Functional Medicine is patient-centered medical healing at its best. Instead of looking at and treating health problems as isolated diseases, it treats individuals who may have bodily symptoms, imbalances and dysfunctions. Similar to an iceberg, a named disease such as diabetes, cancer, or fibromyalgia might be visible above the surface, but according to Functional Medicine, the cause lies in the altered physiology below the surface. Almost always, the cause of the disease and its symptoms is an underlying dysfunction and/or an imbalance of bodily systems.
Named diseases are just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, according to Functional Medicine, are the real causes of a patient's health problems.
If health care treats just the tip of the iceberg, it rarely leads to long-term relief and vibrancy. Identifying and treating the underlying root cause or causes, as Functional Medicine does, has a much better chance to successfully resolve a patient's health challenge. Using scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing and treatments other than drugs or surgery, Functional Medicine restores balance in the body's primary physiological processes. The goal: the patient's lifelong optimal health.
Prolotherapy, also known as Regenerative Injection Technique (RIT), is a treatment in which dextrose (combined usually with lidocaine and saline) is injected into joints, ligaments and tendons to stimulate collagen and connective tissue repair. Dextrose promotes the body’s own ability to heal chronic injuries by initiating a controlled and localized inflammatory response.
Connective tissues such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons generally heal poorly after injury due to their low blood supply. The patient is left with chronic pain, ligament laxity or joint instability due to incomplete healing.
Prolotherapy is ideal for any musculoskeletal pain, sub-acute or chronic sports injury, or for a joint or connective tissue that heals poorly after an accident or surgery. Most patients require 3-6 treatments, and treatments are usually administered every 2-6 weeks.
This treatment offers permanent results and is an excellent alternative to surgery for ligament repair or joint replacement. I am passionate about prolotherapy because it has minimal (if any) down time, and helps people get back on their feet doing the things they love!
Some common conditions that are treated are:
- Acromioclavicular (AC) tear
- Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
- Recurrent shoulder separation or dislocation
- Golfer’s and tennis elbow
- Temperomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and instability
- Low back/lumbar, hip and sacroiliac (SI) pain and instability
- ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL laxity or tear in the knee
- Medial meninscus tear, bucket handle tear in the knee
- Ankle sprain/ligament instability
- Plantar fasciitis
- Fallen arches
- Achilles tendon tear
- Pubic symphysis pain
- Hamstring or groin tear
How do I know if prolotherapy is indicated for me?
If you have joint pain, arthritis, ligament laxity or joint instability from an accident, sports injury, or wear and tear, prolotherapy is indicated for your condition. You may experience popping, grinding, aching or clicking within the joint, or a joint that ‘catches’ or ‘gives out’. If your have swelling or fluid effusion around the joint, this may be a sign of instability leading to friction and chronic inflammation of the tissues. This instability can be treated with prolotherapy injections.
Some people who experience temporary relief from massage or chiropractic adjustments, yet it doesn’t last, or the adjustment doesn’t seem to ‘hold’, will benefit from prolotherapy treatment.
An easy way to assess whether your pain could be relieved by prolotherapy is if you experience ‘cocktail party/theatre syndrome’. This type of condition is described as a worsening of joint pain if you have been standing still for a long time (such as while mingling at a cocktail party). If you sit down, the pain lessens; however if you stay seated for too long (such as at a theatre), you become uncomfortable again and experience a worsening of the pain or aching.
The reason for this is that when you are standing, the muscles surrounding the unstable joints in your back or leg become tense in order to stabilize the joint by taking over the work for the weak ligaments. When you are seated, your muscles relax and the weak ligaments have to do the job of stabilizing the joint.
You may find that your aching is worse first thing in the morning, but improves with walking, movement and light exercise. Throughout the day, you may find that you are constantly changing your position to avoid pain. If, however, you exercise too hard, this will also precipitate pain, aching or throbbing in the joint, and tension in the surrounding tissues as your muscles tense up to ‘guard’ the weak joints.
If you find that wearing a brace, tensor bandage, or supportive shoe helps your condition, this may also be a sign of joint instability that can be permanently treated with prolotherapy. The brace adds temporary extra support to a weak joint, while prolotherapy can initiate your body to heal the damaged tissues.
Joints that have been injected with cortisone or treated surgically without positive and lasting results can also be treated with prolotherapy.
Lyftogt Perineural Injection Treatment™
This treatment, first discovered and later significantly developed by Dr. John Lyftogt (pronounced "Liftoff") consists of a series of small injections immediately under the skin targeting painful areas where the nerves are sensitive, with simple and natural substances. The substance Dr. Lyftogt uses is a buffered D5W (dextrose 5% in sterile water) with a neutral pH of 7.4.
Dr. Lyftogt was the first person to use D5W to effectively treat chronic neuropathic pain and disability. Dr. Lyftogt found that treating painful nerves is an effective way to treat and extinguish chronic neuropathic pain.
In initial studies Dr. Lyftogt published the treatment was named Subcutaneous Prolotherapy, and later, Neural Prolotherapy, abbreviated as NPT. The confusion with traditional Prolotherapy (a significantly different treatment) resulted in the change of these names to the more descriptive term, Lyftogt Perineural Injection Treatment™.
Some Americans prefer to refer to this treatment as PSI (perineural subcutaneous injections), or PNI (peri-neural injections). Anyone using these terms is in fact referring to Lyftogt Perineural Injection Treatment™ with D5W, as discovered and developed by New Zealander Dr John Lyftogt.
Lyftogt P.I.T.™ is a safe and effective treatment for painful conditions due to sport and occupation or other chronic non-malignant pain related issues.
Lyftogt P.I.T.™involves first making an accurate diagnosis of the cause of pain, which is usually due to an injured or non-healing sensory nerve causing pain and inflammation.
Every treatment aims to extinguish the pain, which at the first treatment may initially last for a period of four hours to four days. Repeated treatments (usually 6-8 sessions) usually done weekly, result in gradual reduction of the overall pain, with the aim of complete resolution - a zero pain score - and allow return of full function. Success rates vary between 80-100% depending on the condition. For most conditions recurrence is unlikely unless re-injury occurs.
The treatment is extremely safe; D5W is used as an IV solution in hospitals worldwide. Being mostly a subcutaneous treatment, and using only a half-inch needle, harm is minimized. There may be some bruising. No allergic reactions have yet been observed. Infection is extremely rare, calculated at about 1 in 300,000 injections.
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