Prolotherapy (A Non – Surgical Solution for Joint Pain)
Prolotherapy, also called “proliferative therapy”, is beneficial for the treatment of joint pain. Prolotherapy is a non-surgical alternative treatment that assists the body in healing weakened joints, ligaments, and tendons. A trained physician uses natural substances to inject damaged areas.
Dr. Kent Pomeroy, one of the leading prolotherapists in the country states “Prolotherapy is a therapeutic treatment for pain and joint instability, simply the application of the basic science of healing and repair. It is cost effective, safe, and works when nothing else does. It is just common sense good medicine.”
The problem with musculoskeletal injuries that do not heal completely is that they may lead to referred pain and/or joint instability. Joint instability causes the cartilage to wear out or break down more rapidly with the development of spurs and arthritic changes. If the injury is to the joints of the spine the discs may be injured more easily, with nerve involvement from the spurs or from disc herniation.
Substances used in prolotherapy may include a concentrated sugar solution, anesthetics, and a water soluble form of cod liver oil extract, called sodium morruhuate. These substances are injected into the joint, the attachment point of the tendon, or ligament on the bone. The healing process is started and the tendon or ligament cells multiply. Each new fiber weaves itself across the bridge of the existing tendon or ligament and patches the hole or weak spot in the structure. The result is a larger, thicker tendon or ligament, elimination of the pain, and better joint stability.
The original work with prolotherapy began with Dr. George S. Hackett, who coined the word “prolotherapy”, meaning “proliferative therapy”. One of Dr. Hackett’s first students was Dr. G. A. Hemwall, who treated the former Surgeon General of the U.S., Dr. C. Everett Koop, for low back pain, and severe neck problems. Dr. Koop would later use it to treat the parents of his pediatric patients.
Two recent major studies have been carried out by Dr. Kent Pomeroy, who was trained by Dr. Hemwall. The results of changes in the patients’ conditions and the cost of treatment were tabulated. These studies showed significant improvement in patients treated with prolotherapy, and surgical intervention was avoided in most cases. The cost of treatment with prolotherapy was very small in comparison to surgery.