Prolotherapy is a method of treatment for painful orthopedic conditions. It involves the injection of affected ligaments at their attachments to the bone as well the area of trauma, and around joints when appropriate. These therapeutic injections have been used in human medicine in our country since the mid 1950’s. The main goal of the therapy is to strengthen connective tissues and help aid in support where ligaments are weak or loose. It is considered an alternative therapy though it fits in very well with accepted Western medical treatments.
When connective tissue is injured, very often the healing to that area is incomplete. These tissues do not tend to have a large blood supply and though they are given diagnoses which may indicate inflammation (i.e.”itis” ), the tissues so often go into a more chronic pattern of partial healing and the acute inflammatory process is either cut short through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or through the process of exhaustion of cells that lay down new connective tissue in the area of the injury.
Strengthening connective tissue, is achieved through using a “cocktail” of certain injectable compounds which cause a strong inflammatory response, have pain blocking effects, and help manipulate the cell membrane to stimulate healing effects. The inflammatory response we get from such an injection can activate new cells (fibrobolasts) down to the stem cell level. This results in the body producing more normal and stronger connective tissue in an injury versus an area that has healed through scarring. Scarred tissue is often weaker, allows more excessive movement and often results in local pain and activation of other pain pathways through reflexes with the brain.
In veterinary medicine, prolotherapy is considered quite appropriate for many conditions. It can help with the pain associated with chronic hip dysplasia, anterior cruciate ligament strain (in the knee), back pain, chronic sprains, tendon lacerations and more. In some situations, it may be more appropriate than major surgery. Though a pet may experience a few days of increased pain after the injections, the overall healing curve is usually fantastic given the animal is rested allowing the repairing connective tissue to fully heal. In addition to the prolo injections which come in a series tailored to each pet, nutritional support through diet change, supplements, herbals, homeopathic remedies and osteopathic methods of manipulation are helpful to address underlying weaknesses that may have led to the injury.
If your pet is injured or shows evidence of aching joints, come see us! We would love to help!