The current standards for the practice of injection work for pain include the use of steroids to stop the inflammatory process occuring in a painful joint. If you have had a cortisone injection in the past, you have likely had the experience of being pain-free for a short amount of time (a month or two), only to be reintroduced to your agony after the steroid’s effect has worn off. The next course of action for most people is surgery, which may or may not be effective. Prolotherapy is essentially the opposite of a steroid injection because it hits the restart button on an inflammatory process that has gone rogue. Our bodies use inflammation to heal itself. When you cut your finger, the body sends all kinds of hormonal messengers to the area to rebuild, restructure, and eliminate invading pathogens and toxins. The goal of prolotherapy is to work with your body to correct the inflammatory process, not halt it.
Does it hurt and what are the side effects?
Injections are done in the joints and aimed at the damaged ligament or tendon towards bone, which minimizes potential damage to nerves and other vessels. A typical treatment involves multiple injections in the site of injury. When performed by a physician who has undergone the necessary hands-on training and certification to perform prolotherapy, any harmful side effects and risks are quite rare. Because prolotherapy is also mixed with lidocaine, the initial response is usually decreased pain and numbness in the injected area. After a few days, the patient will likely feel a dull ache and pain as the inflammatory process brings about healing and repair. It is imperative that the patient does not ice the area or take anti-inflammatory medications either before treatment or after, as this negates the therapeutic benefits. As will all medical procedures, one should be aware of any potential side effects and risks, though rare, which include weakness, allergic reaction, pain, infection, headache, dizziness, and nausea.
How many treatments Do I need?
A typical series is 3-4 treatments to see relief, though depending on the nature of the injury (acute or chronic), one may need more or less. For some patients with chronic issues, a maintenance dose every now and then is helpful after an initial series.
Also called Biopuncture, this form of injection therapy primarliy utilizes Arnica Montana, a known homeopathic remedy to relieve pain and inflammation in a joint or trigger point. It works much like prolotherapy, correcting the inflammatory mechanism and bringing about the needed blood flow to an area to bring about healing and reduce pain. As with prolotherapy, this is an effective alternative to steroid injections and the side effects are the same. A course of homeopathic injectables is usually done more frequently; usually 6 doses is a typical course of treatment. The effect is potentially faster than that of prolotherapy, though this varies from patient to patient.
trigger point therapy
For an athlete or weekend warrior with an acute non-emergent injury, a simple lidocaine injection into the site can reduce pain dramatically.
For those with documented nutritional deficiencies, intramuscular injection of needed vitamins such as B-12 is an option.
Dr. Matta is an Osteopathic medical physician and specialist in Primary Care Sports Medicine. Osteopathic manipulation is a hands-on treatment of the body to bring the spine, joints, and myofascial networks back into balance, and can be very effective in increasing mobility and decreasing pain.
The modality of cupping has been practiced for centuries and is an integral treatment modality in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The treatment involves the placement of plastic cups over the skin and works by drawing blood flow back into an area that may not have been receiving adequate attention by the body. It is an effective treatment for pain and injury.
Included in any of your sessions is counseling and advice on nutrition, supplements, exercise and performance.