The journey of overcoming chronic pain may seem unbearably long, with ups and downs as medicines change and joints worsen. Thousands of people find themselves struggling with medication tolerance that leads to debilitating pain and a vicious cycle of seeking new sources of relief. If you are tired of the same old pill-popping story and want to find a unique solution, prolotherapy may be for you. Prolotherapy has grown in popularity across Los Angeles and the rest of the United States. Here are just some of the fantastic benefits of prolotherapy in Los Angeles has to offer. 

What Is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is short for proliferation therapy. Prolotherapy has existed since the 1950s, when Dr. George Hackett introduced the modern therapy method to the world. However, the concept of prolotherapy has arguably existed far longer, with similar therapies recorded as early as 400 B.C.E., meaning the idea is as old as the Ancient Greek empire. 

The simplest way to think of prolotherapy is as a tendon and ligament strengthening treatment injection. Prolotherapy operates on the basis that weakened ligaments and their connected tendons force the body to overuse muscles in compensation, resulting in muscle spasms and chronic pain. 

What Does Prolotherapy Treat?

Prolotherapy is used to treat many different types of chronic pain, including joint pain, back pain, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), and other muscle or joint problems.

How Does Prolotherapy Work?

The human body is a powerful healing machine. But as we age, our healing ability diminishes or becomes drowned out by chronic pain signals. Prolotherapy utilizes the human body’s healing ability to the patient’s advantage, breaking the chronic pain cycle. 

Prolotherapists administer an injection containing a mild irritant, typically lidocaine and dextrose, at the site of an injury or weakened ligament – for example, the knee or lower back. The injection irritates” the body, essentially creating a “cry for help” from the injured area to the brain. Once the brain receives the call for help, the body begins producing fibroblasts, the body’s repair cells. 

As the fibroblasts get to work, the tissue begins to proliferate (hence the name prolotherapy) and grow new tissues around the injured and irritated materials. The ligaments start to straighten and strengthen, providing more support for the joints around them.

How Can Prolotherapy Help Reduce Pain?

Prolotherapy generally is used to treat arthritic joint pain, sports injuries, lower back pain, and other chronic muscle pain. It has the potential to reduce pain through the proliferation process triggered by prolotherapy injections.  

How does prolotherapy help reduce and -in some cases – eliminate pain? This is done by repairing the damage done by weakened tendons and ligaments. Weakened ligaments lead to weakened tendons, which leads to overworked, overcompensating, and worn-out muscles. 

The result of tendon and ligament damage is chronic inflammation and muscle pain. Only by eliminating the cause of this pain (the weakened ligaments and tendons) can lasting pain relief be achieved. Most other pain management medications and injections rely on dulling pain, not solving the cause of the pain. 

Prolotherapy fixes the weakened tendons and ligaments, promoting proper support and alignment of joints. This change improves the range of motion of the joints, reduces inflammation, and ultimately helps reduce and in some cases eliminate pain.

Is Prolotherapy Dangerous?

Any time a person misapplies a therapy it becomes dangerous, no matter the type of therapy. The liquids used in prolotherapy, local analgesics like lidocaine and dextrose (sugar), are relatively harmless. However, the needle used to inject the liquid can cause damage if placed incorrectly. Avoid any accidents and keep yourself safe during the prolotherapy process by working with a reputable prolotherapist.

Does Prolotherapy Have Side Effects?

Prolotherapy has fewer side effects than traditional pain management medications and injections like steroids or narcotic painkillers. Allergic reactions to lidocaine and local analgesics are uncommon, though they do sometimes occur. The most common side effects of prolotherapy injections are tenderness at the injection site, bruising, and irritation. In severe instances, infections may occur at the injection site. 

Are Prolotherapy Results Permanent?

It may take multiple prolotherapy injections before you see any notable changes in your pain. Prolotherapy is typically administered on a 4-6 week schedule to allow the body time to heal between injections. Each session may include up to ten or more shots, depending on the pain severity and location. 

The success of prolotherapy lies in strengthening the ligaments themselves. If the ligaments straighten and strengthen throughout therapy, the results can be long-lasting with proper maintenance and care. Prolotherapy only helps improve muscle integrity and ligament strength, but maintaining it requires proper physical therapy and care. 

Is Prolotherapy Complementary to Other Pain Management Treatments?

Yes, prolotherapy complements many other pain management treatment methods. Physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, and exercise are all used with prolotherapy to create a comprehensive pain management program. Physical modalities, like chiropractic and exercise, help to maintain the joints and muscles during and post-prolotherapy. 

However, prolotherapy does not complement all traditional pain management treatments. Remember, prolotherapy works by triggering the inflammatory healing response of the body with an irritating substance. Therefore, any medication that prevents inflammatory responses counteracts prolotherapy. Some medicines that prevent prolotherapy from working include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. 

Keep in mind that your prolotherapist will speak to you about your medications and let you know if any of them counteract the therapy. Do not stop taking prescribed medication without professional medical advice from a licensed physician. 

How Do I Get Started On Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy starts with a simple phone call to your local, reputable prolotherapist. In Los Angeles, give the experts at The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration a call. Our team will navigate the scheduling process for you and work with you to build a comprehensive plan to treat and heal your pain. Every patient’s pain and story are different, and at our clinic, each patient receives treatment tailored to their needs. Give us a call today at (310) 929-9790 to get started on your prolotherapy journey.