Treatment of Ligament Laxity
Ligament laxity is an often overlooked but extremely important cause of chronic body pain characterized by loose ligaments. When this condition affects joints in the entire body, it is called generalized joint hypermobility, which occurs in about 5 percent of the population, and may be genetic. Afflicted individuals may improve over time and lose some of their juvenile hyperlaxity as they age. Individuals over age 40 often have recurrent joint problems and almost always suffer from chronic pain. Back patients with ligament laxity in the area of the spine may also experience osteoarthritis and disc degeneration.
How does ligament laxity develop?
While ligament laxity may be genetic and affect an individual from a very early age, it can also be the result of an injury. Injuries, especially those involving the joints, invariably damage ligaments either by stretching them abnormally or even tearing them. If the injured ligament does not heal properly, as is often the case when the traditional sports medicine treatment regime of RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, is applied, it will be loose or lax. Loose or lax ligaments in turn are not capable of supporting joints as effectively as healthy ones, making the affected individual prone to further injury as well as compensation for the weakness using other parts of the body.
In the case of extreme laxity, or hypermobility, affected individuals often have a decreased ability to sense joint position, which can contribute to joint damage. The resulting poor limb positions can lead to the acceleration of degenerative joint conditions. Many hypermobility patients suffer from osteoarthritis, disorders involving nerve compression, chondromalacia patellae, excessive anterior mandibular movement, mitral valve prolapse, uterine prolapse and varicose veins.
What are the symptoms of ligament laxity?
Arthralgia, or symptoms such as frequent sprained ankles, shoulder dislocations, knee effusions and back problems are common among individuals with ligament laxity. Young women often suffer pain with even minor strains. Afflicted individuals are also prone to bone dislocation, and those with a sedentary job often report back pain. In addition, people may experience referred pain, that is, pain in an area of the body away from the injured or otherwise affected site.
Individuals with extremely lax, or hypermobile joints, can be identified by their ability to bend their elbows or knees past a position of neutrality. They can also easily touch their hands flat to the floor while bending forward from the waist. The ability to touch the thumb to the forearm is also common.
The shortcomings with traditional treatments for chronic pain
Traditional medicine continues to search for drugs, devices and surgical procedures to eliminate chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs have become a billion dollar business. While the drugs may provide temporary relief, they do nothing to correct the underlying condition causing the pain. In fact, in the long run, these medications do more damage than good.
Another common pain treatment is a cortisone shot. It’s also one of the quickest ways to lose strength at the ligament-bone (fibro-osseous) junction. Cortisone and other steroid shots have adverse affects on bone, cartilage and soft tissue healing. Unfortunately, many people suffering from chronic pain look for quick relief without thinking about the long-term, potentially harmful side effects that could occur. The problem with cortisone is that, although immediate pain relief is possible, it inhibits nearly every aspect of healing, making the pain condition even worse!
In simple terms, anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone shots are anti-healing. They result in long-term loss of function and even more chronic pain by actually inhibiting the healing process of soft tissues and accelerating cartilage degeneration. Plus, long-term use of these drugs can lead to other sources of chronic pain, allergies, leaky gut syndrome and other serious side effects.
Finally, when all else fails, patients who experience chronic pain, particularly joint and back pain, are referred to a surgeon. Unfortunately, surgery usually makes the problem even worse. Surgeons will use x-ray technology as a diagnostic tool, which does not always properly diagnose the pain source. Plus, decisions to remove cartilage tissue, bone or a disc will most commonly result in arthritis. And so, the treatment of one pain condition simply leads to another.
Prolotherapy is the treatment of choice for Chronic Pain
A better approach, in our opinion, to alleviating chronic pain (forever!) is to stimulate soft tissue, ligament and cartilage repair with Prolotherapy. Most people have chronic pain because of ligament weakness and cartilage deterioration. Here’s what happens:
- A ligament is damaged through overuse or trauma, such as a sports injury or an accident.
- Because of the ligament’s poor blood supply, it does not heal (unlike muscles, which have a good blood supply and heal quite easily).
- Over time, the injured ligament weakens, like a stretched rubberband that has lost its elasticity.
- Since ligaments function as joint stabilizers, the injured ligament is no longer capable of doing its job.
- As a result, the muscles must compensate. They begin to ache and spasm and, eventually, the joint or vertebra in the area begins to compensate as well.
- Overgrowth of bone occurs to help stabilize the injured ligament, which leads to arthritis, and a whole new level of pain and disability.
This downward spiral of pain can be halted and reversed only by stimulating healing at the source—the ligament. The only proven procedure that stimulates this kind of healing is Prolotherapy.
Prolotherapy is the safest and most effective natural medicine treatment for repairing tendon, ligament and cartilage damage. Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair painful areas by inducing a mild inflammatory reaction in the weakened ligaments and cartilage. The inflammation causes the blood supply to dramatically increase in the ligament, alerting the body that healing needs to take place. Prolotherapy offers the most curative results in treating chronic pain. It effectively eliminates pain because it attacks the source: the fibro-osseous junction, an area rich in sensory nerves.