Dr. Aiello introduces himself and describes prolotherapy and how it is used to treat joint conditions such as arthritis and hip and back injuries.
My name is Dr. Joseph Aiello. I am a family practice doctor in Spring Valley, California, which is slightly east of the hospital.
We serve East County, San Diego. I have been there since 1991 and practice basically in the same building, moved offices across the hall about two years ago.
Since 1991 I came through Alvarado Hospital, actually Alvarado sponsored me to come to San Diego through a medical group that was looking to hire a budding family practice doctor and started, after a couple of years became a partner with the group and have remained since.
General family practice, after about ten years of general practice I started trying to branch out a little bit and learned some medical acupuncture out of the UCLA continuing education division.
And after about ten years of doing that and general medicine, I decided to try some new techniques also. I know my patients have a lot of pain issues and I started to develop techniques for helping them to relieve their pain, non-surgical techniques that a lot of people are looking for.
Well prolotherapy has been around for a long time. It actually got started in the early 1900s when doctors that used to treat hernias, if you can imagine hernias with sclerotherapy.
And those doctors started getting the concept that maybe they could treat joint problems because basically a lot of times when people have pain in their joints it’s because the joints have become injured and with the injury they become lax, they become unstable.
The tendons used to be and the ligaments used to be nice and tight and after an injury they get stretched and they are not as tight and that creates an injury to the joint and an instability.
And with the instability the body is not happy with that and does what it can to try to treat that instability and correct it.
The body’s routine for doing that is to try to use the muscles above and below the joint to stabilize the joint because it cannot heal the ligaments any tighter than what they have already healed up.
But muscles are not designed to do that, they are designed for locomotion so they fatigue easily, they become cramped and they have chronic pain and that’s where people get chronic pain in their backs and their shoulders from the instability of the joints.
So these doctors determined that using prolotherapy, which is a technique where we inject a proliferant, an irritant into the joints, not into the joints but into the tendons and the ligaments around the joints, which have now become lax.
We can basically cause the body to heal itself and thicken the tendons and ligaments and thereby stabilizing that joint.
Then when the joint gets stabilized and more secure, the body doesn’t need to use the muscles as much to stabilize it and therefore the muscles can relax and they don’t need to work as hard and therefore the pain will go away.
So that’s the concept behind prolotherapy. It is not difficult to do. It involves basically using a proliferant, which is a basically a thickened sugar-water like dextrose and some Lidocaine which is numbing medicine to numb up the area.
And we just inject that into the area around the joints that are injured into the ligaments and tendons that are surrounding the joint.
Prolotherapy is basically an injection therapy and we can treat basically any joint in the body from ankles to knees to hips to backs to shoulders and necks, elbows, tennis elbow, golfer elbow, sports injuries and it’s really quite simple.
It is finding the area that is painful on the patient and then figuring out what areas to inject around that joint based on the anatomy that we have learned through medical school and training, and then injecting those areas with the proliferant, with the prolotherapy medicine.
Prolotherapy, I have had success with men and women. Women are as easily injured as men as far as doing traumatic type work, bending, back injuries, knees and hips with ageing.
This therapy is not only geared toward sports injuries or acute injuries it’s also geared towards ageing, like arthritis.
So we can help women that have hip injuries that may not necessarily want to proceed to surgery, lower back injuries – those have been my biggest success for the female population and not in young women necessarily.
One of my patients was about 70-years-old and came to me with a lower back injury and I had, this was before I was doing prolotherapy, I had sent her to a pain specialist and she was having minimal results with him.
And finally he said, “Hey, go back see Dr. Aiello and tell him to work on your hip regarding, and try the prolotherapy on the hip.” And initially when she came to me she was having chronic pain, a lot of pain medicines.
She was unable to go to the mall and walk around for more than one store at a time without taking a rest with her daughter. It was unpleasant, and that was what she really wanted to try to deal with, with getting around.
We tried initial therapy with the prolotherapy. I then did a platelet rich plasma therapy on her a couple of times and eventually she was able to walk the malls with discomfort, but now she didn’t have to stop at every store.
She was able to go with her daughter to do these things for fun and have an enjoyable time, not worry about it.
And she told me last month that she was able to go to craft fair with her daughter what she would never have done in the past. That’s just, I mean that to me is very pleasing that I can help someone in that way – life-changing.
About Dr. Joseph Aiello, D.O.:
Dr. Joseph Aiello, D.O., attended Osteopathic Medical School at the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City, Missouri and completed a Family Practice Residency at Brentwood Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio in 1991. Dr. Aiello is licensed in California and board certified in Family Practice by the American College of Osteopathic Family Practitioners. He acquired additional training in acupuncture in 2001 through the UCLA department of Continuing Medical Education.