Learn about prolotherapy treatment and how it may alleviate pain from joint, tendon and ligament problems. Discover the wide variety of applications for this simple procedure from alternative medicine.
"The end result is strong, tight new connective tissue that restores proper alignment. Pressure is removed from the nerves and discs, and pain resolves. Because prolotherapy tackles the underlying cause of chronic pain, its effects are in most cases permanent." This quote is from Julian Whittaker, M.D. of the Whittaker Wellness Clinic in Newport Beach, California, talking about prolotherapy for back pain. Health & Healing newsletter, February 2003.
Always check with your doctor before trying anything you read here. Everyone is different, and what might be good for some people might be bad for you, considering your medical history and medications.
Applications include all kinds of joint, tendon and ligament problems: neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, groin, knee and ankle pain and foot pain; carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress disorders; compression fractures; degenerated or herniated discs; some kinds of fibromyalgia; certain kinds of headaches, including migraine; iliocostalis syndrome; low back pain; lumbago; musculoskeletal pain, including partially torn tendons, ligaments and cartilage; neuroma; osteoarthritis pain; phantom pain; post-stroke pain; reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD); sacroiliac joint problems; sciatica; slipping rib syndrome; spastic torticollis; spinal cord injury pain; sports injuries; tailbone pain; tendonitis; TMJ; vaginal and testicular pain; whiplash injuries and more.
Dr. Koop goes on to say that he observed Dr. Hemwall "and witnessed the unbelievable variety of musculoskeletal problems he was able to treat successfully. Many of his patients were people who had been treated for years by all sorts of methods, including major surgery, some of which had left them worse off than they were before. Many of his patients had the lack of confidence in further treatment and the low expectations that folks inflicted with chronic pain frequently exhibit. Yet I saw so many of them cured that I could not help but become a 'believer' in Prolotherapy."
Dr. Koop believes that the reason this alternative treatment is not more widely used is that it seems so simple a procedure as to defy belief that it could work. But it does work. It is not a cure-all for all types of pain, and it doesn't work for everyone, but the technique enjoys a success rate of 80 to 90 percent. He also says, "The nice thing about Prolotherapy, if properly done, is that it cannot do any harm. How could placing a little sugar-water at the junction of a ligament with a bone be harmful to a patient?"
In his book, Prolo Your Pain Away, Ross A. Hauser, M.D (who practices in Oak Park, Illinois) talks about the effects of this method of alternative healing. Hauser observed Dr. Hemwell treating his patients, and says that "Almost all the patients I observed improved after one or two Prolotherapy treatments. Many said they wished they had known about Prolotherapy years ago."
Dr. Bruce West, author of Health Alert newsletter, says: "It is a safe, effective, tested, legal, nonsurgical treatment that strengthens joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments. And the major side effect of this treatment is the elimination of pain. This therapy will increase musculoskeletal (joint) mobility and strength and stop its pain regardless of how many years the stiffness, weakness, and severe pain have existed."
Why It Works
The ligaments around each of your joints determine the stability of those joints. Unlike muscles, which have a good blood supply and heal quickly, ligaments have a poor blood supply. Thus, healing can be incomplete. Ligament problems are the cause of most chronic pain.
Prolotherapy works because it eliminates the cause of the pain: relaxation of ligaments and tendons, which causes joints to loosen, causing pain. Even the muscles surrounding the area may be painful, as they try to take up the slack to keep the joints stable.
Each treatment results in more proliferation of collagen, more tissue being added to the treatment area, strengthening and stabilizing it. With each treatment, the joint area becomes stronger and patients may again engage in activities they formerly thought they had to give up forever.
Studies and Case Histories
Does it hurt?
With regard to the treatment itself, hey, getting stuck with a needle is never fun. Dr. Janes uses really thin needles, and he shoots Lidocaine at the spot first to decrease the discomfort, but I am a real wimp with a needle phobia, so I take some Valium (prescribed by Dr. Janes at my request) about thirty minutes before the procedure, and I get through it. I would go through a lot more to get the relief from pain that I have experienced!
This technique, which has been used successfully for decades by enlightened physicians, holds so much promise for those whose pain might be related to weak tendons or ligaments or tense muscles that have tried to take up the slack. If that could be you, please consider getting one or more of Dr. Hauser's books for more details and testimonials.
Hauser also wrote Prolo Your Arthritis Pain Away, Prolo Your Sports Injuries Away, Prolo Your Back Pain Away, Prolo Your Headache and Neck Pain Away, and Prolo Your Fibromyalgia Pain Away. Another good source is Dr. William Faber's book, Pain Pain Go Away.
Prolotherapy was first used in the late 1930s. At this time, several hundred doctors in the U.S. are offering this treatment, which may accelerate the growth of cartilage and which strengthens joint structure. To locate a doctor in your area that offers prolotherapy, contact the America College for the Advancement of Medicine at www.acamnet.org.
Interestingly, Dr. Hauser, in his book, Prolo Your Pain Away, recommends the same four newsletters that I have subscribed to for many years, from which I took much information for this report. They are Alternatives, by Dr. David Williams, medical researcher, Health & Healing, by Julian Whitaker, M.D., Nutrition and Healing, by Jonathan Wright, M.D., and Second Opinion, by Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
As always, be careful. Check out your doctor. My doctor, Dr. Janes, trained hands on with Dr. Hemwall during a mission in Honduras, and he has been practicing the technique since 1993. Dr. Janes told me:
My first (of four) medical missionary trips to Honduras was with Dr. Hemwall. He taught me how to treat knees. I didn't realize until later that this was to be his final trip to Central America; he'd started in 1956; 40+ years of regular trips, often single-handed in the early years, except for his wife as assistant.
He also says:
I once made a rough estimate of the number of patients I've treated since 1993 and it came out to over 30,000. Nobody ever has gotten infected or had a pneumothorax (lung collapse). Total treatment failures: three. Partial treatment failure: under 20%. Nearly everyone got at least some pain relief and 80% get a lot! ...I have been using a K-Laser as part of treatment, to improve results. The laser's dual frequencies of far-infrared light stimulate ATP production in the mitochondria. More ATP is like having more $ in your pocket as far as cell metabolism is concerned. More ATP means the cell can do more, in this case, heal faster.
My comment: Dr. Janes is always trying to heal better and faster. But for me, hey, four to six weeks to heal (between treatments) is just fine with me, considering the great results I've gotten. --Joanna
This site has more information about prolotherapy.
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