What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a non-surgical procedure used to heal damaged connective tissue. It does this by encouraging your body to use its natural system of healing in order to stop pain and other symptoms caused by connective tissue damage. Prolotherapy injections are also known as regenerative joint injections or non-surgical ligament and tendon reconstruction.
Prolotherapy injections are most commonly used to treat injured joints and ligaments. These injections are usually used for treating back issues, but they can also be used in the knees, hips, shoulders, and other joints and ligaments. It can also be used to treat people with chronic conditions such as degenerative disc disease or arthritis.
Prolotherapy injections involve placing a natural irritant into the soft tissue of an injured joint. This irritant may either be a sugar or salt solution, depending on whether the prolotherapy is dextrose or saline prolotherapy. This irritant then stimulates your body’s natural healing response.
How Do Prolotherapy Injections Work?
Both dextrose and saline prolotherapy injections involve injecting a solution that includes an irritant into an area of connective tissue that is damaged or injured. This irritant then stimulates your body’s natural healing response, which leads to the growth of new tissues. Your body will then being to strengthen and repair damaged ligaments in the joint. This helps reduce pain and stiffness, improve function and mobility of the joint, and increase strength in ligaments and other tissues.
Over time, the strengthening of ligaments stimulated by the irritants in prolotherapy injections will help stabilize your damaged joints. Once the joint is fully stabilized and well supported, the pain stops.
Prolotherapy injections are most commonly used to treat injuries that occur due to overuse and to stabilize joints that have become unstable. These injections often require several shots in the area of injury or weakness in order to be effective. Anywhere between 14 to 15 shots per session should be expected, and multiple sessions over the course of 3 to 6 months will likely be required.
What is Connective Tissue?
Connective tissue is a group of tissues found in the body that connect, support, and help bind other tissues within the body. These tissues include bone, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and fat tissue.
There are three categories of connective tissue: loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue, and specialized connective tissue. Loose connective tissue holds organs in place and is made of extracellular matrix and collagenous, elastic, and reticular fibers. Dense connective tissue makes up tendons and ligaments and is made of higher density collagen fibers. Specialized connective tissue includes fat tissue (adipose), cartilage, bone, blood, and lymph.
Prolotherapy injections are mostly focused on issues caused by damaged or injured ligaments and tendons.
Prolotherapy Injections at Nashville Spine Institute
Before prolotherapy injections can be administered, Nashville Spine Institute will need to see assess diagnostic imaging such as MRI scans and X-rays. Assessing these images will help us determine whether you are an optimal candidate for prolotherapy injections, considering the location and severity of the damage or injury.
If you take anti-inflammatory medications, this should be stopped 2 to 3 days prior to injection. Anti-inflammatory medication may conflict with prolotherapy injections and prevent them from working.
Before the injection, Dr. Tolman will prepare the patient’s skin with rubbing alcohol or another sterilizing solution. He may then apply a numbing cream to the skin to reduce discomfort from injection. After the skin has been prepared, Dr. Tolman will use a long, thin needle to deliver the solution containing the irritant to different points around the target area. The number of prolotherapy injections needed will depend on the extent of damage or injury.
Immediately after treatment, ice or heat packs will be applied to the treated areas for 10-15 minutes while you rest.
We invite you to schedule an appointment with us to find out if prolotherapy injections are the solution for your condition!