Is Prolo Therapy the Surgery Alternative You Have Been Looking For?Sep 28, 2023
Francisco came to me today with a story that left me feeling equal parts devastated and fired up.
He was bounced around and abused so much by the “healthcare” system that he completely walked away from the system 1 week before his scheduled surgery FOUR years ago and never went back.
Because he is living with a torn rotator cuff (which will never heal on its own without assistance) he needs 5 pillows to prop him up at night just to give him enough relief to fall asleep…and if he moves at all in his sleep, he awakes with burning pain and has to start the process all over again.
Four years ago he went to a doctor for an injury to his elbow, was prescribed PT and pain killers, and sent on his way.
In PT he was assigned exercise that led to bilateral rotator cuff injuries that eventually led him to the scheduled surgery.
At his pre-op visit, he was told the recovery time would be 1 year, which he couldn't afford to take off work, so he left and never went back.
Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon story.
Thankfully, Francisco's sister saw my Instagram post about how I used prolotherapy to help heal my dad’s shoulder from the same injury and encouraged him to give me a call!
Typically when you go to the doctor with musculoskeletal pain, you're going to get offered some combination of drugs, cortisone shots, surgery, and/or physical therapy.
Now, I'm personally a huge fan of Physical Therapy to improve muscle imbalance and stability, but never without also discussing the WHY and preparing the body for healing simultaneously.
For the body to heal, the conditions for health have to be established first.
Don't get me wrong, drugs are great for some temporary relief in a pinch, but because they work by shutting off the inflammatory cascade, the body has no way to heal the damaged tissues.
Similarly, cortisone is designed to shut off all inflammation in the area it is injected, and since inflammation generally causes the pain, they do provide temporary relief.
Unfortunately, it also accelerates the damage to the area, essentially breaking down the soft tissue and preventing any healing from happening.
When the cortisone shot wears off, you're left with more pain and damage than you started with.
This process is then repeated until surgery is the only option left.
Ever wondered why you can only get 3 cortisone shots in one area? Now you know.
This leaves us with our final conventional tool, surgery.
Surgery is a life-saving option in some cases, but more often it's just a huge pain with no gain.
It's extremely expensive, very painful, and requires a lengthy recovery period usually involving months (if not years) of drugs and PT before you see any sort of improvement in pain and mobility.
This is exactly why Francisco (and many others like him) choose to live in pain over proceeding with surgery!
Clinically, I find that wear and tear injuries like knee replacements and back fusions usually result in very little if any overall improvement in quality of life. So why bother?
Thankfully, there is a 4th option your doctor didn't tell you about, which is the point of this blog.
Prolotherapy, short for "proliferative therapy," has gained attention in recent years for its ability to provide relief of chronic pain and induce rapid healing of musculoskeletal injuries.
This treatment involves the injection of a pro-inflammatory solution into damaged or weakened connective tissues, to stimulate the body's natural healing processes.
The secret to prolotherapy is that it works by drawing nutrients and signaling factors to areas that normally have low blood flow and low cell turnover rates and therefore do not have the natural ability to heal rapidly on their own.
Using this PRO-inflammatory procedure, I was able to help my 72-year-old dad recover from an injury identical to Francisco’s for 4 months.
Remember the typical surgery recovery period averages 12 months for this injury!
By stimulating inflammation, we stimulate the healing response, allowing tissues to regenerate naturally, eliminating pain and oftentimes negating the need for surgery.
The best part is that the healing starts immediately, so even though my dad needed 4 injections over 4 months to see full resolution, his pain began improving and he began to regain the use of his arm after the first treatment.
This may sound like a painful procedure being that it stimulates inflammation, but the beauty is that the dextrose solution used in basic polo-treatments has a natural pain relieving effect.
In my clinical experience, most people feel very little pain, if any, during the procedure and usually leave my office reporting an improvement in pain level.
There is a catch though, because this won't work for everyone.
To get a long-lasting and positive response you must first correct the cause of the “wear and tear” and second prime the body to heal. Note that if the damage is due to a recent injury, this process will look slightly different.
In Francisco’s case, we are currently in the process of minimizing systemic inflammation through diet modifications so that when we begin the injections we know they will do what they are supposed to do!
If we simply jump into treatment without removing the cause, we set the body up for temporary relief at best.
But if we can minimize systemic inflammation, we can speed up the healing process and avoid the same damage and pain returning in the near or distant future.
So what does it take to prime the body?
To heal, you must have a nutrient-dense diet and low overall inflammation.
For my dad, this meant eating more protein, cutting back on his nightly whiskey, and working through a few stressors he had been avoiding.
For Francisco, this means eating more protein and cutting back on sugar intake, while also improving the quality of sleep.
For most people, it's a combination of diet, sleep, and stress modifications that are far easier to implement than a post-surgery routine of medications, physical therapy, and doctor's visits.
And if you don't resonate with my 72yo dad or Francisco, here are a few celebrities who have benefited from prolotherapy in other ways:
1. Harrison Ford: The iconic actor reportedly underwent prolotherapy treatments to address chronic back pain, which he had been suffering from for years. He credited prolotherapy with allowing him to continue performing physically demanding roles.
2. Kobe Bryant: The late NBA legend Kobe Bryant was known to have used prolotherapy to manage his joint and muscle injuries, which helped him extend his career in professional basketball.
3. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson: (The Mountain from Game of Thrones): The strongman and actor, famous for his role as "The Mountain," has publicly shared his positive experiences with prolotherapy for injuries sustained during his strongman career.
On another note, one of my teachers used to be the trainer for the Seattle Mariners and regularly used all forms of naturopathic medicine, including prolotherapy to keep the team in top shape.
The only question left to ask is, if the pros are using it, why aren't you!?
If you’re ready to ditch your pain and regain your strength and mobility, naturally, I'd love to chat.
Book a free consultation to see if this is right for you!
APPLY FOR CARE
At Earth Naturopathic, our goal is to empower you to take control of your healthcare by building a foundation of wellness.
APPLY FOR CARE TO GET A PERSONALIZED WELLNESS PLAN
All services & content provided by Earth Naturopathic are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, and/or cure any disease and/or condition. Please consult your primary care physician prior to starting a wellness program. For concerns, questions, or press inquiry please contact us at [email protected] hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.