Regenerative medicine is the process of using the body’s own healing ability to regenerate diseased or damaged tissue. The process consists of delivering medication or cells directly to the site of injury to accentuate the healing process.
Prolotherapy is defined as the injection of any substance that promotes the growth of normal cells, tissues, or organs. This may consist of injections of growth factors, medications that stimulate growth factors, or medications which activate the inflammatory cascade producing growth factors. Studies have shown the injection of 10% or less of dextrose produces a non-inflammatory response, however the injection does produce growth factors such as epidermal growth factor and connective tissue growth factor, just to name a few. The injection of 12.5-25% of dextrose causes an inflammatory response, which in turn causes a more vigorous growth response.
The body’s first response to an injury is to deliver platelets. Platelets are packed with hundreds of proteins called growth factors. These cells act on damaged tissue to help drive the recovery process. PRP or platelet rich plasma, is the concentration of platelets, 10 times their normal concentration, which may be delivered to a specific area. There is growing evidence which suggests this can be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, back and neck pain as well as chronic pain conditions. These injections are usually given between a 2 to 4 weeks interval, thereby allowing the body to heal in the interim between injections. Improvements are usually seen within the first several weeks and continues with further treatments. Arguably the most famous PRP patient is Hines Ward, Mr. Ward was a receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He suffered an MCL sprain in the AFC Champion game. This type of injury typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal. He underwent PRP injections and was able to play the entire game just 2 weeks later, in the Super Bowl.