Prolotherapy is one of the most commonly used regenerative medicine injection therapies that Dr. Nelson uses to treat sports-related injures and chronic conditions like arthritis.
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Who is Prolotherapy for?
If you are suffering from any type of chronic pain or sports injury prolotherapy could be a treatment option for you.
Dr. Erik Nelson loves saying that you can basically treat any ligament, tendon, or joint that you can think of that is causing you pain. Some examples are:
- Sports injuries
- Sprains & ligament injuries
- Rotator cuff tears
- Golfer’s or Tennis elbow
- Back pain and sciatica
- Neck injures like whiplash
- Foot problems like plantar fasciitis
- Carpal tunnel
- Degenerative disc disease
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
“Is prolotherapy right for me?”
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How does Prolotherapy work?
The treatment involves a hyperosmotic solution which essentially stimulates local immune cells in the area to respond as if there is an inflammatory reaction. It causes the immune cells to come in and eat up old scar tissue or old fibrotic tissue that’s causing your pain and dysfunction and stimulate new healthy tissue to form.
The reason why it falls under the umbrella of regenerative medicine is that it’s a stimulus to boost or bump up the regenerative processes in the body and to slow down or dampen the degenerative processes in the body. It basically pushes your body into laying down new, healthy regenerative tissue and then trying to limit some of that degenerative process that’s naturally occurring as we age.
…I am happy to say it’s now four weeks later and my knee is much better
“(Dr. Nelson) was honest with me about various treatment options for my knee, their cost and chances of making a difference… I tried prolotherapy injections, and yes, they helped […] I am happy to say it’s now four weeks later and my knee is much better, even though he said it would take about eight weeks to achieve the optimal effect. If this means I can expect more improvement, I’m all for it! I’ve spent my adult life being active and teaching yoga and qi gong, so having a “bum” knee wasn’t something I ever thought would happen to me.
I would tell anybody considering finding a naturopath that Dr. Erik Nelson should be their first choice. He was my first choice once I walked in the door, and I’m grateful to him for his help. I wish he were staying in Arizona. I’m happy to recommend him to anybody looking for a competent and caring physician.”
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Why see a naturopath for prolotherapy instead of an MD?
At our clinic in Calgary, Dr. Nelson utilizes a holistic view of your health. He’s always working with your body, not against it. Your not just going to get a shot in the knee and be sent home.
Dr. Nelson works with you to create a custom protocol that factors in everything that could be contributing to your pain so that you heal right the first time. Your personal healing plan might also include optimizing your:
- Sleep & Circadian Rhythms
- Diet and Nutrition
- Supplements to help support your healing
When will I see results?
It depends on each person. Usually, two to four injections are the average, if you are a relatively healthy person.
Older patients or someone dealing with other health problems that will impair their ability to heal such as diabetes, typically need a few more injections.
What to expect from your appointments?
At your first appointment, Dr. Nelson will take his time to give you a physical exam and talk to you about what you’ve tried in the past to solve your chronic pain. He’ll also order any labs or imaging he’ll need before your first prolotherapy treatment.
At your second appointment, Dr. Nelson will go over any results from the testing he ordered with you and then give your first prolotherapy injection. He will also go over your therapeutic exercise program with you and any other health recommendations he has to support your healing like supplements and nutrition.
After your 1st injection, you will continue to come back and see Dr. Nelson every 2-3 weeks until you’ve healed.
Your final appointment with Dr. Nelson will give you a long-term plan so that you can maintain the results you’ve gotten so that you can continue to progress and return enjoying your life without pain or discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
That’s very much the goal. Prolotherapy in the case of arthritis is a great example of this.
Once arthritis pain gets really bad, the treatment typically recommended is a total replacement, a joint replacement or a total knee arthroplasty, for example. These replacements have a pretty good history and a pretty good prognosis to them. They do a good job of reducing pain and dysfunction.
However, there’s a time limit to how long they’re effective. That’s because the hardware that is put into somebody’s body eventually will break down after 15 to 20 years.
When this happens revision surgery is done and they are not fun. They don’t typically go as well as the first surgery. And usually, the patients are quite a bit older than they were on the first surgery. So they’re not capable of handling as much stress as the original surgery.
That’s where prolotherapy comes in. If you can delay or postpone getting that first surgery until the point where you’re going to live the rest of your life with the original hardware and never have to get a revision you will maintain your active quality of life for as long as you possibly can.
Platelet-rich plasma, which is PRP therapy is a treatment where you take blood out of somebody’s vein, spin it down and take the platelets and inject it into somebody’s injured tissue.
