Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Prolotherapy

I've successfully completed a handful of pain-free 10-20 min runs in the last couple weeks. My ART guy keeps warning me that 2-3 miles is my max for a while, even it feels ok.... he threatens with his harsh ART hands, so I listen. But, truthfully, calling it quits after 20 min of running is fine with me because daaaang did I lose my cardio fitness fast! Ouch! And I'm running at about an 8:30 pace. Sort of depressing. But, again, all part of the challenge. On the flip side, I'm noticing some major strength/balance/flexibility gains from all my other working out/rehab stuff. I'm also cycling and swimming a little more, so I'm keeping sane. Noiiice.

One of the treatments I got for my ITB/knee is a little sumthin called prolotherapy. Yes, it's a shot, but, no, it's not some crazy steroid or potentially risky quick-fix injection. It's safe! I'd never heard of prolo until my sports med doc recommended it; he's a kick-butt triathlete whom I trust tons. Did a little research, and I was sold.

So what just is "prolo," as it's called...

First off, prolo is short for proliferation, which means growth/creation. Essentially, a prolo shot repairs damaged or weak tissue (i.e. a ligament, tendon) by creating new, stronger tissue. The shot itself is comprised of a dextrose solution (just sugar water!) and it's administered directly into the damaged area; in my case, the lateral side of my knee at the IT Band.

Once injected, the prolo goes to work almost immediately by causing inflammation. Yes, inflammation, which can actually be a good thing--t's the body's natural wound-healing process; in other words, its way of mobilizing an army of healing agents to a damaged area to do some major repair work. As a result, you see increased swelling from all that "stuff" (trying not to be too sciency) doing it's healing work, not to mention it hurts. But, again, inflammation is our friend here.... it results in the creation of new tissues, mostly collagen, and thus a more robust ligament.

The inflammation can last up to three days and can be quite painful; although, it was less for me. After that, tissue formation and strengthening continues for a while. In the meantime, pain from the injury can decrease rapidly and workouts/activities can resume to some degree... I ran (briefly) about five days after my shot. Three to four weeks after the initial treatment, it's recommended to get another prolo shot, and maybe even a third shot several weeks later depending on the injury repair, pain, etc.

Prolo is also used for chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. My doctor is one of the few in the OC area who offers it, and he has a lot of success stories associated with prolo. I have yet to read any harmful side effects, so if you know of any, don't tell me.... JK. I'd like to know any opinions/thoughts/stories on this treatment!

Also, fyi: Personally, I'm not going to credit prolo to my recovery (I'm not better yet!), and I don't want to say it's a quick fix because it's not--yes, you can start running again sooner than maybe expected, but no way will you get back to double-digit running mileage within a week. In the end, I think prolo is a safe, helpful element in this whole recovery process, as is good old fashioned hard work in the gym and on the ART table and on the couch resting :)

Here's a link to more prolo resources, with some good sciencey stuff, if you're interested: PROLO

11 comments:

  1. I am so glad to hear that you are getting some running done. That is good to hear and I am hoping it will come my way soon also!

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  2. Good timing Tawn, have a friend who is getting quite depressed about his IT injury. Let me know how the prolotherapy works and is it worth the cost, he's tight on money so if rehab and PT works equally well, he'll stick with that.

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  3. Glad you're getting better.

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  4. Thanx for sharing... never heard of it before your blog. Let me know how it works out for you! I would love to recommend this to my patients if it works out well :) Keep healing girl!

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  5. never heard of it - but i am really interested since my IT band has been irritating me for years, and only ART seems to bring it relief.

    hope to meet you at vineman!

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  6. I ran 3-miles at an 8:20 pace last night and was ecstatic. YOU run 3-miles at the same pace and you're bummed. Funny how that works ;-)

    I hope your recovery continues to go well.

    All the best,

    Ron

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  7. I have heard only good things of Prolo. Keep up the restraint, as per your ART doc.

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  8. Thanks for posting! Despite my quick fix steroid shot, I'm still not outta the woods yet.

    So, when's that itbs party? ;)

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  9. Good job on the recovery and runs and keeping to the prescription for long term success.
    I like the info about prolo. I may be a candidate for a glute issue that has come up.

    Good luck and good health.

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  10. Take it easy! Good luck with the shots!!

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  11. Prolotherapy is a therapeutic technique which helps in strengthening weak ligaments and tendons. It utilizes a naturally-based sugar solution. Ligaments are tissue structures that join bones to other bones, while tendons attach muscles to bones and allow muscles to move bones in a particular range of motion. It is very common to experience injuries in tendons and ligaments. Since tendons and ligaments do not have a healing blood supply, they can experience overall weakness. The treatment of Prolotherapy in California is very cost-effective.

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