by Jose Humphreys MD
The high incidence of joint disease and joint pain has tremendous negative effects on our quality of life; not only from a personal standpoint but also reduces one’s general functionality and productivity. Studies have shown a link between chronic pain and insomnia and daytime sleepiness, poor performance and reduced quality of life.
Left with no choice, many resort to the chronic use of Non-steroid anti- inflammatory (NSAID) medication, corticosteroids, other analgesics and even powerful sleep aids to assist with the management of their condition. However, these medications do not come without their attached side effects and of course the “cure” is deemed futile if it is worst than the “disease”.
The Scientific literature has examined the adverse effects of these classes of drugs and has revealed that they can indeed impair the ability of the chondrocytes to repair its damaged extracellular matrix Their role in inhibiting the synthesis of these said proteins, collagens and proteoglycans in cartilage is considerable. Other adverse effects include:
The prognosis for joint pain, especially when it does not respond to standard medical treatment looks grim, however, all is not lost; thanks to a new and exciting treatment called Proliferative Injection Therapy”.
According to Wikipedia online dictionary, Prolotherapy or "Proliferative Injection Therapy" involves injecting an otherwise non-pharmacological and non-active irritant solution into the body, generally in the region of tendons or ligaments for the purpose of strengthening weakened connective tissue and alleviating musculoskeletal pain.
Dozens of studies show benefits of Proliferative Injection Therapy for people with chronic pain, as well as those with sports injuries.” Many studies have supported the efficacy of Proliferative Injection Therapy and its long list of success stories are resounding. In its April 2005 health letter, the Mayo clinic stated, “when chronic ligament or tendon pain fails to respond to more conservative treatments like physical therapy and prescribed exercises, “Prolotherapy may be helpful.” And when surgery is the only remaining option to relieve chronic pain, Prolotherapy is a much less invasive and expensive technique that may be worth a try — if you can find an experienced and skilled practitioner”.
In January 2009, Proliferative Injection Therapy was introduced in the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda. Optimum Health Clinic Ltd (my private practice), situated at Belmont (Surgical & Medical) Complex was the site where this dynamic and extremely effective therapy was birth for the first time in the West Indies. Since this, scores have been enquiring or booking appointments for consultation in an effort to find out more about this therapy or even have their first procedure done. I will share two success stories with you.
My first patient, Charmaine a 51-year-old peri-menopausal primiparous woman, has had severe degenerative disease of the knees (bilaterally) for a number of years. The pain has been refractory to NSAIDs and she has even had local steroid injections done; which too was ineffective. Charmaine did a course of Proliferative Injection Therapy on her knees. One day while clearing my post box, I saw Charmaine leaving work carrying a pile of books. She limped slowly across the car park. Being concerned, I enquired from her the reason for her limp. She smiled and said, “Doc, I have no pain. My only problem is that I have to keep reminding myself that I have no pain and that I need to get rid of this programmed habit to limp.” She then showed me her limp free “stage” walk. With the type of degeneration Charmaine had, she couldn’t fake it, even if she wanted to. I smiled and thought to myself, “Amazing!” This was what I needed as a practitioner...a vote of confidence.
Pete, a 47 year old man that I have been working with for 3 years for obesity, diabetes and hypertension, has been experiencing moderate to severe left hip pain for about 2 years. Pete works in the field as a Construction Engineer and fell from a ladder. Pete benefited greatly from Proliferative Injection Therapy, reporting 1 month after one treatment of Proliferative Injection Therapy that the pain that had been his constant companion for 2 years is no longer present. He remarked that minutes to days after treatment he felt “a pulling of muscles” and greater range of motion as time progressed. A second treatment was given within a month. He has continued to pain free since his last treatment a few months ago. Pete has been discharged thanks to Proliferative Injection Therapy. By the way, Pete has lost almost 100lbs and both his hypertension and diabetes are under control without medication. Congratulations Pete!
Then there was Cutie; a postmenopausal non-parous woman who was suffering with tremendous back pain with peripheral neuropathy. She was extremely excited about her outcome that she decided to pen me a letter. She wrote, “Hello Dr. Humphreys...As you know, when I came to your office three months ago I complained of severe back pain, pain radiating down my left leg and tingling in my toes of my left foot. I have had this problem for over six months. I tried chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage with no resolution of my herniated disc problems. I was unable to perform any activity, let alone exercise. Walking, standing, or sitting in the same place for a long period of time caused an increase in my pain. My doctor prescribed several different types of painkillers, which I had to take every day, was the only thing that gave me some relief. My doctor also advised that I may have to do surgery to cure my herniated disc. However, because of your treatment, I will not have to do the surgery. I am happy to report that after thee weeks of my first Prolotherapy treatment I am about 90% cured! Two weeks before my first treatment I discontinued taking all anti-inflammatory drugs and I haven’t taken any since. My lower back pain is much better and I don’t have any pain radiating down my leg or tingling in my toes. I am now able to get back to my usual activities of walking, standing, exercising and dancing!” Cutie’s MRI revealed disc desiccation, degenerative disease, disc herniation L4/5, mass effect on cauda equina, compromised lateral recess, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and left nerve root contact. Prior to Proliferative Injection therapy, Cutie would have had an unfavorable prognosis.
Tips for Proliferative Injection Therapy: Sterility is of great importance for the effective delivery of Proliferative Injection Therapy. All of the standard pre and post op sterile procedures are used during Proliferative Injection Therapy. Coupled with this, proper technique is imperative to a successful treatment.
Proliferative Injection Therapy is no doubt a valuable form of pain management. It has no doubt changed the landscape of medical practice.
Proliferative Injection Therapy has even caused a stir in the medical community in Antigua and Barbuda with increased referrals from physicians. As a matter of fact, while preparing this article, my medical assistant informed me that the president of the local medical association has made an appointment for his first Proliferative Injection Therapy treatment.
I must express profound thanks to my Proliferative Injection Therapy Instructor, Dr. Ross Hauser, who remarkable teaching skills both theoretically and clinically proved invaluable. I commend, Dr. Ross Hauser and the staff from Caring Medical and the other forerunners in Proliferative Injection Therapy...Antigua thanks you...the Caribbean thanks you!
Dr. Ross Hauser and Dr. Humphreys at Caring Medical, Chicago 2008
All Saints Road
St. John's, Antigua