"A joint is only as strong as its weakest ligament." - George Hackett, M.D.
Do you have neck, back, knee, elbow, or any other musculoskeletal pain? Are you tired of taking pills for it? Are you afraid of surgery for your musculoskeletal pain?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then prolotherapy may be for you!
Dr. Chad Edwards is one of the few physicians in Tulsa, Oklahoma performing prolotherapy and PRP.
Prolotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the body's own healing mechanisms to healed damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage permanently curing these pains!
Ligaments connect bones to other bones and stabilize joints. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Both of these structures are composed primarily of Type 1 collagen which is a very strong protein. In fact, the tensile strength of collagen is stronger than steel!
Additionally, ligaments and tendons are abundantly populated with nerve fibers, specifically, c-fibers. These fibers are responsible for sensing stretching and pressure. They give feeback to the brain so that we can tell where our arms and legs are located.
However, if there is too much stretching (collagen doesn't stretch very much in a healthy state) these fibers transmit exquisite pain.
This is the source of many people's musculoskeletal pain!
The body has a mechanism for healing damaged structures. The collagen mentioned above is primarily produced by fibroblasts. These cells (fibroblasts) are stimulated to produce more collagen through an inflammatory process due to damage. Unfortunately, this process is not perfect.
Additionally, there are several things that we do to ourselves that decrease our healing. We rely on proper nutrition to provide the high-quality building blocks that will produce the inflammatory response and, ultimately, collagen. Improper nutrition can markedly decrease our ability to heal. Vitamin C deficiency is probably one of the best examples of this.
Again, our healing occurs through inflammation. Taking medications such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, meloxicam, Celebrex, naproxyn, etc) and steroids directly interrupt this healing process and should be avoided during tissue healing. I wager that numerous people have had significant long-term pain and joint laxity due to tendon and ligament relaxation directly due to taking these medications after an injury!
Prolotherapy, short for 'proliferant' therapy, stimulates those fibroblasts to produce new collagen which shrinks as it matures and tightens these loose, damaged, and relaxed ligaments/tendons.
I am not aware of any other procedure that is capable of PERMANENTLY repairing these damaged structures.
It is the injection of a 'proliferant' solution into these damaged areas. The damaged areas are determined during a physical exam by a trained prolotherapy physician. This proliferant solution is mildly irritating and stimulates the immune system to heal the damaged structures.
Prolotherapy was first described in the 1930s and has undergone few changes over the years. Most notibly, the solutions used as the proliferant have changed a little. There have been 5 documented cases of paralysis or death due to prolotherapy. All 5 of them occurred in 1957 and used solutions that were very toxic and are no longer used.
The solutions we use today are extremely safe!
There have been no documented cases of adverse outcomes except as would be common with any injection in a given area.
Given the low risk of complications and the potential benefits, prolotherapy is an excellent option that can cure your pain. Only a history and physical exam by a trained prolotherapy physican can determine if prolotherapy is right for you. But then again, what do you have to lose?