Prolotherapy, what is it? Can it work for me? What does it mean?
Doctors are only now discovering the potential of using prolotherapy to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and tendonous injuries that occur in the body. These may include torn or overstretched tendons in many areas of the body, including the shoulder, elbow, neck, knee, ribs, ankle, low back etc. Prolotherapy has also been shown to have the beneficial effects of lowering pain and promoting the proliferation of joint spaces in degenerative conditions such as herniated discs, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
So how does it work? Prolotherapy is a minimal invasive injection technique using a simple solution of dextrose and lidocaine (a local anesthetic). This solution is then introduced to the torn tendon, ligament, or damaged joint capsule. From there your own body does the rest of the work. To understand why this injection works so well at promoting healing, you first must understand why tendons and ligaments have difficulty healing in the first place.
Tendons and ligaments have a very limited blood supply if at all, and thus their ability to heal is severely limited due to lack of immune response at the location of the injury. This can cause chronic weakened ligaments and joints which could result in chronic pain and degeneration in that joint or even other parts of the body. Prolotherapy initiates the bodies immune response to the site of injection leading to the formation of more collagen, fibroblasts and growth factors and leads to the formation of new connective tissue. “Prolo” means to proliferate or grow, and it does this in the formation of new tissue at the molecular level.
Prolotherapy is not for everyone, but should be considered in all cases of joint and ligament damage or even chronic pain. There is much research being done currently to solidify Prolotherapy in mainstream medicine. I think that through the incorporation of prolotherapy into my practice, I will be able to help many more patients see positive health benefits and relief from chronic pain.