Prolotherapy: A New Paradigm for Joint Repair

Stiff joints can be a real pain—reducing your range of motion, limiting your activity, and making you wince with any sudden movement. Pain not only prevents our full enjoyment of physical activities, but it can also contribute to weight gain, obesity, and mental health issues when it restricts our ability to move or exercise. Discover how to naturally treat joint pain, with an impressive new injection therapy, known as Prolotherapy. The good news is, prolotherapy is a natural and effective treatment that works with your body’s natural healing process to strengthen joints that have become weakened by injury or wear n’ tear. Traditional approaches with surgery and anti-inflammatory drugs can fail to stabilize the joint and relieve this pain permanently. Prolotherapy uses the body's natural healing ability to relieve chronic pain, strengthen injured tissues and restore function by repairing the weakened sites and produce new fibrous tissues, resulting in permanent stabilization of the joint. Healthy patients can see significant improvement in symptoms without the need for dangerous medications or surgery.

How does Prolotherapy work?

With a precise injection of a mild irritant solution directly into the site of the torn or stretched ligament or tendon, prolotherapy creates a mild, controlled injury that stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms to lay down new tissue on the weakened area. The mild inflammatory response that is created by the injection encourages growth of new ligament or tendon fibres, resulting in a tightening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments repeat this process, allowing a gradual build-up of tissue to restore the original strength to the area. It may take several injections spaced at 3 to 6 week intervals to achieve an optimal result. Commonly treated areas include:

  • Knees

  • Hips

  • Shoulders

  • Wrist and hands

Prolotherapy may benefit people with:

  • Chronic ligament and tendon injuries, pains, sprains or strains

  • Chronic back pain or neck pain

  • Joint pain caused by osteoarthritis or arthritis

  • Bursitis

  • Weakness and instability that lasts for more than six weeks and is tied to muscle or joint pain

  • Degenerative knee cartilage

  • Frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injuries

  • Chronic elbow tendonosis (tennis elbow)

  • People who take pain-reducing medications frequently (including Advil, aspirin, ibuprofen, oral steroids) but don’t feel their condition is getting better

  • Those who fail to feel better after having corrective surgery

  • People who have tried physical therapy but still experience pain and stiffness

  • Anyone having trouble exercising, sleeping or moving normally without experiencing joint pain and limitations

While many options exist for pain relief, selecting an alternative modality such as prolotherapy can provide long-lasting and safe pain management. Prolotherapy has been shown to help repair tendon injuries, treat chronic joint pain, and regain overall function and movement. Choosing a licensed prolotherapy practitioner may be the key to a pain-free, healthier life. Please consult your health care provider for more information and to determine if prolotherapy is right for you.

Arctium lappa aka great burdock.

I was first introduced to this plant while living in Toronto. No matter where I went, its large broad leaves easily caught my eye. In both Western and Chinese herbalism, burdock has been used as a detoxifying agent to "purify" the blood; also known as an alterative. With that, it is understandable why this herb is beneficial for both liver and skin health. Burdock may also have the added benefit of improving insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial to kickstart spring. Like dandelion, all parts of the plant are used: leaves, flowers, roots and seeds. The root is used extensively in south eastern cuisine.

As a medicinal: see previous post; but additionally the fresh leaves can be made into a #poultice

As a food: its easiest to walk into an authenic Japanese restaurant and ask for a dish that contains "gobo". With all things considered, you can see why I fell in love with this plant to begin with. Burdock is uniquely diverse, not only culturally, but in its use as well!

All Hail Dandelion

Alright folks, its time to talk botanical medicine for a few days in what I am calling a 7 part herbal series. In the world of health and wellness, spring marks the time to detox and cleanse, like spring cleaning.

Let's start with a plant that needs no introduction: dandelion! So quick we are to point to this plant as weed or pest with it commonly sprouting up on our lawns, in garden beds and at the roadside.

Yet, with European roots (no pun intended) this springtonic is a unique and extremely versatile plant; all parts can be used including roots, leaves and flower, each providing their own unique benefits. The roots are typically used for liver and digestive concerns such as poor appetite, indigestion and a fatty liver. The leaves can be used for their diuretic properties in cases of edema. As a whole it makes an awesome post workout electrolyte mix too!

As a medicinal: prepare as an infusion or decoct for a stronger brew. You can also purchase alcohol extractions in different strengths and parts used(root/leaf/whole plant) tincture(1:5) or liquid extracts (1:1). Try any of these for several days during this seasonal transition to get that spring cleaning started.

As a food: fresh dandelion leaves are commonly used in salads and sandwiches (over $3 million/ year industry in the US!). The dried roots can be slow roasted as a coffee substitute. Flowers are used for making wine and other spirits (as recent as a decade ago!).

As you can tell, dandelions have so many health benefiting purposes and are used in so many unique ways. With that, I'll leave you with this:

"The next time you spend an hour removing dandelions from your garden or lawn, turn them into medicine instead of throwing them out, and rejoice in the fact they will always grow back!" - M. Seal.