What To Expect After Treatment
FOR ALL PATIENTS
Stiffness and Soreness: You can expect to be stiff and sore post-treatment. This could last from 3 to 10 days.
If you feel the need for some pain relief post-treatment, please try Extra Strength Tylenol or the pain medication that you will be given at the time you are seen. Make sure to limit Tylenol to 3 grams per day (which is 6 tablets of Extra Strength) and don't forget that the pain medication received from our office will have Tylenol as well. Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil), naprosyn (Alleve), or others is not recommended, because they can reduce the positive effect of the body's natural response to prolotherapy. However, if they help pain considerably and prevent taking of narcotic mediation, they can be taken but should still be avoided for at least two days before and after treatment.
Numbness: You may notice some numbness post-treatment. This is not uncommon as a sensation after the injection of ligaments and tendons. If there is weakness that does not resolve in several days, or if burning pain is noted that does not resolve in several days, please contact our office. If allowed to continue, burning pain can make all nerves in the area more sensitive. Therefore you may be given a prescription for medication specifically to combat burning pain.
Bruising: Bruising is quite common; do not be alarmed by it. Bruising is good for us, as it contains growth factors.
Itching: If you notice itching, over-the-counter Benadryl or Diphenhydramine is helpful. These medications can make you drowsier so driving may be affected. If itching is persistent, please call the office.
Exercising is encouraged, but please do not over-do it. Pay attention to what your body tells you. If it hurts, take a break! Do not push yourself just because you feel better (you may pay for it later). Use either ice or heat to help calm pain or spasms.
Additional injuries will make healing more difficult. We notice several common sources of falls in those with significant chronic pain -- and stairs are one of the most common. Thus, for any of our patients with significant pain we recommend the following: when going up or down stairs, do not alternate feet. Take one step at a time. Always hold on to at least one handrail when using stairs, watch for obstructions on steps, and do not carry things in both hands.
Feeling better or worse: Sometimes breaking a pain cycle can help quickly, especially if you feel supported by the fluid of injection. Therefore you may feel better after the post-injection soreness wears off. However, many nerves are not going to quit firing until the ligaments and tendons become strong enough that the nerves are taken off "stretch" -- and that takes time. In this office we attempt to avoid missing anything during a treatment session so that 6 weeks after the 2nd treatment is usually enough time to determine benefit.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Dr. Reeves uses the Hackett approach to prolotherapy, which is typically very comprehensive. For this reason, areas are rarely missed in treatment and two trial treatments are usually enough to determine if the treatment will be beneficial. Exceptions include athletes that are actively engaging in contact sports or high force activity during treatment periods. Typically those areas which have hurt less over months or years resolve first, and we then taper out treatment as the more stubborn areas start responding. There are those conditions in which all cartilage has been lost already in a joint (such as the knee) and in which wear and tear of everyday living may require a treatment every 3-4 months, but our goal is always to restore tissue enough towards "normal" that repeat visits are only recommended following trauma or some unusual event.
It is very important to realize that prolotherapy is a diagnostic as well as a therapeutic treatment. This means that if prolotherapy does not help it may very well be that there is an undiagnosed problem that needs to be identified. Therefore, be sure to check with Dr. Reeves or your prolotherapy practitioner about this possibility in the event additional testing is needed. Surgery is not needed often in patients receiving prolotherapy, but occasionally it is and referrals from your prolotherapy physician can often save a lot of time in obtaining surgery when it is truly necessary. For those few patients who need surgery, prolotherapy prepares them by addressing other pain problems unrelated to the need for surgery, simplifying decision making by the surgeon, and typically allowing a smoother recovery from surgery.
WHAT ABOUT NARCOTICS?
Typically patients do not need narcotic pain medication after treatment except, perhaps, that evening of the treatment, or the next day. Patients typically receive a prescription for a limited amount of post-injection pain medication. Pain flares lasting more than a week should be reported to us. We may need to see you back in the office to review the situation rather than just covering up a pain flare with medication.
For those patients already taking chronic narcotics, Dr. Reeves will not take over prescribing and refilling them for you. We only prescribe a limited amount to take on top of the chronic medication already being taken. This clinic focuses on pain elimination and reduction, not pain management. Dr. Reeves has a colleague specializing in pain management if needed or desired by our patients. However, elimination or reduction of pain sources is the purpose of Dr. Reeves' approach.
Please feel free to contact our office with any questions: (913) 362-1600