Hopefully, you have had many experiences that have taken you breath away. Unfortunately, especially for the adventure minded, some of the experiences may have been at the expense of your body. Even if you haven’t had a specific injury, the repetitive use of certain muscle groups can cause strain on the ligaments and tendons. When this happens, the muscles have to work continuously to support the joints and they eventually become fatigued and sore. As the joints become unstable, the nerve endings are stimulated and pain results. An example of this is lower back pain, which can be due to muscle strain caused by stretched and weakened tendons and ligaments in the lower back area. Knee and hip pain is another common occurrence due to overuse of these joints. Pain can now not only be blocked but eliminated with prolotherapy.
What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a natural, safe and non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured or weakened joints, tendons and ligaments. Specialized injections are used to cause irritation and localized inflammation to weak, damaged and degenerated areas, stimulating the body to repair itself. The resultant strengthening and tightening of the tissues, tendons and ligaments provide increased stability, which alleviates pain and restores mobility to the joint.
How It Works
Injury or overuse of an area may result in chronic pain and weakness. This is because tendons and ligaments have poor circulation so they are deprived of the oxygen and nutrients needed to heal properly. At the attachment of the weakened tendons and ligaments the sensory nerves become over stimulated by abnormal tension. This is why you may feel a significant amount of pain for weeks or even months after the original injury. In addition, the weakened, relaxed ligaments can lead to increased cartilage degeneration, and finally bone-on-bone friction, which may result in arthritis type pain.
Prolotherapy technique involves the injection of a solution that causes the tissues to become inflamed, which results in an increased blood supply and flow of nutrients that stimulate the tissue to repair itself, which patients describe as a mild to moderate grabbing or tightening feeling. The result of prolotherapy is a stronger or larger tendon or ligament, which is able to hold body structures in place more effectively, which significantly reduces or eliminates pain.
Is Prolotherapy Safe?
The former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, endorsed prolotherapy as he himself was a prolotherapist. Prolotherapy is a natural, safe and non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured or weakened joints. Prolotherapy is an excellent alternative to cortisone injections, which long-term studies have shown can actually weaken and destroy tissue. Prolotherapy is very safe when performed by a trained doctor.
Dr. Hamilton has completed extensive training in prolotherapy and she has helped many people overcome their chronic pain. A thorough evaluation of your condition will be conducted. Your pertinent medical history and your present problem will be discussed along with a thorough physical examination of the affected area. If you are a candidate for prolotherapy, you will be able to start treatment the same day in most cases.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy is a more intense form of prolotherapy that uses your own platelets to heal the damaged tissues. Platelets are packed with numerous growth and healing factors that initiate repair and attract the assistance of stem cells that also greatly promote healing. Athletes are increasingly utilizing this therapy since they are able to return to the playing field earlier due to the rapid healing of their condition.
PRP takes approximately two hours and is performed safely in office without the risks of general anesthesia, surgery, or hospital stays. Blood is drawn and then centrifuged to separate the platelets from the red and white blood cells. The concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is collected and then injected into and around the point of injury. This stimulates and significantly strengthens the body’s natural healing signal. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a very low risk of allergic reaction.
Conditions that are treated with prolotherapy and PRP include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankle sprains
- Back and neck injuries
- Heel spur syndrome
- Hip, spine and pelvic pain and instability
- Knee disorders, such as osteoarthritis, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Shoulder disorders, such as arthritis, bursitis and rotator cuff repairs
Most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the procedures. PRP is a more intense healing therapy than prolotherapy, so there may be increased discomfort after the procedure. Usually the discomfort is managed with acetaminophen and lasts only a day or two. The complete healing process can take up to 6 weeks. This more intense therapy may significantly reduce or completely resolve pain with just one treatment. Prolotherapy may take several additional treatments, depending on the extent of the damage. Research studies and clinical practice have shown both therapies to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives.
Cost-Effective and Effective BEFORE Surgery
Insurance companies do usually not reimburse prolotherapy, but it costs significantly less than out of pocket expenses incurred with a surgical procedure. For example, a typical knee replacement surgery may cost $35,000 – $45,000 for patient without insurance. Out of pocket deductibles may be in the thousands. There are other costs associated with surgeries, such as physical therapy and lost wages due to extended recover periods. Keep in mind, you can always have surgery after prolotherapy. In fact, some conditions respond better since the area has been strengthened.