Therapy Spotlight: Prolotherapy Treats Joint Instability
by Ross A. Hauser
Individuals suffering joint instability deal with chronic pain due to increased motion between two adjacent bones. The excessive tension on the supporting structures impacts nerve endings, which should not be stretched within these structures, and is the root cause of the chronic pain.
Frequently, the injury or weakness is in the joint where the ligaments and bones connect. When the connections are not tight, the bones move too much. Ligament damage from auto accidents, exercise, and routine twisting and bending can injure, tear and weaken ligaments, allowing adjacent bones to move excessively. To limit this motion, the body will swell the joint, cause muscle spasms around the joint or over the long term, form bone spurs. Cortisone shots to limit swelling, massage to relax muscles and surgery to remove bone spurs generally only result in the temporary alleviation of chronic pain because they fail to address the root cause—joint instability.
Digital Motion X-ray (DMX)
While stationary X-rays and MRIs rarely show joint instability from a ligament injury, the condition can be seen using DMX while an individual is moving or while there is pressure on the joint. MRI and DMX are complementary, as the MRI is designed to show disc problems well, just as DMX is designed to show other soft tissue injuries.
DMX Video of Bone Movement
Once in position for a DMX, an individual puts the neck, spine or peripheral joint through a series of motions while the DMX is videotaping the bone movement. DMX is similar to a movie camera and takes 30 individual X-ray frames per second to create the motion X-ray. The successive X-rays are digitized and sequenced to create a video representation of the movement of the bones.
Sometimes, additional views are done where the joint is put under stress by the individual holding a weight, doing a specific exercise or by the radiology technician or physician putting passive pressure in a certain direction to help document the instability. Scan results are immediate, and a comprehensive analysis of what was found during the scan provides a healthcare team with the information to make informed decisions about diagnosis and future medical care.
Prolotherapy, a regenerative injection treatment used to repair incomplete healing of the ligament and tendons, is the only treatment that addresses joint instability in a non-surgical manner, offering long-term pain relief. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) prolotherapy involves concentrating platelets/growth factors found in the blood and injecting them directly into the joint.
Ross A. Hauser, M.D., is a prolotherapy doctor at Caring Medical Regenerative Medicine Clinic, located at 9738 Commerce Center Ct., in Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-308-4701 or visit CaringMedical.com.