What is prolotherapy and PRP? As these naturopathic treatments gain in popularity and their positive impact gains exposure, more people want to know what prolotherapy and PRP are.
What Is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy or proliferative Therapy is a blanket term for an injection technique designed to stimulate the body’s ability to heal a particular area that has been injured, undergone tissue damage or has become chronic. There are a number of different solutions that can be injected but the basic solution is dextrose, a sugar and a type of anesthetic. Dextrose is an irritant and hyperosmotic solution that creates a slight irritation in the tissue. This irritation rekindles the healing cascade by attracting platelets and white blood cells which produce different types of growth factors. This can help heal torn ligaments and tendons, in turn stabilizing joints such as knees, elbows and ankles.
What Is PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)?
Platelet rich plasma or PRP can also be injected as a stand-alone or along with a dextrose injection. Platelets, stem cells and fibroblasts are recruited to the site and as a result provide a more complete healing of the area. Platelets release a multitude of growth factors including:
- Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a potent signaling agent for healing
- TGF-beta, which stimulates the deposition of tissue.
Both of these growth factors have been shown to play a significant role in the repair and regeneration of connective tissues. Other healing-associated growth factors produced by platelets include:
- Basic fibroblast growth factor creates connective tissue
- Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a signal for tissue and protein growth
- Platelet-derived epidermal growth factor (PDEGF) particularly useful for wound healing
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) aides in angiogenesis, the ability to grow vessels and effect micro-circulation in tissue which brings nutrients and blood flow to areas that can be restricted such as ligaments and tendons.
All of these elements are in our blood. To utilize PRP a blood sample is drawn and processed. It is concentrated into a potent mix of these growth factors. It is then injected into the area of concern. Many find relief after the first treatment and others need 3-4 treatments. The success of using PRP can be remarkable. Not only can PRP be used in many degenerative diseases, it can also help in wound healing such as burns, diabetic ulcers and post-ligament reconstruction surgery.
Course of Treatment
Most patients can expect 2-4 treatments. As long as there is marked improvement treatments can continue. Healing can take up to 6 months in some cases. The initial appointment will be an assessment to see if prolotherapy would be an indicated treatment. Any imaging that has been done is always helpful but additional imaging may be ordered by the doctor. Diet and nutrition concerns will be addressed, as this is important in the healing process. If improvement is not seen with the basic dextrose prolotherapy then PRP treatments may be indicated or treatments may start utilizing PRP from the start.
There is little down time after treatment but it is common to experience an increase in pain in the first days after treatment. The patient must avoid all anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDS like Ibuprofen. Painkillers may be given at the time of treatment if needed. Restrict activity for the first day or two after treatment. Call to schedule with Dr. McConnell our naturopathic doctor at Live Well to find out more info and if you might be a candidate for this treatment.
Dr. Michelle McConnell
Our contributing provider to this article on Prolotherapy and PRP is Dr. Michelle McConnell. Dr. McConnell received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology in 2000 from Arizona State University and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014. Dr. McConnnell approaches patient care with value placed on education and treatment through proactive tools that avoid or lessen health risks immediately and in the future. Dr. McConnell joined Warner Family Practice in 2016.
Our contributing provider to this article on Prolotherapy and PRP is Dr. Michelle McConnell. Dr. McConnell received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology in 2000 from Arizona State University and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014. Dr. McConnnell approaches patient care with value placed on education and treatment through proactive tools that avoid or lessen health risks immediately and in the future.
Dr. McConnell joined Warner Family Practice in 2016.
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