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Prolotherapy: How It Works and The Conditions It Treats

Prolotherapy: How It Works and The Conditions It Treats

The adult body has 206 bones and over 600 muscles, all connected in a vast web of connective tissue known as the musculoskeletal system. Your skeletal framework attaches to ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage to help you move, support your joints, and protect the soft tissue. Musculoskeletal damage or disease can lead to aching, stiffness, muscle twitches, sleeping disturbances, fatigue, and worsening pain.

Several injuries and conditions can cause musculoskeletal pain, and there’s a range of medications, exercises, and treatments to manage it. Prolotherapy is an alternative solution that helps the body heal, and if you’ve never heard of it before, now’s the time to see how it can help your pain. Here’s what prolotherapy is, what it does to help, and what conditions it can treat.

If you live in the Asheville, North Carolina, area and you’re struggling with musculoskeletal pain, Dr. Linda Dula and her experienced team at Invigorate Asheville can help you feel better.

Understanding prolotherapy

Also known as proliferation therapy, this alternative treatment is based on triggering the body’s healing process by introducing an irritant solution by injection. Typically, the treatment uses dextrose, which is chemically identical in the body to glucose, but additives like human growth hormone, zinc, manganese, bone marrow, or platelet-rich plasma can also be used with it. It is often used to treat problems in joints like your knees, hips, and shoulders.

How it helps

Prolotherapy injections use irritants like dextrose that cause your body to respond to what it perceives as a threat and trigger an immune response to eliminate the dextrose and repair the damaged area. 

Current research isn’t exactly clear on how it works, but the working theory is that the injection alters fluid pressure and bursts local cells, triggering a healing response by attracting immune cells and inflammation chemicals to the injected area. This leads to scarring in areas where collagen (a protein important for the structure of your skin) breaks down and dries out the area through irritation.

A typical course of treatment involves six injections spaced a month apart. Ultrasound is a common imaging tool used to determine the best place to make the injections. This method helps to reduce pain with little to no side effects and is complementary to other treatment options.

Conditions it treats

Because this treatment manages musculoskeletal problems, it is used to help with conditions like:

Some people should avoid prolotherapy when dealing with conditions like septic arthritis, cellulitis, abscess, gouty arthritis (gout), and fractures.

Studies show this alternative method to be a safe option for treating musculoskeletal pain. If you’re interested in discovering how prolotherapy can work for you, make an appointment with Dr. Dula and Invigorate Asheville today to enjoy its benefits.

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