Considering Orthopedic Surgery? Read this first!
A safe alternative to Cortisone
Finally, there is a safe and effective alternative to invasive orthopedic surgery and those destructive cortisone shots! If you are struggling with an acute or chronic injury and have been confronted with these two options for treatment, it’s definitely worth looking into Prolotherapy and PRP therapy as a potential alternative.
Both prolo and PRP injections are non-surgical procedures that stimulate the body’s natural healing processes to repair injured or painful joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. Often times, injuries fail to heal because there is an inappropriate healing response evoked by the body and/or there is not enough blood flow to the injured area to deliver the appropriate materials for repair and new cellular proliferation. Regenerative procedures overcome this barrier by recruiting and directing the healing response in the appropriate area and/or delivering growth factors directly to the injured tissue.
The main ingredient in prolotherapy is Dextrose, which stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by causing isolated inflammation in the targeted area of pain or injury. This inflammation creates signals for the body to send healing cells and growth factors directly to the area in need.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is derived from the patient’s own blood. The portion of the blood that is most abundant in platelets is used, as platelets contain and release a large number of growth factors when activated and injected. Once injected, these growth factors recruit and increase the proliferation of new healthy cells.
Regenerative Injections vs Cortisone Injections:
- Regenerative injections repair the injured joint/tendon, while cortisone injections can cause thinning and deterioration of the tissue when done repetitively.
- Corticosteroids help reduce pain by relieving inflammation; however, inflammation is the key element to encourage the body to repair.
- Inflammation is the body’s rallying call to stem cells and other growth factors to mend the targeted area. Without proper inflammation, healing can be blunted.
- Cortisone injections simply mask the pain, increasing the chances of injury that can result because your pain threshold is mismatched to the integrity of the joint/tendon.
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Joint Instability/Pain
- Joint Sprains
- Ligament injuries
- Low Back Pain
- Meniscal Tears
- Muscle tears/ strains
- Patellofemoral syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
What you can expect:
One of the most attractive features of these procedures is the relatively short downtime! Each procedure and individual has a slightly different response; however, for the most part, you can expect to experience slight soreness the following 3-7 days after the procedure. During this time, it is extremely important that you not stress the injured area with overuse or exercise, as this is a critical time for proper healing. After the soreness subsides, you may be able to immediately feel increased stability and pain reduction and are encouraged to resume normal activity.
Number of Treatments:
Again, each individual’s injury and response is different. Some patients will receive relief after the first treatment; however, in general, the expected results are listed below for complete recovery.
- Prolotherapy: Average of 3-4; however, some will require 6-12
- PRP: Average 2-3; however, some will require 4-6
My personal experience:
I started practicing PRP and prolotherapy after experiencing the healing effects with my own chronic Achilles tendon injury from running. Micro-tears throughout my entire tendon not only put a complete stop to my running career, but it even caused pain during day-to-day walking. Despite 4 years of intensive physical therapy and discontinuation of running, my injury still remained and my calf was atrophying due to lack of proper engagement. This all changed after 3 rounds of PRP, and I’m now back to engaging in regular physical activity and have the ability to go on runs when I please!
Written by: Dr. Ari Kasprowicz-Calhoun, ND
North County Natural Medicine (760) 385-8683