A 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study estimated that about 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, defined as pain felt most days or every day for at least the last six months.

While surgery can help some men and women who suffer from chronic pain, surgery is an invasive step that usually leads to months of physical therapy and downtime as the body heals. For this reason, many people suffering from acute or chronic joint pain, back pain, and soft-tissue injuries are turning to prolotherapy. Prolotherapy, which is an injection-based treatment that stimulates the body into healing itself, could be the key to solving your pain.

At Interventional Orthopedics of Washington, Otoño Silva, MD, provides prolotherapy to patients who have chronic and acute pain. He can work with you to create a customized treatment plan that will have you feeling better in no time.

Prolotherapy basics

Prolotherapy has been used since the 1930s as a form of regenerative therapy. Many people experience joint pain due to weakened or injured ligaments and tendons.

A destabilized joint that isn’t well supported is likely to be a source of acute or chronic pain. Prolotherapy aims to heal the ligaments and tendons around the joint, stabilizing it and thereby greatly reducing the pain.

Prolotherapy injections

Prolotherapy involves injecting a solution into the injured ligament or tissue. Depending on the placement and severity of the injury, Dr. Silva injects one or more of the following solutions:

  • Dextrose, which is a form of sugar
  • Saline, which is salt water
  • Lidocaine or Ropivicaine, which are anesthetics
  • Ozone or other proliferants 
  • Plasma or other biologics

Using X-ray or ultrasound guidance, Dr. Silva injects the solution directly into the injured tissue. The injection is often performed in several spots to encourage irritation across the tissue.

The irritation triggers an inflammatory response equivalent to a small injury. Your body immediately goes to work on repairing the injury, sending collagen to the impacted area. This collagen then helps to heal and strengthen the injured ligament or tendon.

Treatment courses

Prolotherapy may provide immediate relief, but Dr. Silva typically recommends 3-6 treatments for full healing and pain reduction. Treatments are spaced at least a month apart so that the inflammation can go down and the maximum amount of collagen can be produced by each treatment. Other times, it may be used to prepare the joint for PRP or stem cell injections to improve the outcomes. 

Unlike steroids, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory injections — which are temporary treatments — prolotherapy can be a permanent treatment. Prolotherapy can actually heal the tissue itself, so you will not need additional or maintenance injections after your treatment.

What can prolotherapy treat?

Prolotherapy can treat or support a variety of injuries, including:

  • Torn or injured ACL, MCL, LCL knee ligaments
  • Spine ligaments to support discs, facet joints, or nerves in the spine 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rotator cuff tendonopathies 
  • Ankle Sprains and unstable ankles
  • Unstable Sacroiliac Joint or SIJ pain
  • Tennis elbow or golfers elbow
  • Nerve pain 

Although the above are common, prolotherapy can help heal almost any soft tissue injury.

There is a solution for your acute or chronic pain. To see if prolotherapy can help you, request an appointment online or over the phone with Interventional Orthopedics of Washington today. You can also check out this video of Dr. Silva performing a prolotherapy procedure on a patient with knee pain and medial meniscus laxity here.

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