What is Prolotherapy?
What are the basic principles of Prolotherapy?
The principle of using special solutions to stimula`te the production of nature's repair tissue (fibrous connective tissue) has been known and successfully utilized for many years. Nature itself illustrates how this process works. For example, a blow to the body will sometimes make the body produce new fibrous connective tissue. Burns can have a similar effect. Over one hundred years ago, hernias were successfully treated by injecting the area with solutions designed to stimulate repair tissue. More recently, and quite commonly, internal hemorrhoids as well as varicose veins have been treated successfully by injecting the special solutions.
What are the origins of Prolotherapy ?
In 1937 at the clinics of The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Earl Gedney taught the basic techniques of Prolotherapy to students. The treatment was recognized as the treatment of choice for the ligaments of joints that were prone to repeated spraining, particularly the low back area. Ligament weakness and stretching was then, as now, recognized as one of the principle underlying causes of joint instability leading to recurrent spraining. This continued sprain mechanism often results in arthritis, "Slipped Disc" syndromes and "Sciata." Today, the injection of solutions to help reconstruct new connective tissue is called Prolotherapy. This form of therapy is approved by The American Osteopathic Association.
What are the results of Prolotherapy injections?
Since 1937 the techniques and solutions used have been refined to the degree that there are no major side effects. Allergic reactions to the solutions are extremely rare. The solutions used in Prolotherapy are not absorbed systemically. Results using this procedure have been excellent. The solutions are thoroughly tested and controlled, they are spread evenly throughout the weakened ligaments utilizing special needles, usually at intervals. At each visit, several areas may be treated. The total number of injections varies with each individual, but usually 10 to 15 treatments are recommended. Regular "Booster" treatments, usually one every six months, are needed to maintain strength for lasting results. Usually there is very little discomfort following the treatments, but some reaction is necessary to stimulate nature's production of new connective tissue. The reaction may last up to 48 hours following a treatment and consists of a mild soreness in the area of treatment. If needed, ice applications over treated site and mild pain relievers* will alleviate any discomfort. Improvement may be noticed after the first treatment, but it usually takes 4-6 treatments before the first positive changes are seen. *Avoid Asprin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Midol, Nuprin, etc.) or NSAID (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs), such as Indocin, Naprosyn, Clinoril, Feldene, Relafen, Vioxx, Celebrex, etc.
What can be treated with Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy has been utilized successfully in the treatment of joint and ligament weakness in several parts of the body. The entire length of the spine as well as illiosacral area, shoulder, knee, and ankle joints in addition to wrists and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) have benefited from this procedure. Please Don't confuse Prolotherapy With 1. Acupuncture - This popular technique has no repair value. It can only interrupt nerve pathways, thus breaking pain reflexes. 2. Cortisone - Theses injections only act to reduce pain by fighting inflammation. 3. Local Anesthetics - Block nerve pathways and relax contracted muscles. Prolotherapy actually repairs and rebuilds weakened joint ligaments. It should not be confused with the techniques listed above.
Are there limitations to Prolotherapy injections?
The treatments outlined in this document have been developed over more than 60 years and have proven to be helpful in a wide range of structural conditions. Nevertheless, like any medical treatment, limitations do exist. Long standing and recurrent joint conditions affect the body in various ways. Muscle changes occur, joints deteriorate, as in arthritis, and nerves are damaged. Prolotherapy may not solve the problem quickly, sometimes not at all. The strengthening process often takes months. To maximum the results of Prolotherapy, patient education and cooperation is of the utmost importance.
What are the pontential significant Prolotherapy side effects?
Although uncommon, the risks include those signs/symptoms associated with an injection including: pain, infection, worsening of symptoms, nerve injury or bleeding.
How much does Prolotherapy cost?
With the exception of Medicare, some insurance companies, including workers compensation, may cover partial reimbursement after pre-authorization.
Dr. Kulik is available to answer your questions about how Prolotherapy may benefit you.