Prolotherapy: A Sweet Solution

Severe back pain can disrupt one’s daily life and even affect their mobility. While conventional medicine may provide some relief, it does not always work. In such a case, alternative therapies such as herbal therapies, acupuncture, massages, and prolotherapy could be applied.

Prolotherapy is used in the treatment of chronic back pain. During the procedure, a substance with natural irritants is injected into the soft tissue on the injured spot using a needle. The irritants may include sodium morrhuate, glucose either on its own or combined with glycerin and phenol, and a local anesthetic. In the last few years, newer prolotherapy injections have included Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or adult stem cell injections. Prolotherapy is not a standard procedure, and the physician tailors it according to the patient’s needs. The irritant’s purpose is to kick-start the healing process.

Tendons and ligaments could become loose leading nerves becoming over-stimulated. This causes pain. Such pain is treatable through prolotherapy.

The history of prolotherapy

While prolotherapy appears to be a recent innovation, it has been in use even in ancient times where Hippocrates could treat dislocated or painful shoulders of javelin throwers with heated metal probes. This, he believed, would strengthen the shoulder capsule after the scar tissue is generated and that this scar tissue would keep the shoulder in place.

In 1939, Dr. George S. Hackett noticed that car accident victims suffered from chronic pain due to non-healed tendons and ligaments. He sought to repair the connective tissues by introducing an irritant to re-activate the body’s proliferation of new collagen tissues. Thus, he coined the term prolotherapy from proliferation. Dr. Hackett is thought of as the founder of modern prolotherapy due to his extensive research on the subject.

Due to the successful treatment of innumerable patients, its popularity has intensified over the last couple of decades.

Prolotherapy applications

Joint and knee pains that have persisted for over 8 weeks can be effectively treated through prolotherapy. A solution of Vitamin B12 or dextrose is injected into the affected joint to create an inflammatory response. This activates the healing process.

Unresolved hip pains can also be treated through prolotherapy. For instance, the Hacket-Hemwall technique of administering dextrose on 94 hip pain patients effectively treated 61 patients. They reported that they experienced less pain, disability, stiffness, and depression due to the inability to walk.

Prolotherapy has also been used in the treatment of neck and head pains. It is one of the most popular treatments among physical athletes. Through the procedure, they can resume sports in spite of frequent injuries.

How prolotherapy works

Once the body’s healing process is triggered, the body begins to strengthen and repair the injury. This creates a mild inflammatory effect the injection creates stimulates the growth of new ligaments or tendons. This results in the strengthening of the injured joint or tendon. For prolotherapy to be effective, the process has to be repeated to allow for the gradual tissue build-up.

Prolotherapy’s popularity can only be expected to grow due to its effectiveness and the fact that it is non-invasive. Should chronic pain be interfering with your ability to carry out your daily activities, you should consider an evaluation to determine whether prolotherapy is right for you.