What is Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy is a medical treatment that solves joint pain and weakness with injections of medical solutions.
Prolotherapy allows people with joint pain and weakness to move freely and without pain – and to regain their independence.
Prolotherapy is a safe and effective medical treatment. Unfortunately many people who suffer from joint pain and weakness either do not know about prolotherapy or they choose to use other less effective medical treatments.
Joint Pain Affects Us All
Joint pain will affect all of us some time in our lives. Most people start by waiting to see if it will get better on its own. When the pain does not go away we start using anti inflammatory pills. When the pills don’t work most people either go to a Doctor of Chiropractic for adjustments or to a Medical Doctor for stronger pain medicines or surgery.
Prolotherapy is an important treatment option for people suffering with joint pain and weakness.
I am not a surgeon and I cannot tell someone suffering from joint pain whether or not they need surgery. However, I have been performing therapeutic injections since 1994 and I have been Board Certified in Prolotherapy since 2010. I am trained and experienced in helping people assess their chances of success using prolotherapy to solve their joint pain.
What is joint degeneration? Degeneration of any part of your body happens when a wearing load exceeds your rate of healing and regeneration. When this happens in a joint you develop inflammation. If your inflammation is productive your joint pain and weakness will resolve. If not your joint will degenerate.
Causes of Joint Degeneration
Joint degeneration may be caused by: trauma; infections; food allergies; and chemical insult.
Joints are made up bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. When a joint is aligned, with a balance in the tension of the supporting ligaments it is unlikely to wear out.
Trauma to a joint may be a result of unusual forces acting on a joint. As an example, jumping off a high ladder may compress and twist a knee to the point of stretching the ligaments of a knee joint. A stretched knee joint that does not heal is called joint laxity.
Joint infections are usually caused by bacterial. Bacterial infections are best screened for with blood tests, and confirmed by culturing fluid from an infected joint.
Joint Pain and Lectins
Food allergies and sensitivities in general, and lectins in particlar may cause joint inflammation.
A food allergy is immune response to a particular food. Food allergy testing is best screened for with blood tests for immune globulin proteins that react with specific foods.
A food sensitivity is a reaction to a food that may not include an immune response involving an elevation in immunoglobulin proteins.
The most common food type that causes joint pain is the Solanacea or Night Shade family of plants. The foods in this family are: tomatoes; white potatoes; peppers; egg plant; and tobacco. All foods contain lectin proteins. The lectin proteins contained in the Night Shade family of plants contain a specific lectin protein that has an affinity for joints, meaning they move into joints. Some people, especially those with “A” type blood are reactive to the lectins of the Night Shade family of plants.
So, if you are eating Night Shade foods and you have joint pain, consider staying away from those foods.
Chemical Insults and Joint Pain
Certain pharmaceutical medications have been shown to chemically insult joints and they have been linked to joint pain. Prescribed drugs that are known to cause joint pain include: statins, intended to lower cholesterol; bisphosphonates, intended to treat osteoporosis; fluoroquinolones, intended to treat bacterial infections; and corticosteroids which are intended to treat chronic inflammation.
Assessing your recent (previous twelve months) prescriptive drug use history is important for a complete medical assessment of joint pain.
When Is Joint Inflammation Good
Inflammation in your body, including in your joints, is a natural part of healing.
Inflammation is composed of four symptoms: pain; redness, heat; and swelling. Any or all of these four symptoms are outward signs your body is attempting to heal. Inflammation is a natural process of releasing and processing healing chemicals in your body to activate cells to re grow and regenerate injured parts of your body. Inflammation is essential to healing.
The technical name for inflammation is “itis”. To describe healing in any part of our bodies, doctors describe that healing process by attaching “itis” to the Latin name of that body part.
For example: “hepatitis” indicates that there is any or all of pain, heat, redness, and swelling in a person’s liver. Meaning that the person’s liver is under load and that it is attempting to heal.
Another example, “gastritis” indicates that there is any or all of the symptoms of pain, redness, heat, and swelling in a person’s stomach. Meaning that the person’s stomach is under load and attempting to heal.
“Arthritis” indicates that there is any or all of the symptoms of pain, redness, heat, and swelling in a person’s joint. Meaning that the person’s joint is under a load and attempting to heal.
So, why do people want to suppress the natural healing process of inflammation? They simply do not understand the healing process their body goes through every day.
How our Joints and Bodies Heal
When our bodies are insulted we respond with chemical messengers and cell activation. Common insults include trauma and infection.
The chemical messengers sent out from the injured parts of our bodies are part of our immune system and are called cytokines. Cytokines activate, turn down, and balance our immune systems. Our immune system serves two main purposes, to attack invaders and to regulate healing.
