Prolotherapy – A Better Approach to Your Joints Health

Do you have lower back pain? Do you have pain in your groin? Do you have cervical pain or stiffness? Do you have any other joint problems that your prescription medicine cannot help? Maybe you should consider Prolotherapy.

Dr-Chad-Edwards-Prolotherapy-Tulsa-Oklahoma-Prolo-Intro-Image-copy[1]PROLOTHERAPY also known as “PROLIFERATION THERAPY,” or “REGENERATIVE INJECTION THERAPY” it involves injecting into the weakened ligaments and tendons a solution with sugar (usually dextrose) combined with a local anaesthesia for the purpose of strengthening impaired connective tissue and relieving musculoskeletal pain.Injecting this solution into the connective weakened tissue, create an irritation to the affected area, triggering a temporary, low grade inflammation at the injection site.

The body will react by activating the fibroblasts cells to the area, producing new cell growth and collagen deposition, increasing extracellular matrix and promoting healing.This type of “forced healing” has been documented as early as Roman times where hot needles were introduced into the shoulders of injured gladiators to stimulate their body’s own natural healing mechanisms to repair injured musculoskeletal tissue. The local inflammation stimulated by Prolotherapy also raises the level of growth factors such as proteins and steroid hormones that initiate a new connective tissue repair. Biopsy studies show ligament thickening, enlargement of the tendinosseous junction, and strengthening of the tendon or ligament after Prolotherapy injections.

Because Prolotherapy works to repair weak and painful joint areas, it is a long-term solution rather than a temporary measure such as drugs or Cortisone. While prolotherapy injections created inflammation and stimulate the body’s natural healing process, steroidal cortisol injections control local inflammation “flushing out” inflammatory proteins and chemicals from the local area that may contribute to create pain. Which one is better?

1-hinh-anh-thoat-vi-dia-dem1[1]Cortisol injections have also their important role in relieving pain to the injured tissue, by reducing inflammation, but in long term, these injections might weaken the ligaments. According to Mayo Clinic epidural steroid injections are usually limited to just a few a year because there’s a chance these steroidal drugs might weaken the spinal bones and nearby muscles and disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance. This is why the Mayo Clinic promotes better Prolotherapy than Cortisol Therapy.

By comparison, a clinical study published on December 2010, in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated that in long term (15 month) prolotherapy is more efficient and the effects last longer that cortisol therapy. (Volume: 16 Issue 12: December 7, 2010). The conclusion was this:

The cumulative incidence of ≥50% pain relief at 15 months was 58.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 37.9%–79.5%) in the prolotherapy group and 10.2% (95% CI 6.7%–27.1%) in the steroid group, as determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis

Prolotherapy treatment sessions are generally given once or twice per month in the first series of 4-6 treatments. And after that the sessions can be reduced to one injection every 6-8 weeks or less frequent intervals until the treatments are rarely required.

Note: For some patients with chronic low-back pain, it is possible that prolotherapy injections to be less effective when used alone. But in combination with spinal manipulation, (chiropracting, massage therapy, orthotherapy etc.) exercises that strengthen the core and specific nutritionals such as glucosamine sulfate  you get amazing results. Usually the use of anti-inflammatory medicines and nutrients such as turmeric extract and essential fatty acids are better to be avoided 3-5 days before and after the prolotherapy injections, to let the body to create that inflammatory response leading to a healing process.  But in between treatments these anti-inflammatory nutrients are highly recommended as thay contribute to the healing process.

Some sport medicine doctors,  go further to alternate prolotherapy with epidural steroid injections, for even better results. In their approach they use epidural steroid injections to provide fast and sufficient pain relief and to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative stretching and exercise program. And alternatively they use prolotherapy injections to promote healing to the injured tissue.  If the initial set of injection is effective for a patient in relieving pain, he or she may need only 3-4 injections in a one-year period.

In Canada, the cost of the prolotherapy is about $200 per injection, (covered by extended medical plan) while cortisol injection therapy is usually covered by the medical services plan if referred by your family practitioner. .

I personally have had great experience in using prolotherapy. But this is another story for another time. Stay tuned and read more related articles on fitness, nutrition and healthy living by visiting my blog page:

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