As we get older, it is perfectly normal to experience pain or aching, particularly in the joints of the body. As you age, the tendons and ligaments that hold your muscles and bones together, start to get a little worn out. One treatment for these painful and aching joints is known as osteopathic prolotherapy. Many people who previously suffered from many different types of pain, from lower back pain, to arthritis, to fibromyalgia, have found relief from their aches and pains using this type of therapy. This article is a guide to help you find out more!
What is Prolotherapy?
The term itself is actually a portmanteau of the words ‘proliferation’ and ‘therapy’. The proliferation refers to using a syringe to inject a non-active irritant solution into the affected area of the body. This solution then proliferates through the joint or affected area. As the body reacts to the irritant, it actually strengthens the ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue around the area of the injection site to relieve pain. Currently, the exact mechanism that allows this form of therapy to work is not well known, however there can be no denying the results. This therapy works!
What Can I Expect?
If your ligaments and tendons are painful, aching, or just weakened, you might want to make an appointment with a licensed osteopathic physician to receive this type of therapy. Your doctor will inject the irritant solution, usually dextrose (a sugar solution) will be used, although it is not uncommon to use glycerine, phenol, lidocaine, or a type of cod liver oil extract. The solution is injected via a syringe into the joint where you are experiencing pain, usually where they connect to the bone.
Depending on the severity of your pain, your doctor will likely prescribe repeat sessions. Since these injections can be performed on an outpatient basis, you will simply need to come into the clinic once every 2 to 6 weeks for a few months until you have had enough treatments that the pain and aching symptoms go away. For most people this takes somewhere between three and six sessions. Occasionally, your doctor might ask that you come in less and less frequently until treatments are no longer required at all.
History of Prolotherapy Injections
Believe it or not, the process of using an irritation or injury to heal the body is not a new concept. As early as Ancient Rome, soldiers and injured gladiators were ‘healed’ by being poked in the shoulder with a scalding hot needle. It was believed that the minor injury would kick start the warriors immune and healing systems to heal all injuries sustained. Proliferation therapy as we know it today has been practiced in the U.S. since the 1950s as a way to repair joint damage and hernias.
What Conditions Can Proliferation Therapy Treat?
This form of therapy can be used to treat nearly every affliction of the musculoskeletal system. From lower back pain due to lifestyle habits, osteoarthritis, strains and dislocations, costochondritis, plantar fasciitis, and even pain due to whiplash injuries have all been successfully treated using proliferation therapy.