WHAT PROLOTHERAPY IS
Prolotherapy is a method of injection treatment designed to stimulate healing. Prolotherapy owes its origins to the innovation of Dr. Earl Gedney, an osteopathic physician and surgeon. In the early 1930s, Dr. Gedney caught his thumb in closing surgical suite doors thereby stretching the joint and causing severe pain and instability.
After being told by his colleagues that nothing could be done for his condition and that his surgical career was over, Gedney did his own research and decided to “be his own doctor.” He knew of a group of doctors called “herniologists” that used irritating solutions to stimulate the repair of the distended connective tissue ring in hernias. He extrapolated this knowledge to inject his injured thumb and was able to fully rehabilitate it.
In 1937, Gedney published “The Hypermobile Joint,” the first known article about Prolotherapy (then called “sclerotherapy”) in the medical literature. The 1937 article gave a preliminary protocol and two case reports - one of a patient with knee pain and another with low back pain - with both successfully treated with this method. Gedney followed up this paper with a presentation at the February 1938 meeting of the Osteopathic Clinical Society of Philadelphia which outlined the technique.
The solutions used then (and now) are primarily dextrose-based, although other formulas are used and can be effective. Prolotherapy is practiced by physicians in the U.S. and worldwide, has been shown effective in treating many musculoskeletal conditions - such as tendinopathies, ligament sprains, back and neck pain, tennis/golfers elbow, ankle pain, joint laxity and instability, plantar fasciitis, shoulder, knee pain and other joint pain. It has been endorsed by C. Everett Koop, the former US Surgeon General who was helped by it himself as well as practicing it.
HOW PROLOTHERAPY WORKS
We are taught that inflammation is a bad thing that we should treat and try to lessen, in actuality inflammation is the initial step in the healing process. Prolotherapy works by causing a temporary, low grade inflammation at the injection site, activating fibroblasts to the area, which, in turn, synthesize precursors to mature collagen and thus reinforce connective tissue.
It has been well documented that direct exposure of fibroblasts to growth factors (either endogenous or exogenous) causes new cell growth and collagen deposition. Inflammation creates secondary growth factor elevation. The inflammatory stimulus of Prolotherapy raises the level of growth factors to resume or initiate a new connective tissue repair sequence which had prematurely aborted or never started. Biopsy studies show ligament thickening, enlargement of the tendon-bone junction, and strengthening of the tendon or ligament after Prolotherapy injections.
Prolotherapy is used for musculo-skeletal pain or injury which is either unresolved after eight weeks, or (if earlier) where enhanced healing is desired. Prolotherapy works by raising growth factor levels or effectiveness to promote tissue repair or growth. It can be used years after the initial pain or problem began, as long as the person is healthy. Because Prolotherapy works to repair weak and painful joint areas, it is a long-term solution rather than a temporary measure such as drugs or Cortisone.
WHAT PROLOTHERAPY IS GOOD FOR
Conditions treated include: low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, runners knee, osteoarthritis, tendonitis and tendonosis, knee meniscal tears, rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain, ankle pain, golfers and tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, wrist pain, hip pain, elbow pain, muscular tears and other ligament, tendon or joint pain.
Response to treatment varies from individual to individual. Some people may only need a few treatments while others may need several, with an average number of treatments four to six. The treatments are spaced out between three to six weeks in order to imitate the body's natural healing timeframe.
Insurance companies seem to be more interested in paying for on-going treatment and surgery than in paying for regeneration and regrowth. Prolotherapy treatment is not covered by insurance so we make every effort to keep the treatment as affordable as possible.
The most accurate way to determine costs is to schedule an appointment with Dr Berry to discuss your individual condition and the treatment(s) that will be provided, as this varies greatly patient to patient. Your insurance will pay for the initial visit based on the symptoms you suffer.
The price for treating a joint is $150. Treating the neck is $250; treating the Lower Back is $300. Pricing will depend upon the time, complexity of the condition and number of different areas treated (shoulder, neck, knee, low back, etc . ).
We respectfully request that patients pay in full at the time of service. Our office accepts CareCredit, major credit cards, debit cards, personal checks or cash.
COST OF PROLOTHERAPY vs. SURGERY
While Prolotherapy is a treatment that may not be reimbursed by insurances, it does not mean that it will necessarily cost you more out of pocket than a surgical procedure. For example, a typical knee replacement surgery cost may $45,000 – 70,000 for patients without insurance.
Also, patients with insurance usually have to incur an out of pocket deductible that may be in the thousands. Even Medicare patients are expected to have an average out of pocket expense for knee replacement of around $4,500. Prolotherapy is a very cost affordable and much safer alternative to surgery.
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The Berry Clinic