Prolotherapy – Reducing Pain by Promoting Healing
How does prolotherapy help with pain?
Want to utilize your body’s own natural capacity to heal pain? Prolotherapy may be what you are looking for. Prolotherapy is a series of injections that, over time, help an unstable or painful body part regenerate and heal. The injection is a mixture of dextrose (a type of sugar) and local anaesthetic into an injured joint, ligament or tendon. This injection causes localized inflammation which stimulates the body to strengthen and repair itself, stabilizing and healing damaged tissue.
Age, injury, and repetitive strain can stretch and damage tendons, and ligaments. This wear and tear can destabilize joints causing painful sensations in the many nerve endings that are in and around the joint. Joints that are not well supported by tight ligaments and tendons don’t fit as well together, and your muscles will have to work harder to keep them in place causing painful spasms. Prolotherapy injections help repair weakened sites to permanently stabilize the joint, often resolving the pain.
Prolotherapy is often used as a lower risk alternative to surgery. It can also be used instead of anti-inflammatories and ‘pain killers’. These medications generally only provide temporary pain relief and have significant risks, especially when used chronically. Surgery and medications also do not promote new growth of healthy tissues, and thus may not fix the underlying issue. The side-effects of prolotherapy are usually mild and of short duration and include stiffness, soreness, bruising, and swelling at the site of injection.
How many treatments are needed to have lasting effects on pain?
Prolotherapy works best combined with other treatments at the suggestion of your health care team. These may include physical therapy, lifestyle changes, trigger-point injections, and other treatments. The length of treatment depends on the underlying problem and how long it has been present. Most patients need 4-8 treatments with around 2-6 weeks between treatments. Since ligaments and tendons take several months to heal, most people notice benefits after 3-4 treatments.
Because an inflammatory response is key to kicking in the body’s healing process, it is recommended not to take anti-inflammatories (for example Alleve or ibuprofen) for a minimum of two weeks after prolotherapy injections.
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Author Dr. Joel Kailia