How Our Bodies Work
When you sprain a ligament (which stabilize and align joints) or strain a tendon (which connect muscle across a joint, moving the joint) the body initiates an acute reaction that stimulates the healing response allowing the injured tissue to heal properly. The majority of the remodeling and repair of the injured tissue takes place in the first six weeks. Repair is directed by your own DNA, this allows your body to repair and strengthen the injured ligament or tendon with new connective tissue.
In contrast to an acute sprain or strain there are injuries to joints commonly known as “degenerative joint disease” or “osteoarthritis” which occur over years to decades. This typically occurs in joints that bear weight, think knees and spine. As the cartilage padding inside the joint wears down there is less shock absorption and the ligaments that stabilize the joint typically become loose as well.
When the body is working correctly and an acute injury is repaired the connective soft tissues and joint return their normal, healthy state. Problems occur when the healing process slows down or stops and the tissues have not been completely repaired. The end result is pain that does not go away even after proper care of the acutely injured tissue. These injuries then become chronic sprains and strains which cause unstable joints that hurt.
Regenerative Injection Therapies
Regenerative Injection Therapies (RIT) stimulates your bodies own instinct to heal painful injuries of joints, tendons and ligaments. Injecting solutions at the sites of sprains, strains or degeneration the body senses that a new injury has occurred and does what it knows how to do, heal itself! The injured tissues are then repaired with the same process as during an acute injury: DNA directs the body to produce healthy new connective tissue.
There are several types of RIT. Prolotherapy uses a solution of dextrose and anesthetic to initiate the healing cascade. With Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) a patient’s own blood is drawn and then processed to multiply the concentration of platelets which are the main directors of healing process. The PRP is then injected into the injured tissues.
I was experiencing knee pain due to a tear in my meniscus. Discussions with a surgeon proved to be discouraging and although I greatly appreciated his honesty, I felt there was less to be gained and more to be lost. The surgeon indicated that surgery may not help the pain and warned that arthritis could set it. I was feeling frustrated with my lack of mobility and limitations and frustrated with the options that were presented to me. I was quite limited with physical activities I could participate in. Biking, any kind of weight lifting, hiking, running, rowing all hurt. For the first time in my life I felt old!
Fortunately, I am lucky to know Dr. Stephenson and as we chatted about my knee pain it just seemed to make sense to give prolotherapy a try. He evaluated me and felt I would likely see results with a few prolotherapy treatments. I was glad that he set the expectation that, although I would see results, they would not be instantaneous. I am thrilled to be able to write that after three treatments I have full mobility in my knee, I am pain-free and regaining leg strength. I can squat, run, and do everything I did before. The temporary discomfort (I really didn’t mind the treatment at all) is well worth the results that are obtained with prolotherapy. I am a happy patient and feel like an athlete once again.