Prolotherapy for Arthritis
7: Soft tissue injury leads to degenerative arthritis,
Prolotherapy halts the process.
Soft tissue injuries to the joints often start the development of degenerative joint conditions. Injury to the ligaments and stabilizing structures of the joint is often the original site of injury. When the ligaments are stretched and weakened, the other structures in the joint, like the meniscus, sustain added pressure. Eventually these structures become fatigued and the cartilage begins to deteriorate. Prolotherapy can stop the degenerative process and eliminate the pain. (See Figure 7.) Because Prolotherapy gets at the root cause of the arthritic process it has been used successfully to treat a myriad of common degenerative conditions.
(See Figure 8.)
8: Regeneration occurs in all joints of the body.
Arthritis and steroid injections: Dr. Hauser published a wonderful scientific paper in the Journal of Prolotherapy called "The Deterioration of Articular Cartilage in Osteoarthritis by Corticosteroid Injections." This article identifies that osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of pain and disability, as well as cost, to patients, as well as the healthcare system. By the year 2030, it is predicted that more than 67 million Americans will have arthritis. Factors affecting development of arthritis include sex (women after menopause especially), low hormone levels, nutritional factors, obesity, heredity, knee injury, quadriceps strength, ligament laxity, and joint injury. These factors are all addressed in our office when a patient with arthritis comes in for a new patient visit. "Quick fix" treatments such as NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, etc) or cortisone shots do not treat the underlying cause of the problem, just mask the pain and actually accelerate the degenerative process.
The hallmark feature of osteoarthritis is the breakdown in the articular cartilage of joints such as the knee and hip. Both animal and human research has consistently shown that corticosteroid injections into normal and degenerated knees accelerate the arthritic process.
When researchers microscopically and radiologically examine human joints after corticosteroid injections, the same results are found in humans as in animals. Intraarticular corticosteroid injections accelerate the osteoarthritic degenerative process. Because of this possibility, organizations such as the American College of Rheumatology acknowledge, "It is generally recommended, although not well supported by published data, that injection of corticosteroids in a given joint not be performed more than three to four times in a given year because of concern about the possible development of progressive cartilage damage through repeated injection in the weight-bearing joints." It is our opinion that there is no doubt that the rise of osteoarthritis, as well as the number of hip and knee replacements, is a direct result of the injection of corticosteroids into these joints. Excerpted from Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;2:107-123.
Stop the degenerative process that leads to arthritis: This is the bottom line. Prolotherapy can stop the underlying cause (ligament laxity) that leads to arthritis formation. If you don't treat it, then your arthritis will continue to progress. If you would like to address the genesis of the problem, potentially avoiding surgery and a lifetime of pain medications, and be active again, we would love to help you realize these goals. Please contact us for an appointment.