The Buffalo News publishes an article by Dr. Tim in the Health section March 17, 2005
Prolotherapy: A Natural Way of healing
Living with pain can be exhausting, and no one knows this better than Mary Rusk of Pittsford. Over 40 years ago, a horrible car accident left her suffering from whiplash and severe lower back and neck pain. Throughout the years, Mary saw a number of chiropractors that lessened the pain caused by the injury through manipulation, but never fully rid her of her pain.
“They would fix it and then it would be OK for a little while, but then the pain would come right back,” Mary said.
As the years went by, the pain remained and Mary found herself seeing a chiropractor up to three times per week.
Years later, Mary was given the name of a local osteopathic physician named Dr. Tim Speciale. She was skeptical that anyone could help her achieve a pain-free life, but decided to let him evaluate her anyway.
Dr. Speciale examined her and suggested a new form of therapy called prolotherapy. After only a few sessions, Mary found herself free of pain for the first time in her life since her accident.
“I know what it’s like to be in constant pain,” said Mary. “But now I also know what it’s like to be out of pain. I’ll never forget lying in my bed and thinking, “Oh my God, I’m pain-free!”
In today’s go-go-go world, it takes a lot to slow us down. When injuries oraccidents occur, our mind wants our body to heal as fast as possible so that we can get up and get moving again. Even with chronic pain, we search for a way to make it bearable so that it doesn’t interfere with our lives.
Thanks to the relatively new and ever-evolving avenue of prolotherapy, our bodies are able to heal naturally, faster and function properly to keep up with the physical demands of our everyday activities. From teenagers with athletic injuries to seniors who may suffer from a chronic illness, prolotherapy can help ease the pain and offer an option other than surgery and medication.
Prolotherapy, which was developed over 50 years ago by Dr. George Hackett, is a natural, non-surgical method of assisting the body to heal injured tendons and ligaments. It helps our body make new cells, which strengthens lax or torn tendons and ligaments.
When ligaments become relaxed and weak, nerves within and around the ligaments and tendons become stretched and irritated. The result is the pain you feel.
Prolotherapy works by injecting a small amount of a non-toxic irritant solution, made up of an anesthetic and Glucose H2O, through a small needle into the tendon or ligament. This stimulates the body to produce collagen, which then strengthens the tissue. When the tissue is strengthened, the nerves in that area are no longer stretched and irritated, thereby relieving the pain.
Dr. Speciale knows a lot about prolotherapy and he should, having studied under one of its pioneers, Dr. Gustav Hemwall, and practicing it for 15 years out of a small office based in Williamsville. He is a licensed doctor of osteopathy and also a board-certified family physician who truly cares about healing not only the ailment, but also the entire body as a whole.
Not only did Dr. Speciale help Mary heal fully, but he also helped her incorporate nutrition into her diet, which has helped her heal and maintain an active lifestyle. “It’s like going to get a miracle,” Mary exclaimed. “Dr. Speciale is special. He has a special gift.”
Now 70 years young, Mary is as energetic as ever. Even when she recently slipped and fell on a golf course, tearing ligaments in her knee, she was positive that Dr. Speciale could help her. After two sessions of prolotherapy, she was back swinging a golf club and aiming for a hole-in-one. “I really want people to get better,” said Dr. Speciale. “It’s not just a quick fix. I look at people holistically. I wonder what caused the injury, why they have the pain that they do, and what I can do to help them heal fully.”
Each individual is unique in that he or she may have the same type of injury but from a different cause. Dr. Speciale takes this into consideration by first conducting a thorough examination to determine the magnitude of the injury and its cause.
There are many factors that contribute to an injury or an illness, including a patient’s occupation, family and other levels of stress. Dr. Speciale attempts to look at the underlying cause, rather than simply treating the symptoms. There are often times when surgery and prescription medications can be avoided. While acting like a life coach, Dr. Speciale promotes wellness, which incorporates the whole patient: spiritually, physically, mentally, hormonally and nutritionally.
In addition to prolotherapy treatment, Dr. Speciale suggests natural hormone replacements for older patients whose bodies may not be able to reproduce these hormones on their own. He also advises his patients on nutrition, stress reduction and a variety of exercises that further the healing process.”There is about an 85% cure rate with prolotherapy. Patients usually feel better within three to four visits,” said Dr. Speciale.
According to G. Megan Shileds, MD of Prolo.com, prolotherapy has been scientifically observed to increase the size of tendons and ligaments up to 40% and has also been shown to increase their tensile strength by as much as 200%.”Every patient responds differently to prolotherapy,” Dr. Speciale explained. “It may take one treatment to cure you or it may take multiple sessions.”
Unfortunately, prolotherapy is not usually covered through insurance, even though it has reportedly cured thousands of patients. Being that prolotherapy is not the “usual and customary” treatment, most insurance companies deny coverage. Regardless, Dr. Speciale still believes in the treatment. “Prolotherapy is an up-and-coming practice,” he said confidently. “We are a society that is slow to change, but there are many others out there who believe in prolotherapy and support it.”
Whether you are an elite athlete, a person suffering from chronic back or neck pain, or someone recovering from a spinal cord injury or a stroke, the use of prolotherapy has proven to be beneficial in treating a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders that keep us healthy, restore movement and promote our ability to function at the highest level possible. “Prolotherapy is a natural and safe treatment that can cure many pain patterns, even if you have had them for 30 years or longer,” Dr. Speciale concluded. “Many patients who had lost all hope are grateful for the way prolotherapy has changed their lives.”