The human hand is composed of an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves. This complex system is what makes it possible to button a shirt, write a letter, and use a fork. However, when osteoarthritis (OA) affects the hands, simple everyday tasks can become painful. Osteoarthritis is the result of wear on the cartilage between your joints, eventually causing your bones to rub together without a cushion. This rubbing causes inflammation, stiffness, pain, and joint instability.
Joint instability in particular has been implicated as the biggest factor for OA related pain. Joint instability, often caused by ligaments in the hand being damaged, stretched, or torn, causes an uneven stress distribution on the joint. Joint degeneration and pain is often the result.
As a treatment option, prolotherapy actually corrects the underlying ligament physiology and biomechanics, rather than temporarily relieving hand pain. Prolotherapy has the unique ability to not only stop joint pain, but also halts the degenerative process. Prolotherapy injections stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms by introducing a mild irritant to the affected area. This irritant causes a controlled inflammatory response which encourages the growth of new fibrous connective tissue, resulting in tightening off the weakened structure, and thus joint stabilization. Utilizing your own PRP (platelet-rich plasma) during the prolotherapy treatment will further augment the healing process due to PRP’s high concentration of growth factors. PRP often reduces the overall healing time to half or less.
Traditional methods of chronic pain treatment do not work to repair ligament laxity, unlike prolotherapy. Treatments such as corticosteroid injections, and anti-inflammatory medications are now known to actually accelerate OA and further damage the joint. In particular, corticosteroid injections (the most common regimen for musculoskeletal disorders) merely provide short-term improvement of symptoms, while posing the risk of accelerating cartilage damage and causing tissue atrophy1.
A recent observational study demonstrated the effectiveness of prolotherapy in relieving hand and finger pain in comparison to corticosteroid injections and anti-inflammatory drugs. The study found that of the 40 study participants, 98% reported that their hand pain was less after the prolotherapy treatment protocol. Patients in this study were also able to reduce their pain medications by 50%. Additionally, prolotherapy gave 82% of the patients 50% more pain relief than corticosteroid injections2.
Arktos Direct Care offers prolotherapy injections, as well as PRP therapy. If you want to learn more about resolving your pain contact us at 970-818-2280 to set up a free consultation with Dr. Hampton. Dr. Hampton has undergone training from the American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy and Regenerative Medicine (prolotherapycollege.org) and would be happy to answer any and all questions you may have to help guide you through the healing process.
1Hauser, Ross A. “The Deterioration of Articular Cartilage in Osteoarthritis by Corticosteroid Injections.” Journal of Prolotherapy 1.2 (2009): 107-123.
2Hauser, Ross A, et al. “A Retrospective Observational Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Hand and Finger Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois.” Journal of Prolotherapy 2.4 (2010): 480-486.