Prolotherapy is a natural non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured or weakened joints, ligaments and tendons. With Prolotherapy, the weakened areas are injected with a solution that stimulates the growth of healthy, strong tissues. As the tendons and ligaments grow stronger and vibrant, the pain is alleviated and motion is restored. Whether a joint, ligament or tendon is causing you pain or limited movement, Prolotherapy might be the right choice for you. Prolotherapy can help with arthritis, knee injuries, tendinitis (tennis elbow), hip dysfunction, bulging discs, lumbar or cervical spine instability, bursitis, ACL Tears, rotator cuff injuries and more.
Prolotherapy's modern model was founded in the 1950s by Drs. George Hackett and Gustav Hemwall, but the notion of irritating an injured area to stimulate the body to heal itself goes back to ancient Greece. Prolotherapy helps your body make new cells, which strengthen lax or torn tendons and ligaments (ligaments are the tough tissues which connect bones to bones and tendons are the same kind of tissue which connect muscles to bones).
You might wonder why you still have pain in an injured area or why that area remains weak, even after a healing period of weeks, months or years. The answer lies in the fact that both ligaments and tendons have very poor circulation and it is this lack of blood supply which deprives them of the nutrients they need to heal properly. These weakened areas may have little or no blood flow, but they have lots of nerves. That’s why you may feel a significant amount of pain. When ligaments become relaxed and weak this may lead to increased cartilage degeneration and finally bone-on-bone friction, which may result in arthritis type pain. Additionally, nerves around the soft tissues become stretched and irritated, also producing pain.
The Prolotherapy technique involves the injection of a proliferant (a mild irritant solution – dextrose, phenol, glycerin, etc.) that causes an inflammatory response which stimulates the healing process. A local anesthetic is used so there is minimal discomfort with the injections. This results in a stronger or larger tendon or ligament that can hold body structures in place more effectively. The weakened area heals, and the patient's pain is reduced or eliminated. Prolotherapy is an excellent alternative to cortisone injections, which long-term studies have shown can actually weaken tissue.
Most patients require about 4 to 6 prolotherapy treatments to restore function and relieve pain, but many find improvement after only one session. The treatments are usually given at two to four week intervals.
In addition to chronic (and in some cases acute) back and neck pain, shoulder, knee and other joint pain, tendonitis and bursitis, prolotherapy has been shown to be effective at eliminating the pain of such conditions as sports injuries, tendonitis, arthritis, sciatica, some headaches, degenerated joints, fibromyalgia, and more.
Prolotherapy is a non-surgical treatment heartily endorsed by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who himself was a prolotherapist. The late diet guru Robert Atkins, M.D., also used "prolo" at his New York clinic and called it a miraculous treatment.
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