Cytokines control fibroblast cells. Fibroblast cells lay down new collagen fibers in an injured joint. They also shorten those collagen fibers to give better support to injured joints.
How to Assess Joint Problems
There are three main ways to assess a person’s joint problems. The first is a medical history. When did the problem start and what has made it better and worse are important parts of a medical history.
The second way to assess a joint problem is to look. To do this we need diagnostic imaging. X-rays, CT scans, and MRI test reports and images are important methods of looking inside of a person’s body. They allow us to see the shape and health of bones. They give a picture of the ligament, tendon, and muscle soft tissues of a person’s joints.
Diagnostic Ultrasound is another important medical imaging tool. Ultrasound will not give a deep and detailed picture of bone health in the same way that X-rays and MRIs will; but Ultrasound allows us to see ligament tears and how an injured joint moves.
The third way to asses a joint problem is to perform a physical examination. A physical exam is one of the best ways to determine where is joint is injured. This hands on examination allows your doctor to palpation the regular and injured parts of a joint, as well as to test the range of motion and strength of a painful or weak joint.
Prolotherapy Treatment Styles
There are five main styles of prolotherapy, including: Dextrose Prolotherapy; Advanced Irritant Prolotherapy; PRP Prolotherapy; Stem Cell Prolotherapy; and Prolozone Therapy.
Prolotherapy is a medical treatment that uses injections of medical solutions to stimulate joint healing. Some doctors are fixated on the original medical solution that was used for Prolotherapy, a solution of the sugar Dextrose and water. This is an error since Prolotherapy is the concept of injecting medicines to stimulate healing. It is not the use of only one healing agent.
Dextrose Prolotherapy has a long history of use. The first textbook on Dextrose Prolotherapy, called “Ligament and Tendon Relaxation, Treated by Prolotherapy” written by Drs Hackett, Hemwall, and Montgomery. It was first published in 1956.
I have studied Prolotherapy through the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, the Hackett Hemwall Foundation, and the American Academy of Musculoskeletal Medicine. Dextrose Prolotherapy is the main Prolotherapy solution taught by these organizations.
The Dextrose solution used for prolotherapy is a sclerosing or thickening agent. This means that it irritates and thickens weak and stretched ligaments in a joint.
The damage of ligaments and tendons in a joint often happen at the location of where the ligaments and tendons attach to bones. This point of injury has the technical name of an “enthesis”.
Inside of our bodies, over our bones, muscles, and organs is a fiberous covering called fascia. The fascia over our bones is called periosteum. Our periosteum is full of nerves. When a joint is injured and stretched the nerves in the periosteum often signal pain.
Dextrose Prolotherapy will irritate and thicken ligaments and tendons, and their improve their anchoring through the periosteum into the bone.
There are two main problems with Dextrose Prolotherapy. First, it works slowly, often requiring ten or more treatments of a joint to get lasting results. Some Prolotherapy doctors are solving this problem by using more irritating solutions, up to and including solutions of pumice, also known as volcanic glass. This practice increases the risk of encountering the second problem of using Dextrose and other irritating Prolotherapy solutions, creating unwanted scars.
The second problem with Dextrose Prolotherapy is unwanted scaring. Prolotherapy at its best stimulates the production of new healthy and elastic joint ligaments and tendons. At its worst Dextrose Prolotherapy can increase the production of unwanted scars; with the effect of limiting the range of motion of a joint, and entrapping nerves.
Dextrose solutions at low concentrations such as 5% are useful for solving nerve entrapments, but at the higher concentrations used for treating stretched ligaments there is a higher risk of causing problems.
What Blocks Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy is an effective treatment for painful and weak joints. However, not everyone is a candidate for Prolotherapy. Not every style of Prolotherapy is recommended for every patient. And, not every patient will get good results from Prolotherapy treatments. There are four main ways the your Prolotherapy results may be blocked.
Prolotherapy Blockage One
People who fail to follow instructions and are too active too soon after their treatments. This results in the production of new, elastic and health but stretched joint ligaments.
Prolotherapy Blockage Two
People who continue to consume anti inflammatory medications after Prolotherapy treatments block their own healing. Inflammation is a natural part of healing. Avoiding non steroidal anti inflammatory medicines after Prolotherapy treatments is an important part of successful healing.
Prolotherapy Blockage Three
People who consume adequate amounts of collagen building nutrients, such as good protein and supplements such as MSM, methyl sulphonyl methane, recover faster with better overall healing after Prolotherapy treatments.
Prolotherapy Blockage Four
The use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics for up to one year before having a Prolotherapy treatment will block the synthesis of the new collagen essential for joint healing.