What are regenerative medicine and regenerative injections?
Regenerative medicine is the holy grail of medicinal research. In theory, if we can learn how to stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms, then it is possible to accelerate the healing of damaged tissues. The potential application of such a treatment is wide, from treating acute injuries such as ligament tears to long-term degenerative damage.
Using prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma, and prolozone injections, we focus on stimulating the body’s inflammatory response. When the tissues in our body are injured, they become inflamed. We experience the inflammation as pain, heat, redness, swelling or loss of function. This is caused by the rush of extra-cellular fluids to the area. These fluids are protein-rich and carry all of the necessary components for the body to fight infection and repair damage.
Some structures of the body receive less blood flow than others (ligaments, tendons and cartilage are all examples). When these types of tissues are damaged, healing can be excruciatingly slow or never fully complete. If this continues long enough, a patient may begin to experience chronic pain. Regenerative injections seek to address the underlying cause of chronic pain by bio-hacking the body’s inflammatory response and directing it where there is existing damage or weakness.
Prolotherapy uses dextrose, a naturally occurring form of the blood sugar glucose, to encourage this targeted inflammatory response. The injection solution also contains anesthetic to help with any discomfort during treatment. Patients typically report some level of post-treatment soreness after the anesthetic wears off.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) uses the platelets spun from the patient’s own blood instead of dextrose as the inflammatory agent. The concentrated blood platelets found in this preparation are far above baseline and act as not only an inflammatory agent (like dextrose) but also a source of additional nutrients for fibroblasts to use as healing building blocks. This solution also contains anesthetic to assist with any discomfort.
Prolozone therapy takes a slightly different approach. Instead of injecting an inflammatory substance, prolozone floods the tissue with medical grade O3, or ozone. This substance helps nourish degenerated tissues and stimulates the body’s immune response to encourage healing. Prolozone is a great option for treating acute injuries or areas of the body where there is advanced degeneration of tissues.
For more information (including case studies) about treating musculoskeletal pain with regenerative injection therapy (RIT), please visit the Naturopathic Doctor News and Review for an article written by Dr. JoAnna Forwell.