PRP is a little bit more invasive than prolotherapy. It’s actually quite a strong signal for healing but it requires that your blood is healthy. So if you are struggling with other health problems, those platelets are not gonna be doing what we think they’re gonna be doing or what we want them to do.
Prolotherapy doesn’t rely on your platelets as much. Yes, it will stimulate platelets in the area. But typically prolotherapy is just dextrose, anesthetic, some B vitamins that are injected into an area. It’s gonna have a similar response in everybody.
Prolotherapy is a treatment that can basically restart a healing mechanism. Unlike pain killers or cortisone shots, prolotherapy resolves your pain instead of numbing it.
Cortisone is used to calm the immune system down. So if you inject it into an inflamed swollen joint, cortisone will usually calm down that inflammation, and all those signals that are being sent to your brain saying, “Hey, this is painful, don’t walk on it,” for example.
The downside to cortisone is that it simply blocks normal healing mechanisms And using it long-term can cause other problems. It can sometimes cause people to forget that they are still injured and they think they can go run on it for example. That can cause more damage than if they didn’t get any injection in the first place.
The exact opposite is true with prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection. It’s a regenerative procedure and it’s working with the body. It’s not trying to calm the body down or completely blunt the body’s response. It’s responding with the body and telling it, “Hey we didn’t heal right the first time, come back in, do your thing.” And then you can feel safe going back to your favourite activities.
No, prolotherapy is not covered by Alberta Health Services (AHS). It can be covered by some insurance.
Just like any injection, it can be a little bit painful. Usually just poking the needle through the skin, typically is the most pain and discomfort that someone will experience.
There is a little bit of soreness and discomfort that you can expect for one to three days after the injection. That’s because you’re trying to stimulate an immune response that involves inflammation. So it’s normal to a little bit sore after that injection.
It depends on you.
Every person is different so every treatment plan will be different. Meaning the cost will be based off what Dr. Nelson thinks your treatment will be.
Put an End to Chronic Pain
Book an assessment with Dr. Nelson to find out if prolotherapy can put an end to your chronic pain and get you back to moving better.
- Myths and Facts of In-Office Regenerative Procedures for Tendinopathy
- Past, Current and Future Interventional Orthobiologics Techniques and How They Relate to Regenerative Rehabilitation
Prolotherapy Effects on:
- Dextrose prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis
- Efficacy of Intra-Articular Hypertonic Dextrose(Prolotherapy) for Knee Osteoarthritis
- Hypertonic dextrose injections (prolotherapy) in the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis:
- Chondrogenic Effect of Intra‐articular Hypertonic‐Dextrose (Prolotherapy) in Severe Knee Osteoarthritis
Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
- Effectiveness of prolotherapy in the treatment of chronic rotator cuff lesions
- Effects of hypertonic dextrose injection in chronic supraspinatus tendinopathy of the shoulder
- Dextrose Prolotherapy Versus Control Injections in Painful Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
- The efficacy of dextrose prolotherapy over placebo for temporomandibular joint hypermobility
- Long-term therapeutic effects of dextrose prolotherapy in patients with hypermobility of the temporomandibular joint
- Evaluation of prolotherapy in comparison with occlusal splints in treating internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint
Tennis Elbow (Lateral epicondylitis)
- Prolotherapy injections and physiotherapy used singly and in combination for lateral epicondylalgia
- Hypertonic dextrose and morrhuate sodium injections (prolotherapy) for lateral epicondylosis (tennis elbow)
Acromioclavicular Joint and Acromial Enthesopathy
- Prolotherapy injections and eccentric loading exercises for painful Achilles tendinosis
- Prolotherapy injections and eccentric loading exercises for painful Achilles tendinosis
- Sonographically guided intratendinous injection of hyperosmolar dextrose to treat chronic tendinosis of the Achilles tendon
Chronic Groin Pain (Adductor Tendinopathy and Osteitis Pubis)
- Effect of Dextrose Prolotherapy on Pain Intensity, Disability, and Plantar Fascia Thickness in Unilateral Plantar Fasciitis
- Autologous platelet-rich plasma versus dextrose prolotherapy for the treatment of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis
Secondary Osteoarthritis of the Hip due to Developmental Dysplasia of Hip (DDP)
- Treatment of Osteoarthritis Secondary to Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip with Prolotherapy Injection versus a Supervised Progressive Exercise Control
Osteoarthritic Thumb, Fingers
- Randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled double-blind study of dextrose prolotherapy for osteoarthritic thumb and finger (DIP, PIP, and trapeziometacarpal) joints: evidence of clinical efficacy
- Hypertonic dextrose versus corticosteroid local injection for the treatment of osteoarthritis in the first carpometacarpal joint