Permanent Pain Relief
Julian Whitaker, MD
Chronic pain in the neck, back, hip joints, knees, shoulders, or elbows is a major problem for many people. As we age, the joints and cartilage between the joints begin to wear out, leading to debilitating, painful arthritis. In addition, injuries to these same areas, either from trauma or repetitive use, are very common.
There are a number of natural therapies that improve joint pain, including supplements such as glucosamine and Univestin, topicals like DMSO, and chiropractic manipulations. However, there are some aches and pains that just don’t respond, and that’s when you’re shuttled to a specialist and told that your only option is surgery. Well, it isn’t. Before you consent to surgery, you owe it to yourself to look into prolotherapy, a nonsurgical intervention that often results in permanent pain relief.
Loose Ligaments Cause Pain
To understand how prolotherapy works, you need to know a little about joint anatomy. Synovial joints, the free-moving joints that give us our remarkable flexibility, consist of bones covered with cartilage, held in place by thick fibers called ligaments that attach bone to bone. Ligaments are normally taut, strong bands of connective tissue, but when they are injured, they become weak and lax, making it difficult for them to do their job of holding a joint in place. As a result, nerve fibers within the ligament are activated and cause local pain and inflammation. Injury to tendons, which connect bones to muscles, can similarly cause pain and inflammation.
NSAIDs relieve joint pain by countering inflammation. Unfortunately, because inflammation is the first stage of your body’s healing process, these drugs also hinder recovery. In addition, they damage the stomach lining and destroy cartilage, the cushioning material that protects joints. Finally, NSAIDs do nothing to address the underlying laxity of ligaments and tendons that is the source of chronic pain. This is where prolotherapy comes in.
Prolotherapy Stimulates Healing
Prolotherapy (also called sclerotherapy or reconstructive therapy) involves the injection of a mildly irritating solution into the area where ligaments or tendons attach to bone. Just as a fire alarm triggered in a burning building calls fire fighters to the site, the injection of an irritant provokes inflammation and draws specialized immune cells to the area. These cells go to work engulfing and removing cellular debris and foreign material in preparation for phase two of the healing process.
A day or two after this, rebuilding begins. The workhorses of this phase are the fibroblasts that form new collagen tissue, the basic building blocks of ligaments and tendons. Over the next few weeks, tissue growth continues, resulting in thicker, stronger ligaments and tendons that regain their ability to stabilize the joint and take the pressure off sensitive nerve endings. Sometimes one treatment is enough to achieve complete pain relief, but it usually takes about four treatments, administered at three- to four-week intervals, to produce sufficient collagen growth to relieve pain and restore normal function.
Results Are Miraculous
For patients with chronic pain who have tried everything from drugs and surgery to physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation, prolotherapy can be a miracle. These patients may have suffered for years with chronic pain that sapped their energy, deprived them of sleep, and left them unable to do the things that they enjoy. Yet within four to six months, they are free of pain and feel normal for the first time in years.
If you haven’t heard of prolotherapy until now, you’re not alone. This simple and effective therapy has been around for at least half a century, but due to the bias toward drugs and surgery that pervades the medical profession, it has never gotten the attention it deserves. No one who suffers from chronic pain should have to “learn to live with it.”
- Prolotherapy is useful for many chronic painful conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and sports-related injuries. If you’d like to speak to someone about receiving prolotherapy at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- A good book on prolotherapy is Prolo Your Pain Away. Call (800) 810-6655 to order.
- Hauser RA. Prolo Your Pain Away! Oak Park IL: Beulah Land Press, 1998.
- Ko G. Prolotherapy: A new “old” treatment for chronic back pain. Natural Med J1998 Jul;1(6):12-17.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.