Dr. Crist has many years of experience performing prolotherapy, to relieve patients of pain symptoms. This is a highly effective treatment for eligible patients and once pain is eliminated due to prolotherapy, it does not reoccur in most cases.
The word prolotherapy is derived from proliferant and therapy. Proliferation occurs in the cells of tendons and ligaments. The looseness or laxity of ligaments and tendons may cause pain. Proliferation of the cells within tendons and ligaments makes them tighter, bigger and stronger. The tightening of ligaments and tendons through proliferation eliminates pain in about 80% of cases. Tendons are what muscles taper down into at the end of each muscle, while ligaments are tough fibrous tissues that hold bones and joints together.
Dextrose (sugar) is the proliferant used in most cases. A concentration of dextrose causes an inflammatory reaction in the tendons and ligaments. This is good (healing) inflammation, not bad inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation results in the proliferation of the cells. As the body heals the inflammation, the ligaments and tendons tighten. Getting rid of the looseness within tendons and ligaments starts the pain resolution process. Tightening usually involves more than one treatment. Average prolotherapy patients need a series of four treatments.
Healing the inflammatory response caused by dextrose takes time. Six weeks or more are allowed between injections at the same site. Injection of the dextrose is done where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bone. Discomfort due to the injection varies from patient to patient. Most patients are not premedicated. Some may opt for premedication. In those cases, the medicine is taken an hour or two before the prolotherapy so the injections are more comfortable. About 80% of those with chronic pain respond to prolotherapy. The number one thing patients tell Dr. Crist is that prolotherapy was not as bad as they expected.