Dr. Miller has training in a relatively new technique called “Proliferative Therapy.” Also known as “Prolotherapy,” it is a treatment method for chronic pain. Its proposed mechanism of action is that a precise injection of a dextrose and lidocaine solution triggers a localized inflammatory response, thereby stimulating blood supply to the area and prompting the incoming supply of immune cells to repair the tissue. Prolotherapy can stimulate the formation of new, healthy ligament tissue in an area where the existing tissue has been damaged or weakened.
What conditions may benefit from Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a form of therapy put to use in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Some of the pain-causing disorders for which it has been effective include arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, partially torn tendons or ligaments, and chronic tendonitis.
Although this method of treatment is still being further analyzed in the medical literature, Dr. Miller feels that such injections are appropriate in certain conditions, particularly those involving chronic tendonitis and ligament sprain. Chronic tendonitis is a recurring inflammation or irritation of a tendon resulting in pain and tenderness in the area of the surrounding joint. It can develop in any tendon of the body, but is most often found in the knees, elbows, heels, wrists and shoulders. A ligament sprain occurs when the ligament is stretched beyond its normal capacity or otherwise injured.
How does prolotherapy work?
The ligaments are stretchy connectors between the bones in a joint, attaching one bone to the next. Due to injury or disease, ligaments can weaken or become damaged. They do not always fully heal from this type of trauma because the blood supply to ligaments is restricted. Recovery from a ligament injury may be slow and the ligament may not return to its prior level of strength or stamina. Since ligaments contain a lot of nerve endings, any problem of this kind typically produces quite a bit of pain and discomfort for the patient.
The tendons are the tissues in the joints that connect the bones to the muscles. Like ligaments, tendon injuries can result in chronic pain.
The prolotherapy solution can be injected into the ligament or tendon at the site of the injured joint. This will produce some inflammation, affecting only the affected area of tissue. The body then reacts by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to the spot, which helps the tissue to heal and repair itself.
How many treatments does prolotherapy require?
Treatment with prolotherapy is individualized and will depend on the nature and extent of the damage within the joint as well as your particular rate of healing. For some people, a course of treatment may be complete within a few sessions, while other people require more than 10 sessions. The average number of treatment sessions is between four and six for most injuries. After an examination and assessment of your condition, Dr. Miller can determine whether prolotherapy is the correct type of treatment for you and if so, establish approximately how many treatments you would need.
How long does a course of treatments last?
In theory, the results of prolotherapy should be permanent. The treatment not only helps the body to heal injured tendons and ligaments, but actually results in the creation of new tissue. This can bring about an increase in ligament or tendon size, making it stronger than before. However, the area is still susceptible to injury, especially if the underlying causes of the damage remain present.
Does prolotherapy cause any side effects?
There are people who experience a reaction to prolotherapy, but it is usually quite mild. There may be swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache or nausea that can last between two and four days post-treatment. The more common side effects reported are soreness and some stiffness at the treatment site for one to two days after prolotherapy.