Chronic pain, like cancer, sucks the lifeblood out of a person. It can disrupt families and lead them into bankruptcy if the pain prohibits the patient from holding a job. What a joy it will be when you or your loved ones find pain relief.” Dr. Hauser believes the answer to chronic pain lies within a natural healing method referred to as Prolotherapy, and not in pain-relievers, steroids and hasty surgery. “Anti-inflammatory drugs have become a multi-billion dollar business. While these drugs provide temporary relief, they do not correct the underlying condition causing the pain. A migraine headache is not caused by an ibuprofen deficiency.” Dr. Hauser believes that medicine has taken a wrong turn when treatment is aimed at temporarily relieving pain instead of treating the underlying condition that cause the pain in the first place. This weak link coupled with knowledge of a therapy that has been effectively used for over 50 years, yet is still relatively unknown, provided the impetus to Dr. Hauser to write his book, Prolo Your Pain Away.
ABILITY: What is your background and how did you get started in your work with Prolotherapy?
Dr. Hauser: I am a Physiatrist (pronounced fizz-ee-at-trist) or specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. We receive residency training after medical school in stroke rehabilitation, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, amputations, cardiac rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, neurology, sports medicine, orthopedic rehabilitation, and pain management. I had a patient who I was not able to help. She went to Dr. Hemwall, who was 83 at the time, and had prolotherapy injections in her shoulder and obtained relief. She encouraged me to learn about Dr. Hemwall’s treatment. In April of 1992 I contacted Dr. Hemwall and he allowed me to observe him in his clinic. During the next few months, I spent most of my time in his office. It was obvious to me that Dr. Hemwall was helping those whom traditional medicine had not helped. Three months later, I began utilizing Prolotherapy in my medical practice as a treatment of chronic pain. I have effectively used Prolotherapy in every joint of the body.
ABILITY: What exactly is Prolotherapy?
Dr.Hauser: Prolotherapy is an injection technique of natural substances at the site where the ligaments and tendons attach to bones. This area is referred to as the fibro-osseous junction. They stimulate the fibroblasts which grow ligaments and tendons to proliferate or start multiplying, so the ligaments and tendon attachments to bones get stronger and thicker. This is why it is so successful. It will work on any joint or body part to grow the tendons, ligaments and muscle thicker and stronger, and it can totally eliminate and cure most chronic pain. Most chronic pain comes from weakening. Like when somebody has back pain and they cannot lift, there is something causing the chronic pain, that structure most commonly causing chronic pain is the ligaments. Ligaments connect bone to bone and provide stability to the joint. When someone has cracking in joints or swollen, painful joints, it is generally because the joints are weakened by weakened ligaments. When people go to the chiropractor to have vertebrae put back into place, the vertebrae are moving out of place because the ligaments that stabilize the vertebrae segments are weakened or stretched.
ABILITY: What substances are injected in the therapy?
Dr. Hauser: It is a natural substance. We generally use a 12.5 percent Dextrose solution, an extract of corn, 10.0 percent Sarapin, an extract of the pitcher plant, and 0.2 percent Lidocaine. Sarapin is used to treat nerve irritation and acts as a prolife rant. We can also use minerals such as zinc and manganese. Occasionally we use an extract of Cod liver oil depending on the patient we might increase the strength of the solution.
ABILITY: Is the procedure painful?
Dr.Hauser: It is far less painful than having the pain everyday. There may be a mild discomfort for a day or two resulting from having to pass the needle through the muscle mass to the ligament.
ABILITY: What is the cost of the procedure?
Dr. Hauser: It is very inexpensive. It generally runs about $ 75.00 a joint.
ABILITY: How safe is prolotherapy?
Dr. Hauser: Prolotherapy is much safer than taking aspirin day after day. Prolotherapy is much safer for the body than living with pain. The most dangerous part of receiving Prolotherapy treatment at my office is fighting the Chicago traffic! Pain not only decreases one’s enjoyment of life, it creates stress in the body. Stress is the worst detriment to good health. A body under stress triggers the “fight or flight” response causing the body to excrete cortisol and adrenaline. This puts the body on alert. Chronic pain causes the body to be in a continual alert mode. As it lingers, cortisol is continually produced causing it to be difficult to sleep. This results in insomnia and wears the body down. Dr. Hemwall has treated more than 10,000 patients with more than four million injections, with not one episode of paralysis, death or permanent nerve injury.
ABILITY: Is there any risk of irritation or infection at the injection site?
