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Pain and Debilitating Conditions


Sclerotherapy (also known as prolotherapy) is considered a form of alternative pain management treatment in which the body’s own natural healing process is relied upon to strengthen joints, ligaments, and tendons. In other applications, sclerotherapy has been reported to also treat varicose veins, esophageal varicies, hemorrhoids, or hernias specifically. This form alternative pain management focuses on regeneration as opposed to degeneration often experienced with other pain management therapies and techniques, such as cortisone injections.

Sclerotherapy and prolotherapy apply an injection of irritating substances to the painfully affected areas to produce a healing type of inflammatory response in tissues. The injection procedure for these alternative therapies for pain management is done on an outpatient basis. Typically, the results of sclerotherapy and prolotherapy provide patients with permanent stabilization – often stronger than the original supportive tissues – which means a great recovery and long-term pain relief.

Before Sclerotherapy/Prolotherapy
Based on a patient’s individual pain condition, the specific type and amount of irritation solution will be predetermined by the pain management physician. Also, in advance of the procedure, a sedative may be administered to patients who require it in order to relieve anxiety during the injection treatment.

During Sclerotherapy/Prolotherapy
Under ultrasound guidance, a needle is injected into the affected area where the ligament is worn down or torn and the irritant solution is delivered. Many points may require injection. Over the next few days, cells called “macrophages” are attracted into the area by the presence of the irritant solution. Once they arrive, these macrophages work to remove the irritant solution. As the macrophages finish, the body sends in “fibroblasts” (or connective tissue builders) to lay down new fibrous tissue wherever damage is detected.

After Sclerotherapy/Prolotherapy
This alternative pain management treatment may result in mild swelling and stiffness; however, any discomfort usually passes fairly rapidly and can be reduced with pain relievers, such as Tylenol. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, should not be used for pain relief because their action suppresses the desired inflammation process. Depending on the size of the affected joints, treatment may be administered in a series of 3-6 injections, usually two weeks apart.