two hands massaging back

Resolve Pain Naturally

Chronic pain is one of the top reasons for doctor’s visits in the U.S.

In fact, chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans each year. In a chronic pain study from the National Centers for Health Statistics, more than two-thirds of people in chronic pain report impact on overall enjoyment in life, depression and disrupted sleep due to pain. That’s a lot of unwell people!

There are various reasons for chronic pain, including skeletal, nerve, muscle, hormonal and autoimmune sources, but the most common causes are overuse injuries and tendon/ligament injury. Overuse of a joint degenerates the protective cartilage between the joint surfaces. Without this soft tissue, the joint glides incorrectly, causing friction and inflammation, ultimately leading to osteoarthritis. 

Tendon and ligament injury can also lead to chronic pain and osteoarthritis. Tendons and ligaments are very difficult to repair due to a lack of blood supply; most injuries will never fully regain pre-injury strength or function without intervention. The function of tendons and ligaments is to provide musculoskeletal movement and joint stability. Once they are damaged, the joint involved becomes unstable, resulting in the recruitment of the surrounding muscles contracting trying to create stability. The recruited muscle spasms actually end up causing pain, dysfunction, and musculoskeletal deformity/misalignment.

Short-term relief for most pain comes from massage, chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, cortisone injections and pain medications. These therapies are helpful, but they are not necessarily curative because they are not able to address and correct the underlying causative factor. Cortisone shots have actually been shown to decrease the tendon’s ability to repair and cause tendon atrophy.

What is Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection technique developed by Dr. Earl Gedney in 1937. It was expanded on by Dr. George Hackett. The injection therapy causes a proliferation of previously damaged soft tissues restoring the strength and stability of the joint. 

Traditional prolotherapy involves injecting an anesthetic and an irritant (medical grade dextrose), stimulating naturally occurring growth factors to migrate to the treated area and repair damaged tissues. Other solutions such as B-12, sodium morrhuate, sarapin, pumice and glucosamine may also be injected, depending on the patient’s injury. Several studies comparing MRIs from pre- and post-prolotherapy treatments have proven prolotherapy’s ability to thicken and strengthen ligaments and tendons.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) prolotherapy is a more direct and aggressive form of prolotherapy. It involves drawing about 30mL of the patient’s blood, spinning it down to separate the blood’s components, collecting the PRP from the blood sample and injecting it into the affected joint. PRP is generally more effective because it is delivering the platelets that secrete growth factors directly into the joint rather than stimulating them to aggregate with traditional prolotherapy. 

Prolotherapy has a reported 80 percent to 90 percent success rate in decreasing pain. For best results, patients should receive an injection every 1-6 weeks, totaling between 1-10 injections. Depending on your wear and tear level, prolotherapy results can last years. Some patients choose to receive “booster” injections for maintenance every year.

Prolotherapy should be considered by anyone suffering from chronic joint pain, especially people with osteoarthritis, sports injuries, motor vehicle accident history, chronic low back pain or knee pain. Prolotherapy is not for every pain syndrome; seek the care of a qualified health care provider to ensure a correct diagnosis and therefore the optimal treatment for you.

Call Winter Wellness at 928-440-3279,  if you would like to learn more about natural pain management!

Dr. Erin Winter
Naturopathic Doctor Flagstaff
Winter Wellness
Find us on Facebook and Instagram