Dr. Hauser: The treatment causes inflammation so that you might grow new tissue. You will have one or two days of stiffness. The patients pain two-thirds of the time will be eliminated. Even with the first treatment. Generally, it takes about four treatments to eliminate the pain. You do have one or two days of stiffness but it is nothing compared to the pain they have had on a daily basis. Dr. Hemwall who I studied under, treated over 10,000 patients, and told me that he had never even had as much as a pimple form at the needle site because the solutions are bacteriostatic.
ABILITY: What type of patient can be helped by this treatment?
Dr.Hauser: Typically, anyone with chronic pain can obtain relief. It is very effective in relieving lower back pain. I have used it in the elbow, wrist, hand, groin, hip, knee, ankle, and foot. It has also been successful for curing the pain from fibromyalagia and arthritis. I have successfully treated phantom lower limb pain with sacroiliac ligament injections and helped spinal cord injury patients to be relieved from Central Pain Syndrome.
ABILITY: Is this therapy something that can be used in by patients currently seeking massage therapy and chiropractic therapy?
Dr.Hauser: People come to me and complain that their muscles get tight. Then they go to the massage therapist and they are better for a short period, but the muscles get tight again. The reason the muscles are tightening is the underlying joint is weakened. When your vertebrae go out of alignment and your muscles try to stabilize them, muscle tightness is a symptom of vertebral ligament laxity. This is why the massage therapy and chiropractic care sometimes temporarily help the problem but sometimes don’t cure it. After prolotherapy treatments the vertebral alignment will be strengthened and you will no longer get the muscle contractions. Arthritis forms because a joint gets injured, the ligaments get weakened, than the muscles tighten to try to stabilize the joints. When the muscles can’t stabilize the joint the bones start hitting, creating bone growth. Prolotherapy can stabilize the joint, resulting in the bones no longer hitting and stop the progress of Arthritis. In a situation such as spinal fusion from LA to S1. Five years later the area at L3 is going to be painful because it has to do all the mobility. So you do prolotherapy at those levels and the pain will go away.
ABILITY: Why have we not heard more on the use of this therapy if it is so effective?
Dr.Hauser: Prolotherapy has been presented and taught for years by the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine, the American Board of Sclerotherapy, and The George S. Hackett Foundation. Presentations on Prolotherapy have been given at numerous medical conferences including the First and Second Interdisciplinary World Congresses on Low Back Pain sponsored by the University of California at San Diego. In October 1996 at the national meeting of American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation we presented a symposium on the treatment of chronic pain with Prolotherapy. My suggestion would be to give your doctor my book and ask him or her if they are aware of this type of therapy. C.Everett Koop, M.D. wrote in the preface to the book that it is his opinion that folks are skeptical and Prolotherapy, unless you have tried it and proven its worth, seems too easy a solution to a series of complicated problems that afflict the human body. Another very practical reason is that many insurance companies do not pay for the therapy, largely because their medical advisors do not understand it, have not practiced it, and therefore do not recommend it. I have been a patient who has benefited from Prolotherapy. Having been so remarkably relieved of my chronic disabling pain, I began to use it on some of my patients.
ABILITY: What role does our nutritional level play in the bodies ability to heal?
Dr.Hauser: Nutritional deficiencies are epidemic in modern society affecting both overall health and the healing of ligaments and tendons. Ligaments and tendons consist of water, proteoglycans, and collagen. Collagen represents 70 to 90 percent of the weight of connective tissues and is the most abundant protein in the human body, approximately 30 per cent of total proteins, and six percent of the bodyweight. Collagen synthesis requires specific nutrients including iron, copper, manganese, calcium, zinc and various amino acids. Proteoglycan synthesis requires protein, carbohydrate polymer, and collagen synthesis along with trace minerals. Proper nutrition is an essential factor in soft tissue healing. A diet lacking in proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals will hinder the healing process and the formation of collagen tissue. The eventuality of osteoporosis and compression fractures in patients is due to the soda pop, potato chip and candy diets and a lack of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
ABILITY: Is this something that the insurance companies are acknowledging as an acceptable form of treatment and are they paying on such claims? Dr. Hauser: In my book I have a special section on this, on three different occasions the Chicago Medical Society approved Prolotherapy to be an accepted procedure that deserved reimbursement by the insurance carrier. Realize that the right to pay for a specific therapy lies with the insurance company. Most will pay with the right education. That was one of my purposes for writing the book. A person seeking Prolotherapy can give this book to their insurance company, there are over three hundred scientific references plus the letters from the Medical Society and letters from insurance companies who have paid for Prolotherapy.
Dr. Koop advises that Prolotherapy is not a cure-all for all pain. Therefore, the diagnosis must be made accurately and the therapy must be done by someone who knows what he or she is doing. It is his hope that Dr. Hauser’s book will push people to inquire more about Prolotherapy and that it might receive the place in modern therapeutics that it deserves