As a reminder, prolotherapy is a regenerative injection that falls in the same category as platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) and stem cell therapy. With prolotherapy, a needle is inserted into the area being treated and we rely on the patient’s controlled, healthy inflammatory response to regenerate tissue to promote healing in the painful area.
When injuries and arthritis happen, prolotherapy will stabilize and stimulate the healing process in the area. This results in less pain and better function for the patient. Prolotherapy is commonly used to help most joint pain, TMJ pain, back pain, carpal tunnel, chronic sprains, tennis elbow and knee pain.
Below are the stories of a few patients who have had success with prolotherapy. Of course, names and minor details have been changed.
Jamie is an active woman in her late 50s who has left knee pain. She had the meniscus surgically ‘trimmed’ in her painful knee six months before coming into the office.
Jamie loves to run, but can’t run without pain and she can’t run more than two miles. Her knee pain gets worse throughout the day as she stands on her leg and puts pressure on her knee.
I treated Jamie’s knee joint and meniscus with prolotherapy using a solution of dextrose, lidocaine and saline. After three treatments over the course of three months, she was in far less pain and running three miles during the week, with longer runs on the weekend.
Jamie’s knee has been treated a total of six times. She is currently training for a half marathon and running without limitations.
Bea is a woman in her mid-60s who has pain at the base of both of her thumbs that was radiating into the fleshy part of her palms. Her pain was concentrated in that spot that hurts when you open jars.
She recently retired from her occupation and we knew that her computer-oriented job had been aggravating her pain. An X-ray showed arthritis in the joints at the base of her thumbs.
I treated Bea’s thumbs twice with a solution of dextrose, lidocaine, saline and Vitamin B12. After two treatments over the course of six weeks, her thumb pain was gone and she had more strength. We are now treating her ankle, which is an old injury that has bothered her for years. Bea is responding very well to treatment.
Cindy is an active woman in her early 30s. Twelve weeks ago, she fell while mountain biking and dislocated her right shoulder. Understandably, her shoulder feels unstable and is painful to use when she does simple tasks like brushing her hair.
She had an MRI, which showed partial tears in two of her rotator cuff attachments. A thorough physical exam also revealed issues with Cindy’s other rotator cuff attachments and a few other areas in her shoulder.
I treated her right shoulder with a mixture of lidocaine, dextrose, saline and B12 six times total. Her treatments were timed three to four weeks apart. Since her first treatment, her shoulder feels more stable and she has no pain unless she pushes herself too hard in yoga class. But, Cindy’s shoulder recovers in less than a day now. At this time, she will come back in two to three months only if the shoulder starts hurting more or feels less stable.
I hope these patient stories help you to understand how much prolotherapy can help restore function and also decrease pain. Prolotherapy is a treatment that should not be underestimated as a tool that can help people experience less pain, function better and possibly avoid surgery. FBN
By Amber Belt
Amber Belt, ND, is the medical director of Aspen Integrative Medical Center, and is a naturopathic physician with sharp regenerative injection skills, roller derby enthusiast, business owner, animal lover and Flagstaff devotee. She’s been performing regenerative injections for 12 years and can be contacted through aspenmedcenter.com or at 928-213-5828.