Neural Prolotherapy is a unique style of injection treatment that is used in treating acute or chronic pain, sports injuries, arthritis, motor vehicle accidents, areas of decreased range of motion, post surgery, scars, neuralgia, paraesthesias and other forms of pain. It’s a minimally invasive treatment that targets neurogenic inflammation (nerve derived inflammation).
This treatment was developed by Dr John Lyftogt MD from New Zealand who was initially working on treating Achilles Tendonopathy. Through his rigorous application and testing of this treatment he began teaching this method to Doctors across the globe. Neural Prolotherapy as he named it is gaining increased attention and momentum since its conception because of its fast acting results.
The practitioner addresses painful areas by discovering the superficial nerves responsible for the pain response. Through light palpation of the area, the doctor is able to feel which nerves are involved along with the patients subjective sensations. Normally nerves aren’t able to be detected through touch, but Inflamed nerves feel like rubbery tubes and are usually quite tender to touch even with minimal pressure. Once the area has been discovered and the range of motion has been assessed, the doctor begins injecting the sugar solution (5% dextrose) using a very small needle just under the surface of the skin close to the nerve.
People usually describe pain they come in with as being deep and diffuse. Despite the deep feeling of pain, the treatment requires a very superficial injection to target the area. Within seconds, patients notice a shift in the pain and most describe it as a release and find it easier to move shortly after. There is such an obvious shift and subsequent removal of the symptoms that it’s not uncommon to see a big smile and sigh of relief with quite a bit of surprise.
Dextrose binds to TRPV1/capsaicin receptors on peptidergic nerves (nerves that release inflammatory peptides) blocking the release of pro-inflammatory mediators called CGRP and Substance P. In doing so, it allows for the release of trophic (nerve growth and repair) factors that stimulates a healing response. According to Hilton’s law: the nerve supplying a joint also supplies both the muscles that move the joint and the skin covering the articular insertion of those muscles. That means with a superficial injection you can treat complicated injuries.
The extent of trauma/inflammation to a particular area usually determines the number of treatments required. For minor injuries, as few as 2-4 treatments may be required. For more complicated cases, more sessions will be required. With each treatment there is an expected decrease or elimination in overall pain and increase in the range of motion. After the treatment it is common to notice little swellings where the injection took place. These spots disappear quickly after a few minutes. Some patients may experience minor bruising after the treatment. Other than the minor discomfort with the needle, the treatment benefits far outweigh the cost.
As described above, it’s time to take your health into your own hands. Pain is a signal that we need to come into right relationship with. By incorporating Naturopathic principles together with a treatment like Neural Prolotherapy you will actually be working on treating the underlying mechanism for pain expression.