Health Briefs neural-prolotherapy

Published on November 30th, 2022 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


Neural Prolotherapy: Part 1

Neural prolotherapy can treat tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis; ligament injuries such as ankle sprains, wrist sprains and plantar fasciitis, and arthritis affecting almost any joint, including knees, shoulders and hips and more.

Nerves and muscles work together, and it modifies nerve signals to heal pain conditions. Muscles require nerves to make any movements. A nerve can become unhealthy from either being pinched somewhere along its course or from lacking nutrients. When the nerve is unhealthy, this can lead to both nerve pain and muscle pain. When a muscle or tendon is hurting, there is usually an unhealthy nerve that leads to that.

The corollary is that by improving the health of the nerve, muscle pain improves. Neural prolotherapy technique is a great way to restore the health of a nerve by use of a 5 percent dextrose solution. This healthy nerve then restores the health of the muscle, resolving the muscle strain. Pain is generated by small nerve fibers. It was found that when these fibers lack glucose, they generate pain signals. Substituting glucose with 5% dextrose at several spots stops the nerve from firing and the pain subsides instantly and dramatically. Thus by restoring the internal environment of the nerve cell, pain is extinguished.

The area that is treated is determined by finding the areas of tenderness along the nerve. An example is someone with acute back pain. After treating the tender areas, the patient gets off the table, moves around and usually say they have relief, but still have pain in a smaller area. They get back on the table to treat that smaller area. When the patient gets up again, they are much better but still have pain in one or two spots. They get back on the table, those last spots are treated, and the patient gets up and is pain-free.

The pain usually comes back in several days, but usually less intense. The patient then undergoes a second treatment and the pain again goes away. This time when it comes back, the pain is decreased further. This is analogous to throwing a bucket of water on a fire. When there is a fire, a bucket of water will put out the fire. The fire will come back but less intense and with each bucket of water, the fire is less intense until it is finally out. With neural prolotherapy, the acute condition is resolved after a few treatments and for a chronic condition will generally take seven to 10 treatments, after which the condition is resolved.

The treatment is only about 15 years old. It was developed by Dr. John Lyftogt, a sports medicine physician in New Zealand. Looking into the nerve-muscle connection, trying to find a way of restoring nerve health, he tried many different agents including other concentrations of dextrose and finally found that 5 percent was the most effective. There are a number of research studies that have shown its efficacy. Most pain is relieved dramatically at each treatment.

An important aspect of neural prolotherapy is its simplicity and safety. The treatment involves placing the 5 percent dextrose just under the skin adjacent to the nerve. This is why another name for the treatment is perineural injection treatment (PIT). Because the injections are done with very fine, acupuncture-sized needles, there is usually minimal pain with the treatment. Also, the 5 percent dextrose solution is neutralized, which causes much less pain and is more effective. It is very safe because the 5 percent dextrose solution is very well tolerated with no toxicity.

Warren Slaten, M.D., is a pain wellness physician in Ridgewood. For appointments, consultation and more information, call 201-882-1500 or visit njprp.com.

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