“Prolo” in prolotherapy is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new ligament, tendon, or cartilage tissue in areas where it has become weak or damaged. Ligaments are the structural “rubber bands” that hold bones to bones in joints. Ligaments can become weak or injured and may not heal back to their original strength or endurance. This is largely because the blood supply to ligaments is limited, and therefore healing is slow and not always complete. Tendons connect muscles to bones, and in the same manner tendons may also become injured, and cause pain. Standard allopathic medicine uses “anti”-inflammatories for musculoskeletal injury. This stops the body’s natural processes of healing. Prolotherapy, on the other hand, promotes healing through the body’s natural healing processes.
A proliferative technique was first used by Hippocrates on soldiers with dislocated, torn shoulder joints. He would stick a hot poker into the joint, and it would then miraculously heal normally. Luckily that is not the procedure we use today.
Prolotherapy as we know it today has been done since the 1930’s. It is, however, not covered by government insurance. Some commercial insurances are covering it, however. Even though it has been proven over and over as to its effectiveness, the government still categorizes it as “experimental”. I project that the reason for that is political. Prolo is much cheaper than surgery. You can often completely fix the problem for less than $200. Organized medicine is more interested in protecting income than in curing illness. While incarcerated for, in my opinion, healing my patients, I suffered injury to my dominant left hand. After waiting almost a year to see an orthopedic surgeon, he refused to do prolo on my hand, calling it “ineffective” when he didn’t even know what it was. Now, 16 months after the injury, my hand is finally healing.
Prolotherapy uses a concentrated dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself. Treatments can range from one to 12, the average is 4-6, but I was able to see amazing results of pain completely resolved after just one treatment.
Conditions that can be helped with prolotherapy are acute neck and back strains or chronic back pain, joint pain (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, knee, hip, ankle, foot), TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, Osgood-Schlatter, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis. Basically, if it involves ligaments, tendons or joints, it can be helped. Eighty percent of the people treated with prolo have received benefit, often up to 100% relief from the pain.
When it comes to pain syndromes, smoking is a negative. Smoking often contributes to the pain. Nicotine causes the discs in the back to dry out and weaken. Then the vertebral column shortens. This then causes the ligaments to be floppy, leading to joint instability that can lead to injury and pain. Also the muscles tighten up to hold the joint together, causing pain. Smoking causes the healing process to take longer. Prolo can still help smokers, but it will take more treatments. Dr. Cheek recommends stopping smoking if possible, and then do the prolotherapy to get the healing. To stop smoking, the patient should consider auriculotherapy.
If you have had any experience with prolotherapy, please tell us about it by leaving a comment. For more information, go to the page on prolotherapy.