Prolotherapy for Joint Pain

Over 15 million Americans suffer from severe joint pain and that number is rising every year. Painkillers such as acetaminophen and NSAID analgesics (which include ibuprofen and naproxen/Aleve) are the standard treatments. There are also stronger prescription painkillers used such as opioids. Some people find relief with painkillers, however, most learn to cope with the pain with little to no hope of it ever being cured.

As naturopathic physicians we believe the body has the innate ability to heal itself when provided the optimum conditions. In fact, this is one of our founding principles, vis medicatrix naturae. As such, we provide treatments to support the body’s healing process and prolotherapy for joint pain is one such treatment.

Prolotherapy, also known as proliferation or regenerative injection therapy, stimulates the body’s ability to repair itself. Prolotherapy is based on an idea that runs counter to the common goal in arthritis treatment, which is to decrease inflammation. In fact, inflammation is temporarily increased with prolotherapy.

During a prolotherapy session, a solution is injected into the affected ligaments, tendons or joint capsules.  The solution, which is not a nutrient solution, but rather an irritant solution designed to encourage increased blood flow and growth of new ligament or tendon fibers.  The solution is usually dextrose, methyl-B12 and a local anesthetics (no steroids are used). The injection stimulates an immune response where white blood cells come to the area to help replace the scar tissue with correct connective tissue.  It also promotes an increase in synovial fluid, which is the liquid buffer in between our joints.

Prolotherapy is known to help with arthritis, whiplash, joint sprains, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, sprains and chronic tendonitis. It is very low risk and not very likely to cause adverse side effects.

In order to achieve successful pain relief, multiple prolotherapy treatments are needed to encourage additional tissue growth and to restore/strengthen the affected area.  The procedure usually takes around 30 minutes without a prolonged recovery period. Usually, most people experience a mild but temporary swelling and stiffness right after the injection. Some patients see noticeable improvement after the first sessions, while other patients see steady improvements after each procedure. Typically prolotherapy treatments are scheduled every two to six weeks until the healing is complete and you can return to normal activities without pain.

Both Dr. Hayman and Dr. Bailey have received extensive training in prolotherapy injections. The are currently treating elbows, knees, shoulders, and ankles. Please contact us for a consultation to determine the best treatment protocol for you.