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If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, you may be unsure as to what treatment options you have available to you, especially if you are still young. While surgery is a viable option with excellent results for many individuals, it may not be necessary in your situation. Prolotherapy is a non-surgical therapeutic option that may be available to you, and it has demonstrated its effectiveness in thousands of individuals over the last several decades. Below is more information on prolotherapy, how it can be used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee and why it may be your best treatment alternative:
Causes of knee osteoarthritis and how it can be stopped
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a debilitating condition for many individuals, both young and old. It is often caused by knee strain, perhaps from athletic injury or an accident, that results in an overall weakening of the knee ligaments. From there, the weakening of ligaments causes the knee to function abnormally, and this in turn leads to bone surfaces rubbing together in ways that are harmful. Eventually, the protective cartilage cushion disappears, and the painful results of osteoarthritis become all too apparent at that point.
One way to counteract these problems is by stimulating the growth of connective tissue in the affected knee. Healthier, "beefed up" connective tissues can re-stabilize the knee's mechanical connections and stop the downward spiral toward severe, crippling osteoarthritis. Prolotherapy can help provide just this benefit by encouraging the regrowth of connective tissues.
How prolotherapy works to stop osteoarthritis
A fascinating fact about the human body is that the presence of inflammation can be healing and recuperative. The swelling response after an injury results in the body creating growth factors, which are chemicals that spur tissue growth, and this is where prolotherapy can take advantage of this natural response.
Prolotherapy is the initiation of an inflammatory response inside of a human body for the purpose of regrowing tissues. This response can be initiated by a number of stimuli, but in the case of medical prolotherapy, physicians inject substances into the affected area through a hypodermic syringe. One of the most commonly-used, safe and effective substances is dextrose solution; this solution is merely sugar water in a sterile, controlled form, and its presence triggers growth factor production.
Prolotherapy administration and treatment plan
For most individuals, a typical treatment program of prolotherapy injections will involve around half a dozen sessions, though some mild cases of knee osteoarthritis may necessitate fewer treatments. Each session will permit the physician to monitor the progress of the treatment regimen through the use of x-rays, physical manipulation and measuring strength and mobility.
A concern for some patients undergoing prolotherapy is whether or not it the treatments will be painful; this is understable since the desired goal of the dextrose injections is to create an inflammatory process. Fortunately, prolotherapy typically causes only mild soreness or pain, and this pain can be readily controlled with acetaminophen or a comparable over-the-counter pain killer. The only restriction is that ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are not usually allowed, since they work to control pain by limiting swelling, and this will weaken the healing effects of the induced inflammation.
In addition, there are some instances when prolotherapy would not be recommended for use by a doctor. Individuals with chronic or severe infections or other long-term health problems may be at risk, and those who are receiving steroid treatments for a medical condition would be advised to wait. In addition, some individuals may have advanced osteoarthritis that will require knee replacement surgery and they wouldn't benefit from prolotherapy. However, in all situations, the physician will be able to provide the best appraisal for success and can be trusted to let you know if prolotherapy is right for you.
For more information and options, talk with a orthopaedic clinic near you, such as Town Center Orthopaedic Associates.