Prolotherapy – The Foundation of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative Medicine is becoming the new standard to treating pain and injuries. Numerous types of treatments are available all sharing a common goal of helping the patients heal and regain function. The treatments vary widely in the products that are injected and the way the injections are performed. With all that said, the leading experts in the field agree that any good Regenerative Medicine treatment starts with good Prolotherapy. It is the foundation of Regenerative Medicine as it addresses function and structure in a tensegrity model (all the bones, tendons and ligaments work together to create balance within the body).
Treating Ligament Instability with Prolotherapy
Ligament injury and instability is common in many (if not most) pain conditions. Ligaments are strong fibrous structures that connect bones with other bones to form the support for joints and the spine. Injuries, repetitive activities and poor posture can cause stretching and tearing of these ligaments. This leads to weak and unstable joints and spinal structures that can result in painful degenerative conditions. The lack of stability can result in muscle spasms and fatigue from trying to guard the unstable area, nerve irritation through muscle spasms, altered postures, bone spurs and disc herniations. Treating ligament instability with prolotherapy is vital for successful treatment of most painful conditions. Luckily, prolotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for ligament instability. Once the ligaments regain strength and stability, the joints and spinal structures are able to heal and regain their function.
What is Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy was coined in the 1940’s by Dr. George S. Hackett. After years of clinical experience, he noted that relaxation of ligaments of the spine and joints was responsible for many back pain conditions. He also noted that injecting dextrose solutions in these ligaments would treat these conditions. Over many years since, multiple laboratory and clinical studies confirmed that injecting ligaments with dextrose increases their size, strength and tightness. Dextrose, at concentrations of 15% or higher, causes a brief inflammation at the injection site. This stimulates specialized cells known as fibroblasts to lay down collagen fibers, making the ligaments and tendons thicker and stronger. Several weeks after the injection, these new collagen fibers contract making the ligaments tighter. This tightening and strengthening of the ligaments provides improved support for the joints and spinal segments.
How is Prolotherapy Performed?
Prolotherapy is performed as a series of injections of dextrose (or blood derived products) into painful and dysfunctional ligaments and joint capsules. Usually, multiple areas are treated on the same day as they all relate to proper function. The treated areas are examined, marked and cleaned with a surgical cleanser (ChloraPrep). Next, they are anesthetized “numbed” with lidocaine and other products. Dr. Sebastian performs most of the injections under ultrasound guidance to assure accuracy and patient safety. After the injection, the sites are again cleaned and covered with sterile dressings. The patient is then instructed to limit his activities to allow for healing. The injections are then repeated in 4-6 weeks. It may take anywhere from 2 to 5 treatments to adequately heal an area, depending on the severity and duration of the condition.