How Prolotherapy Treats Pain At The Source
When we think of pain management, we think of taking medicine that relieves pain for a moment. And with opioid use becoming an epidemic, these temporary treatments can be potentially dangerous. There is a better, safer more natural way to relieve chronic pain.
Patients suffering from chronic pain have two options; live with the unbearable pain or go to a doctor that prescribes medicine or localized steroid injections to relieve the pain. Neither of these options addresses the root cause of chronic pain and it only treats the symptoms.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain starts out as an injury or a pulled muscle. This will damage the nerves making the pain unbearable and almost untreatable. When an injury occurs the muscle fibers or tendons tear and if they don’t heal properly, the pain becomes everlasting. For doctors, they only treat the pain through various medications. Usually opioids like morphine and codeine.
When these small tears in connective tissues happen, the body might not recognize them and won’t repair it. That’s why many doctors have a tendency to misdiagnose the pain. Thinking it’s from inflammation, so they use anti-inflammatory treatments where there is no inflammation to begin with. Inflammation is the way the body tries to repair itself. So these anti-inflammatory treatments may seem counterintuitive. Especially with muscle and joint pain where acute inflammation just wants to protect the body. That’s where Prolotherapy comes in.
What are the benefits of Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a relatively new procedure that injects a dextrose solution at the site of the pain. Irritating it and causing the body to respond. Healing those small wounds the only way it knows how through inflammation. The muscle or joint is completely healed after a few weeks to months of recovery.
What makes prolotherapy work is in how and what is administered. It’s an injection, but the first injection is a local anesthetic like lidocaine to numb the area where the tendon meets the bone. Then a syringe filled with a 5% dextrose, saline solution, and autologous blood is injected a dozen times around the area. Depositing the irritant solution so the body responds through inflammation. In the 48-72 hour window, the area is inflamed and you cannot take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs that will void the procedure. Multiple treatments may be needed in the following months, but after it’s all done your joints or muscles will be back to normal.
Sometimes chronic pain is not caused by muscle or joint damage. It can be caused by damage to the nerves. And many doctors prescribe the same pain management treatments for nerve damage they do for muscle and tendon damage. Opioids and steroids to dull the pain. Prolotherapy can’t deal with nerves the way it deals with deeper tissue pain.
That’s why a new procedure called ‘Neural Prolotherapy’ was developed to heal nerve damage the way prolotherapy helps joints, muscles, and tendons. It is a subcutaneous injection under the skin that promotes the body’s natural healing process to damage nerves.
Difference between Prolotherapy and Neural Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy is used when the main culprit of chronic pain is deeper in the connective tissue close to the bone. It’s used in areas where joints and tendons are: the neck, wrists, knees, shoulder, back, hip, hand, foot, and ankle. The needle used is longer to reach those areas and the dextrose solution is a higher concentration.
Neural prolotherapy is used when damaged nerves are the underlying cause of chronic pain. These nerves when damaged have trouble sending signals to the rest of the body and need a little help. Neural prolotherapy typically uses homeopathic injectables along with a smaller concentration of dextrose around 2.5-3% instead of the 5% used for deeper tissues in prolotherapy. The needle needs to be shorter too, half an inch to make it easier to get just under the skin to where the nerves are.
Patients who suffer from chronic pain need answers to their pain, but they rarely find it. They come to doctors with one thing in mind, stop it from hurting. When doctors prescribe pain medicine or use steroid injections patients accept these treatments because they do stop the pain, but only momentarily.
They are not long-term solutions and the side effects can be dangerous. Pain management is temporary and patients don’t what to manage pain they want to heal so they don’t have to worry about it when steroids or opioids wear off. Prolotherapy and neural prolotherapy gives the body a fighting chance and be able to live a lifetime free of chronic pain.