Healthlinks Charleston March/April 2022

84 | www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com C H A R L E S T ON CO U N T Y M E D I C A L S OC I E T Y PROLOTHERAPY AN EMERGING OLD/NEW MEDICAL TREATMENT By L. C. Leach III You jam your finger, skin your elbow or sprain a bone or mus - cle, and you soon notice that your body’s defenses are doing everything they can right from the beginning to repair the dam- age on their own. But these defenses can help damaged tissue only so much because of age, disease, blood or injuries that are too big for them to handle alone. Currently, major damage to the body often is handled through surgery, skin grafts, blood transfusions and surgical replacements or implants. But in many cases these methods are superseded by the relatively new field of regenerative medi - cine. Dr. Todd Joye, who specializes in the regenerative field of prolotherapy, is helping to pioneer this new path. “I added prolotherapy to my practice about four years ago,” said Dr. Joye, a pain management physician in Mount Pleasant since 1999 and owner of InterveneMD. “And while prolother - apy is still being explored, its possibilities for treating certain human injuries are infinite.” What is prolotherapy, and how might it help you? WHOLE BODY REPAIR Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection technique used to treat structural dysfunctions, primarily of ligaments but also of joints and tendons. These dysfunctional areas may be painful, weak, loose or degenerated. When ligaments are weakened due to age or injury, bones can shift positions. causing muscles in the area to tighten to prevent excessive movement, thereby creating muscle spasms and pain. Additionally, too much slippage in the spine can cause it to press on spinal nerves and cause sciatica. In these cases, Dr. Joye said the treatment may require more than just an epidural steroid injection. “Sometimes, we need to take a bird’s eye view and treat the lower back, for example, as a functional unit, targeting not just the nerve getting pinched but also all the surrounding struc- tures in order to restore the alignment.” Dr. Joye emphasized the importance of working with physi- cal therapists and chiropractors throughout this repair process. “These professionals serve a critical role in keeping your bones in alignment as the prolotherapy injections begin to tighten these support tissues,” he said. At the end of the process, patients are typically able to start maintaining their chiropractic and physical therapy adjustments for longer periods of time. ROOTS The origins of prolotherapy took root in the 1930s, when Philadelphia osteopathic physician Dr. Earl Gedney became the first to use an injection to strengthen sacroiliac ligaments. He called his technique sclerotherapy – but the term gave way to prolotherapy in 1956, when Dr. George Hackett of Canton, Ohio, presented a publication titled, “The rehabilitation of