Proliferation Injection Therapy, or Prolotherapy is the surgical injection procedure used to stimulate natural healing. These injections are placed into the targeted damaged tissue areas and promote a “proliferative” response by encouraging the body’s immune system to flood into the area and trigger the natural healing cascade. Prolotherapy, with its medicinal roots in Germany, has been practiced in the United States safely for over 70 years.
It can be effective in resolving many chronic pain syndromes such as whiplash injury, low-back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.
A revolution in regenerative medicine, Proliferation Injection Therapy, or Prolotherapy, is a surgical injection technique by which a series of injections are used to stimulate the body’s natural healing of damaged tissues.
It is used to strengthen weakened and loose ligaments and tendons, as well as stimulate new cartilage production within joints.
In its earliest practice, Prolotherapy was first administered by physicians in Germany in the late 1800s. This European technique was then brought to America and later refined by George Hackett, a general surgeon of Ohio. Dr. Hackett, and two other osteopathic physicians – Earl Gedney and David Shuman – began using these techniques in the United States in the early 1930s. Amazed with the clinical results, the doctors began publishing their work. Dr. Hackett was published in the most prestigious medical journals of his day, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the American Journal of Surgery. A general surgeon by the name of Gustav Hemwall was the principle student of Dr. Hackett. Together, Hackett and Hemwall began training other physicians on the benefits and procedure of Prolotherapy, and continued to do so for the rest of their days.
Today, the Hackett-Hemwall Foundation is a non-profit medical organization based at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison dedicated to the practice and to providing CME (Continuing Medical Education) for interested physicians.
When any tissue of the body is injured, regardless of cause, damaged cells release their contents into the affected area. The alarms are sounded and help arrives in the form of the working cells of our immune system. This process, called our local immune response, is characterized by inflammation. This inflammation is simply our blood capillaries opening up to make way for immune cells to rush in and begin repair.
Unfortunately, our schedules don’t typically coincide with those of our immune system, and as we continue moving muscles in and around the damaged area, the repair becomes overwhelming. At this point, our immune cells begin laying down dyfunctional scar tissue, which usually functions in a substandard manner. Many forms of chronic pain result from this series of consequences.
Prolotherapy works by stimulating the body’s process of natural healing. An injection is placed where ligaments fuse into bone. This area is known to be rich in many different types of cells and serves as a transition zone. Among these cells are “naïve stem cells”. These cells have yet to be given a specific function and are therefore impressionable. The injected Prolotherapy solution – a mixture of dextrose, saline, and lidocaine – stimulates the naïve stem cells to perform as tissue cells thus producing new, functional tissue.
Prolotherapy consistently yields positive results for a number of musculoskeletal injuries. More and more people suffering from both acute & chronic pain are experiencing improvement and lasting relief in a relatively short period of time. Some of the most commonly treated injuries are:
- Arthritis: Hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles, feet
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Rotator Cuff Strain
- Tennis Elbow
- Hip Pain
- TMJ Syndrome
- Chronic Headaches
- Whiplash Injury
- Sports Injuries: Ankle sprains, Achilles’ tendonitits, Turf-toe, Jumper’s Knee, etc.
And any other clinical source of pain whose symptoms stem from degenerative tendon or cartilage tissue, and/or ligament laxity accompanied by abnormal joint motion.
TotalCare examines each patient’s candidacy for Prolotherapy individually, taking the entire clinical scope into consideration. Some conditions that have the potential to negatively affect the outcome of Prolotherapy are tobacco use, poor nutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiency, and obesity. Because these conditions contribute in such a manner of adversity, most physicians will choose not to administer Prolotherapy to these patients.