Regenerative Injection FAQ
Here are my answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How many treatments will I need?
People typically reach a stable point after 2 – 3 PRP treatments or around 6 Prolotherapy treatments. However, this can vary significantly depending on the severity of the condition you have and upon your health. I will have a better understanding of how many treatments you may need based upon your body’s response to your first treatment.
Your health is a crucial factor, especially with PRP, because we area harnessing the healing elements already present in your body. The healthier you are, the better quality your platelets and growth factors will be, and the stronger of an immune response your body can produce.
As well as being in good health, it’s important to have the nutrients that are critical to producing healthy new tissues readily available in the body. For example, a weightlifter or bodybuilder must get enough protein to build the desired muscle mass. Likewise, the nutrients your body needs to produce the healing and repair we are looking for must be in abundance.
If you have other problems in the body that are taking away its ability to focus on healing, it is crucial to address those issues first. Being chronically sick or in a diminished state of health will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. You want the full healing power of the body to be able to focus on the area that we are trying to treat, rather than competing issues.
How many injections will I need per treatment?
The number of injections is dependent upon the condition of the joint and what’s causing the problem. The quick answer is, “as many places as it hurts.” When I’m examining an area, I’m searching by feel for all the pain points. Every tender spot that I find is a place that I’m going to inject because that means the tissue is compromised there. I may also do internal joint injections, so there may be just two or three injections or as many as 20 depending on your individual needs.
Are the injections painful?
It depends upon your pain tolerance. Some patients don’t feel the needle stick or the injections, while others who are more sensitive say that it feels like a bee sting. If there is a significant amount of damage in the area and the tissue is already highly sensitive, it can be quite tender to inject fluid into it.
I do my best to make the procedure as painless as possible by applying a numbing cream containing Lidocaine to your skin. I also add Lidocaine to the injection itself to numb the area for both PRP and Prolotherapy treatments.
What are the side effects and risks?
The most common side effect is temporary increased pain and swelling in the area we have targeted with the treatment. That is a normal response and is what we are looking for.
As with any treatment that breaks the skin, there is a risk of infection, nerve damage, bruising, bleeding, pain, and allergic reaction to the Lidocaine. Of course, the benefits to these procedures far outweigh the risks, or I wouldn’t be doing them.
What is the recovery time?
Because we’re trying to initiate an inflammatory response in the joint, there is a period after the therapy where pain and tenderness in the area may increase. The recovery time can last anywhere from 24 hours to several days. After the joint response to the treatment and slowly begins to heal itself, you should feel a gradual reduction of pain. To get the most benefit, I typically see my patients 3 to 4 weeks between each session. This interval allows enough time to maximize the body’s healing response before we initiate another treatment.
How long do the treatments last?
Again, this is dependent upon the condition that we’re trying to treat.
Osteoarthritis, for example, wears down the collagen within the joint and it eventually becomes degenerated. Prolotherapy & PRP stimulate the regrowth of the cartilage and depending on the individual’s response and the number of treatments that growth can range from a little bit to a lot. If the same factors that caused the breakdown of cartilage are still present (genetics, lifestyle, or nutritional factors), the degeneration will continue to happen over time. Some of these patients may like to top off their treatments every year, and others can wait between three and five years.
Other conditions like a traumatic injury to a ligament or tendon are more straightforward and typically require only one treatment series. When restored to its original function, the area will maintain its healed state unless that specific trauma happens again.
Is Regenerative Injection Therapy covered by insurance?
Although PRP and Prolotherapy are substantiated by well over a half-century clinical research, they are still considered investigational or experimental therapies and are not covered by insurance. However, some Personal Injury Protection insurance policies do cover these therapies.