There is a two-week period when inflammation will subside, and a relapse of the original pain may occur due to the incomplete healing of the ligament or tendon. Improvements in pain and evidence of strengthening will become evident approximately four weeks after the procedure. A re-evaluation and treatment is scheduled around week six as this is the standard expected time most patients need for recovery.