“Much of what we do in the practice of medicine has to do with reducing inflammation, especially when we are treating arthritis, or relieving pain,” says Dr. Mark Kandutsch of Cadillac Family Practice. “So it is somewhat ironic that one of the more effective treatments, called prolotherapy, actually relies on inflammation to promote healing.”
“Prolotherapy has been around for more than sixty years, however it remains outside the mainstream of medical practice,” explains Dr. Kandtutsch, a family practitioner who offers the procedure. Currently, MDI Hospital is one of only a few hospitals in the U.S. with official clinical privileges for prolotherapy.
“For some patients with damaged tendons and ligaments, prolotherapy is an alternative to surgery, or it is used when more traditional therapies like cortisone injections have failed,” Dr. Kandtusch points out. “When they are injured, tendons and ligaments often don’t heal completely because of poor blood supply,” explains Dr. Kandutsch. “So these normally taut, strong bands of connective tissue become relaxed, weak, and painful.”
Prolotherapy involves a series of injections, made into connective tissue, especially where ligaments and tendons attach to bones. A solution is injected that causes a localized inflammatory reaction. The inflammation “turns on” the body’s natural healing response, which causes the ligament or tendon to tighten and become stronger.
Because prolotherapy is an alternative to surgery in some cases, patients don’t endure scars and lengthy rehabilitation. “But the biggest benefit of prolotherapy,” explains Dr. Kandtusch, “is that it produces long-lasting relief using the body’s own healing mechanisms.”
Persistent pain due to ligament laxity, or damage, is common in the spine, Sacroiliac and other joints such as the ankle. “Sometimes, despite the physician’s best effort, these problems return,” explained Dr. Kandutsch. “These patients are often ideal prolotherapy candidates.”
“There are few other definitive therapies available for back pain that is the result of ligament laxity,” Dr. Kandtusch points out. “I have also had success treating Achilles tendonitis and certain cases of osteoarthritis with prolotherapy,” he adds.
While prolotherapy is still considered an alternative to more traditional therapies, its proponents are growing. “There is a steady growth in the number of doctors who practice prolotherapy, and it has gained some traction in recent years because of the successful treatment of several prominent sports and public figures,” Dr, Kandtusch points out.
“In general, prolotherapy should be considered an additional option for a carefully selected group of patients whose troubles can be traced to stretched ligaments, osteoarthritis, or tendonitis,” says Dr. Kandutsch. “Prolotherapy should be used to supplement a basic strategy of exercises and stretches,” Dr. Kandtusch emphasizes.
For more information on prolotherapy, contact Cadillac Family Practice at 288-5119, or visit the web site of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine at www.aaomed.org.