About Prolotherapy offers the following resources for those wanting to explore prolotherapy further...
Questions & Answers
Do I need Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair painful, injured, or weakened areas of the body. Prolotherapy can therefore be used to strengthen and heal not only localized pain and recent injuries, but is also a very effective treatment for chronic debilitating pain. Prolotherapy starts the growth of new healthy, strong tissue. Your body–your own immune system–grows the tissue.
The ideal Prolotherapy candidate has the following:
- Pain originating from a ligament, tendon, joint, muscle as determined by the Prolotherapy doctor
- Ability to heal including a strong immune system, healthy diet, good hormone levels
- Willingness to improve
- Positive mental outlook
- Ability to move and/or exercise
Do the injections hurt?
Injections that pierce through the skin are obviously going to produce some pain. So, yes, Prolotherapy injections hurt. Every person comes with their own perceptions and ideas about pain. Some people can receive many injections and not move a muscle, where others feel pain just by looking at a needle! Most Prolotherapy patients say that the pain from the Prolotherapy injections does not compare to the pain the chronic pain patient experiences every day.
In order to help those who find Prolotherapy injections difficult to bear, Prolotherapy doctors will provide conscious sedation or oral medications such as Tylenol with codeine or Vicodin to be taken prior to receiving Prolotherapy treatments. Other Prolotherapy physicians, may use a device called a Madajet which sprays an anesthetic such as Lidocaine into the skin to deaden the pain when the needle pierces the skin, while others will apply a numbing cream to the skin.
How many treatments are needed?
The number of treatments needed to achieve complete healing varies with each patient. Many patients report at least partial, and occasionally complete relief of pain after only one session. The average person requires 3 to 6 treatment sessions given at 4 to 6 week intervals. Patients should also do everything that they can to heal, including eating a healthy diet, taking nutritional supplements, getting enough sleep, not smoking, exercising, and keeping stress at a minimum.
How many injections are given at each treatment?
Most people do not want to receive a lot of injections. Injections hurt. However, if you want to achieve a curative result with Prolotherapy, your Prolotherapy doctor must take a comprehensive approach and give you alot of injections. Every area of your body must be treated that is causing pain. Thus, Comprehensive Prolotherapy involves
- Injecting all of the injured structures (IE not just the joint, but also the surrounding support structures)
- Using a strong enough proliferant (Prolotherapy solution)
If you go to a Prolotherapy doctor who only give you two or three shots, it is highly likely you will not get better. Most people understand conceptually that if you injure a structure in a joint that over time that injury will affect all the structures of the joint. Most patients come to see a Prolotherapy doctor after having pain for at least several years. What may have started out as a simple ligament sprain, after 3-6 years is now a total joint problem. All the structures of the joint and around the joint (or at least the majority of them) must be treated with Prolotherapy to completely alleviate the pain.
Some Prolotherapy doctors only provide 1-3 injections. Often patients who receive this type of Prolotherapy will eventually seek out a doctor who provides Comprehensive Prolotherapy. While in the most technical sense, the patient did receive Prolotherapy, it may not be effective. To be effective, the Prolotherapy doctor must do the following:
- Stimulate all the structures that are injured to heal.
- Use enough solution per structure to induce a sufficient healing reaction.
- Use a strong enough solution per structure to induce a sufficient healing reaction.
- Help the person obtain maximum health if their health is not good.
- Assist the person in getting off medications, supplements, or traditional hormones (like birth control pills) that inhibit healing.
Are all Prolotherapy doctors the same?
No. Not all Prolotherapy doctors are the same. Techniques, solutions, and experience vary from practitioner to practitioner. The key factor in choosing a good Prolotherapy doctor is whether or not they are an expert, specializing in Prolotherapy, as well as offer a variety of Prolotherapy solutions and give enough injections to strengthen the whole joint.
Does insurance cover Prolotherapy?
Insurance coverage of Prolotherapy varies among insurance carriers. Medicare does not cover Prolotherapy, therefore, unfortunately a number of insurance carriers will also decide not to cover Prolotherapy. Some insurance carriers will provide at least partial coverage. Most Prolotherapy offices are considered out-of-network providers, so insurance carriers reimburse at the out-of-network rates. When evaluating whether to pursue Prolotherapy for your pain or injury, please realize that it is often less expensive to pay out-of-pocket for Prolotherapy, compared to paying co-pays (sometimes upwards of 30-50%) of very expensive surgeries, hospitalizations, and resultant rehabilitation.
Do I need an MRI or x-ray to be treated?
Most experienced Prolotherapy doctors do not need to see an x-ray or MRI to determine the source of your pain. The problem with these tests is that they often to not reveal the problem. They produce a lot of false positive results. IE documented findings are not the cause of the pain. A good Prolotherapy doctor will be able to determine the source of your pain from listening carefully to your history in combination with a good physical examination where he/she can reproduce the pain with his/her thumb (pressing on painful areas). The Prolotherapy physician’s experience will also lead him/her in making the correct diagnosis. Experienced Prolotherapy doctors have seen a wide array of painful conditions and sports injuries, so they can often determine the source of the problem very quickly.
Can I exercise while receiving Prolotherapy?
Every Prolotherapy doctor approaches exercise differently. If you see a doctor who is an avid exerciser him/herself, most likely this aspect of your care will be addressed in great detail. The beauty of Prolotherapy is that typically you CAN continue to exercise while recovering from your injury and receiving Prolotherapy. Sometimes your exercise regime may need to be adjusted and cross-training exercises may be prescribed.