What is Prolotherapy?
“A joint is only as strong as its weakest ligament.”– George Hackett, M.D.
Prolotherapy is a medical procedure that stimulates the body’s own healing mechanisms to healed damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage permanently curing these pains!
Ligaments connect bones to other bones and stabilizes joints. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Both of these structures are composed primarily of Type 1 collagen which is a very strong protein. In fact, the tensile strength of collagen is stronger than steel!
Additionally, ligaments and tendons are abundantly populated with nerve fibers, specifically, c-fibers. These fibers are responsible for sensing stretching and pressure. They give feedback to the brain so that we can tell where our arms and legs are located.
However, if there is too much stretching (collagen doesn’t stretch very much in a healthy state) these fibers transmit exquisite pain. THIS IS THE SOURCE OF MANY PEOPLE’S PAIN!
The body has a mechanism for healing damaged structures. The collagen mentioned above is primarily produced by fibroblasts. These cells (fibroblasts) are stimulated to produce more collagen through an inflammatory process due to damage. Prolotherapy, short for ‘proliferant’ therapy, stimulates those fibroblasts to produce new collagen which shrinks as it matures and tightens these loose, damaged, and relaxed ligaments/tendons.
It is the injection of a ‘proliferant’ solution into these damaged areas. The damaged areas are determined during a physical exam by a trained prolotherapy physician. This proliferant solution is mildly irritating and stimulates the immune system to heal the damaged structures.
Given the low risk of complications and the potential benefits, prolotherapy is an excellent option that can dramatically reduce your pain and increase your ability to function normally. Only a history and physical exam by a trained prolotherapy physican can determine if prolotherapy is right for you.