Q. Can anyone undergo Prolotherapy treatments?
A. Almost anyone can receive Prolotherapy.
Even very elderly patients can benefit. Assuming the condition is one that responds to Prolotherapy, there are very few cases in which a person would not be a suitable candidate. A consultation with an experienced Prolotherapist will easily tell if Prolotherapy is for you.
Q. Is Prolotherapy safe?
A. In the hands of a competent practitioner, Prolotherapy is extremely safe.
Dr. Gustav Hemwall, who practiced Prolotherapy for forty years, treated over 10,000 patients with more than 4 million injections. He reported not one case of paralysis, permanent nerve injury, infection, or death. The most common side effect is muscle stiffness for a few days after the injections. Prolotherapy is much safer than enduring the effects of chronic pain on the body.
Q. How many treatments does it take?
A. Each person's response to Prolotherapy is different.
The average number of treatments needed ranges from one to six. Some people need only one treatment, while others may require as many as ten or twenty. It depends on the individual case.
Q. Does Prolotherapy hurt?
A. A shot is a shot, but I always tell my chronic pain patients that the pain of the injections is nothing compared to what they live with every day. For most patients this is true, and very few of our patients require sedatives or painkillers to undergo the treatment.
Q. What will I feel like after my Prolotherapy treatment?
A. Most people feel fine after their treatment.
They can return to work that same day after the treatment with only a minimal of residual soreness from the injections. It is normal to experience muscle soreness for a few weeks after the treatment. Then there is a "window period" of about two weeks as inflammation subsides but healing of the ligament is not complete. During this period there may be a return of some of the original pain. Starting around four weeks after a treatment, ligament strengthening is occurring. Re-evaluation and treatment is scheduled six weeks apart because it takes about six weeks for most ligaments to heal in most people.
Q. Does everyone get better?
A. As with all forms of treatment, no one can guarantee 100% success; however, a large number of scientific studies have validated the method. Dr. Hackett, originator of the technique, found a 35 to 40% increase in diameter and weight of tendons injected with proliferative solutions compared to control tendons. He also did a study with 656 patients over 19 years. Twelve years after completion of their Prolotherapy treatment, 82% of the patients considered themselves cured.
In 1974, Dr. Gustav Hemwall published the results of his data collection on 2,007 Prolotherapy patients. Of these, 1,871 patients completed treatment, and 1,399 (75.5%) reported complete recovery.
In 1995, Dr. Harold Wilikinson, professor and former chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, presented the results of 349 Prolotherapy treatments for chronic low back pain. Most of the patients were "failed surgery" patients whom no one could help. One treatment totally relieved 29% of the patients, and a total of 76% had significant pain relief with only one treatment. He also studied other areas of the body and found that 43% of people had complete pain relief and 89% had partial pain relief with only one treatment. He stated "a sizable portion of people with unresolved chronic pain had more than a year's pain relief with only one Prolotherapy injection".
© 2006 G. Megan Shields M.D. All Rights Reserved