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Prolotherapy and its role in pain relief (As seen in the Kelowna Daily Courier)
- Categorized in: Articles
Prolotherapy and its role in pain relief (As seen in the Kelowna Daily Courier - Friday, May 13th, 2011)
by Dr. Brett Phillips
Prolo your pain away. Prolotherapy (also known as Regenerative Injection Therapy) is an effective chronic pain treatment that has been in practice since the 1940’s.
If you have been experiencing pain weeks, months or decades, and you feel like you have tried everything, prolotherapy may be the answer for your pain.
Prolotherapy is effective because it treats the root cause of most people’s chronic pain – injured ligaments and/or tendons.
Prolotherapy stimulates the body’s natural healing ability to repair and regenerate injured ligaments and tendons, and to prevent the degeneration of joints. Injury to ligaments (which act like duct tape that crosses over joints and holds bones together) causes the ligament to relax, leading to joint instability and pain. The body’s pain sensory nerves are greatest in the ‘fibro-osseous’ junctions where the ligaments and tendons insert into the bone. Damage to these structures causes the pain signal most people with chronic pain experience.
Furthermore, the surrounding muscle contracts to try to support the unstable joint, which eventually leads to additional pain and tightness in the over-worked muscles. If the injured structures (ligaments or tendons) are repaired, the joint becomes stable, the degeneration stops, the muscles relax and the chronic pain goes away.
Prolotherapy repairs these injured structures!
Though often helpful, massage, physiotherapy and/or chiropractic manipulations may only provide temporary relief. This is because those treatments are most likely not addressing the root cause of the pain; the injured tendons and ligaments. If the injuries are corrected with prolotherapy, the aforementioned therapies will have a much longer lasting effect.
Prolotherapy is the precise injection of a natural proliferating solution into the injured structure. This results in a controlled, localized inflammatory response, which leads to a wound-healing cascade. The resulting increased blood flow carries oxygen, nutrients and immune cells, which are all necessary for tissue healing. The treatment also stimulates the release of growth factors which prompts the cells, called fibroblasts, to make new collagen. The new collagen, which is the tissue that makes up ligaments and tendons, is laid down in place of the injured collagen. As the collagen matures, it shrinks and tightens, making it thicker and stronger. This results in the repair of the damaged structure, support of the surrounding joint and the resolution of pain.
How many treatments does it take? The number of treatments varies per person and depends on the extent of the injured tissue. The average number is treatments is four to six. Age, diet, lifestyle, nutrient status, hormone levels, hydration and overall general health play a role in determining the number of treatments. A large portion of the pain can often be resolved in one or two treatments, but in some cases it takes more.
How long between treatments? Once the healing response has been stimulated, the body naturally takes approximately four to six weeks for the new collagen to be laid down and being maturing. Therefore, reassessment and treatment occurs approximately at four to six week intervals.
Is it safe? Prolotherapy is very safe, especially if you are considering the alternatives: continuing to live in pain or chronic use of anti-inflammatory, corticosteroid injections (which are actually degenerative) or worse – surgery. Surgery is extremely invasive and often does not result in the desired pain relief. As with any invasive procedure there are risks, such as infection, although it is extremely rare.
What conditions can be helped by prolotherapy?
Arthritis pain, lower back pain (even after failed surgery), leg pain, herniated discs, sciatica, hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain, neck pain, wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain, headaches, TMJ (jaw) pain, post injury/trauma pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, loose joints (chronic ‘cracking’), tendonitis, post fracture treatment, and more.
If you are looking to start living pain free then book your consultation at Okanagan Naturopathic Healthcare today – 250-860-8855.