What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy, also known as Reconstructive Injection Therapy (RIT) or Sclerotherapy, is a recognized orthopedic and holistic procedure that reconstructs joints, ligaments, and tendons weakened by trauma or arthritis. It is a non-surgical treatment which stimulates healing of the injured or degenerated area. Through a series of precise injections, the doctor stimulates an inflammatory response. This is the body’s signal to begin the natural healing process.
Treating pain at its source.
The body has a host of built-in mechanisms that allow it to heal itself. Rather than using these mechanisms, traditional western medicine tends to suppress or work against them. These approaches, with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid (cortisone) and surgery, often fail to restore joint function and relieve pain permanently. This is because they are not getting to the root cause of the problem-they are simply treating the symptoms. Inflammation, however, is not the cause of the pain; it is a result of the injury, as well as the trigger that tells the body to begin the healing process. Anti-inflammatory drugs merely suppress the body’s natural inflammation response and prevent it from triggering this process.
Prolotherapy is unique, in that it uses the body’s built-in healing mechanisms, allowing it to repair the injured musculoskeletal tissue.
When ligaments and tendons are stretched, torn or fragmented, they become hyper-mobile and painful. The body’s natural response to this type of injury is inflammation, which signals the body that there is an injury that needs repairing. The body responds by sending specialized white blood cells, fibroblasts and growth factors which help to remove debris and ultimately, repair tissue and lay down new collagen, the supporting structure for our tendons and ligaments.
Rather than fighting this natural process and suppressing the inflammation, Prolotherapy uses it. With a series of precise injections into the damaged areas the doctor will stimulate an inflammatory response, therefore signaling the body to begin the ‘healing cascade’. We are using the body’s own systems and natural functions to promote not only permanent pain relief, but re-growth and healing, as well.
Prolotherapy has the unique ability to treat not only the pain, but the cause of the pain. This results in permanent stabilization of the joint and, therefore, an end to pain and weakness-all without drugs, surgery, scar tissue, anesthesia or side effects.
Prolotherapy has a wide range of applications and can be used to relieve a broad spectrum of conditions, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain / MCL, LCL, and ACL sprains
- Back pain/ sacroiliac joint disorders
- Compression fractures
- Herniated discs
- Tennis elbow / golfer’s elbow
- TMJ / Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Sciatica and pyriformis syndrome
- Baker’s Cyst
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Foot and ankle problems
- Shoulder pain/ rotator cuff tendonitis / biceps tendonitis
- Pelvic tilt / functional leg discrepancy
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
85-95% of patients suffering from lower back pain experienced remission when treated with Prolotherapy. In comparison, the Journal of Bone and Joint Therapy reports only a 52% improvement in patients treated with disc surgery. The National Institute of Health funded a study on treatment of arthritis in the knee, and reported great success in over 85% of people.
Each situation is unique and the length of treatment depends on a number of factors: nutritional status, ability to heal, overall health and the severity of the injury. Prolotherapy treatments are administered on an individual basis, every two to three weeks on average. Some patients may experience complete relief from pain and restoration of function after only one or two treatments.
In general, chronic back and neck problems require between six to twelve sessions. Smaller joints may take from one to four treatments, while knees and ankles can take anywhere from three to six injections. It can take up to six weeks after the injection for the body to complete the healing process. These are general estimates and actual healing time depends on the severity of the injury, the chronicity of the injury, and the person’s individual genetics for healing.
On your first visit, the doctor will do a complete medical and full musculoskeletal examination. If prolotherapy is deemed the best course of treatment, the doctor will perform a series of injections, comprised of an anesthetic and an inflammatory agent, into the damaged area. This will signal the body that there is an area that needs repair.
Dr. Greenberg will also evaluate each patient for a pelvic tilt or functional leg length discrepancy. This tilt, which is acquired, not congenital, can cause joint dysfunction in the spine, sacroiliac joint, hips, pyriformis, knees, and ankles, and can contribute to limping. Dr. Greenberg pioneered a highly successful treatment for pelvic tilt in 1999 that has stood the test of time and leads to remarkable results.
When done by a skilled practitioner, patients tolerate the procedure well. Because there is local anesthetic in the solution, patients may feel an initial relief of pain immediately following the treatment. As you may have read, Dr. Greenberg was able to self-administer his injections to heal himself of pain sustained from a car accident.
Because Prolotherapy induces inflammation, patients may experience a mild swelling and stiffness after treatments and should avoid any particularly heavy-duty exertion for the duration. Otherwise, they are able to pursue their normal lives and work schedules in between sessions.
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This young girl is one of our prolotherapy patients. She is a gymnast and travelled all the way from Texas to train in a world class gym in New Jersey. She is striving to make the Olympic team and her trainer told her that they would allow her to train at this gym under one condition: that she gets treated at the Magaziner Center for her various injuries. She had severe problems with her back, neck, ankle and groin. This video was shot after she received a few treatments of PRP and prolotherapy. Obviously, it worked!
From Our Blogs
Prolotherapy for Arthritis
Doctors at the University of Minnesota released their study in the Journal of Family Practice calling Prolotherapy a nontraditional approach to knee osteoarthritis that can reduce pain and improve a patient’s quality of life...Doctors say Prolotherapy better than cortisone for wrist problems.
Prolotherapy for Sprains
We see many patients in our office that give us a detailed history of their life with chronic ankle sprains. Typically patients can describe a long history of sprains starting with a particularly bad one some years back.
Prolotherapy After Failed Back Surgery
Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at the use of prolotherapy in patients who had failed to respond to conservative approaches including spinal manipulation and physiotherapy in (UK National Health Service) back pain clinic settings.