Types of Regenerative Joint Injections
Prolotherapy involves a series of joint injections designed to increase the inflammatory process that brings about healing. Prolotherapy is indicated in joint pain due to laxity of ligaments and tendons. This is when the ligaments and tendons lack the strength and integrity to support the joint. Prolotherapy is not indicated in osteoarthritis however, patients with arthritis experience improvement because the joint is stronger due to the injections.
Ligaments and tendons have a poor blood supply and therefore poor healing response. The inflammatory process is used by the body to transport proteins and enzymes to rebuild the tissue. Prolotherapy increases the blood flow to the area of injury and stimulates inflammation, thereby bringing about the healing process A double blind placebo controlled study published in Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine (March 6, 2000) reported significant reductions in knee pain, swelling and knee buckling frequency after 6 injections.
Stem Cell Joint Injections
Stem cell joint injections deposit stem cells, cytokines and growth factors into the joints. For joint pain, the injection is done locally into the joint and may contain actual stem cells or amniotic fluid which is rich in cytokines and growth factors. These are utilized by the body to repair damaged tissue. Whether it be stem cells or amniotic fluid, the growth factors and/or stem cells respond to cytokine signaling and go to the area of injury.
For back and neck pain, the stem cells are either injected into the paraspinal muscle or a facet joint injection is done under ultrasound guidance. Results vary but most patients usually feel a significant difference within one month.