Almost everyone has pain in some form or another: an old football injury that never healed quite right, a knee that has arthritis or any number of other problems. Unfortunately, the solutions we are usually offered are pain medications, anti-inflammatories and surgery. The medications are often not enough for the pain and also worrisome when we consider how long you might be taking that medication for (more often than not, forever!). Surgeries and joint replacements offer a more permanent solution but also have problems including: long recovery times, reduced mobility and still some considerable pain following even the most successful operation.
Now why are there so many problems with chronic injuries? It has been suggested that we are not very good at allowing our injuries to heal when they first occur, that is, in the first 4-6 weeks following the initial injury. We use ice, anti-inflammatories and tend to avoid the rest that is actually required to heal. Usually we are trying to reduce the inflammation in the initial healing stages when really we should be using inflammation to heal the injury correctly. Inflammation is a totally healthy and normal response to an injury or infection and by blocking it we are often causing the injury to become chronic.
Many chronic pain syndromes can be attributed to ligamentous laxity or ligamentous pain due to improper healing in an acute injury. As the ligaments stretch, other tissues must stabilize the joint causing tension in muscles and swelling, as well the nerves within the ligament are more sensitive to pain when they have less support from the damaged ligament. Prolotherapy uses the body's own inflammatory response to change your chronic injury back to an acute injury that can be healed properly without the use of surgery or drugs. The procedure involves the injection of a solution of dextrose (sugar), procaine or lidocaine (anesthetic) and sodium chloride (also naturally found in the body) into pain producing ligaments surrounding a joint. These injections create irritation and the body begins to regenerate the damaged tissue.
Some of the conditions that prolotherapy can be used to treat include:
• back/ neck pain
• sports injuries
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• torn ligaments, tendons or cartilage
• recurrent ankle sprains
• heel spurs
• knee injuries including ACL tears
• follow up treatments after surgeries
• rotator cuff tears
• tennis elbow
• degenerated or herniated discs
• and many other undiagnosed problems
Prolotherapy has been used in osteopathic medicine since the 1930's to help repair these damaged ligamentous structures and many other types of pain throughout the body. Often patients find a relief from their pain once the initial swelling goes down and in many cases lasting effects can be found after only a few treatments. Get back to the activities that you enjoy, book an assessment at Momentum Health with Dr. Katie today!
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Frances Wang, ND
A naturopathic doctor and a mother who loves life, the outdoors and exercise.