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Prolotherapy is a medical technique where a irritant fluid is injected in the transition between the ligament and bone. The purpose here is to manipulate the repair and strengthening ligament to reduce chronic tennis elbow pain.
In other words, prolotherapy is used to strengthen structural weaknesses in the arm. Muscular manipulation and exercises are used frequently as additional treatment.
It was back in 1956 that Dr. George S. Hackett, who is regarded as the ‘father of prolotherapy’, coined the term ‘prolotherapy’.
So, what exactly is prolotherapy?
First of all let me explain the meaning of the word ‘prolotherapy’. As is quite apparent, the word is a combination of two words ‘prolo’ and ‘therapy’, wherein ‘prolo’ is the shortened form of ‘proliferation’ since the treatment involves causing the proliferation, or the formation or growth, of new tissues of ligaments in the parts of the body where it has been weakened.
Ligaments are bands or sheets of fibrous tissue that connect bones together in joints. Ligaments can be injured or become weak and may not always get back to the original condition they were in, in terms of endurance or strength. This is mainly due to the fact that ligaments do not get as much blood supply, which results in making the healing process slow and is sometimes incomplete. As a further complication, there are also many nerve endings in ligaments, and hence pain is felt where the ligaments are injured or damaged.
Prolotherapy is a healing technique that helps in stimulating the body to repair any area that is painful. It is generally used when other methods such as anti-inflammatory drugs, or more extreme measures like joint replacement or surgery, does not provide relief or may even hinder or impede the process of healing.
In prolotherapy, an injection of a sugar water or dextrose solution is given in the affected ligament, where it is attached to the bone. This results in causing an inflammation in the affected area, which in turn results in increasing the blood supply as well as nutrients into the area, thus stimulating the repair of the tissue.
Historical accounts tell us that even Hippocrates used this kind of technique on soldiers afflicted by tears or dislocations in their shoulder joints. He used to insert a heated poker into the affected joint, whereby it would heal seemingly miraculously. Of course, hot pokers are not used these days, although the basic principle of prolotherapy is similar, to induce the body to heal itself, which is an innate ability that it already has.
What are the conditions where prolotherapy is helpful?
Prolotherapy is a highly effective treatment for various kinds of musculoskeletal pain, such as: sciatica; herniated or degenerated discs; partially torn ligaments, tendons and cartilage; chronic tendonitis; carpal tunnel syndrome; unhealed whiplash injuries; sports injuries; fibromyalgia; neck pain; back pain; and arthritis.
How long will a full course of prolotherapy treatment take?
The response to the treatment differs from one person to another, depending largely on each person’s healing capacity. While for some people just a few sessions are needed, other may require 10 or even more. On an average, about 4 to 6 sessions of treatment are enough for one area treated.
One of the best things to do is consult a physician that is trained in the prolotherapy technique to find out if it is an appropriate treatment for you. Once you start the treatment, your physician will keep you informed about your response to the treatment and tell you accurately how long the healing process will take.
|By Rita Putatunda
Prolotherapy For Pain Management
Prolotherapy eliminates chronic pain and is useful in conditions with recurrent swelling or fullness involving joint or muscular region, numbness, tingling, aching or burning in upper or lower extremity.
Prolotherapy has been around for over 50 years, but few people have ever heard of it – or its amazing record of curing chronic pain.