Latest Advances in Regenerative Medicine
For those suffering from acute or chronic pain, there are few treatments as effective as neural prolotherapy (NPT), a revolutionary advancement in regenerative medicine discovered by New Zealand physician John Lyftogt, MD. This technique is a natural way to treat neuropathic pain—that is, pain due to nerve inflammation—resulting from a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and chronic conditions.
This natural treatment promotes the healing of injured nerves and the restoration of tissue function. It involves a series of small, precise injections just beneath the skin. The injections deliver medicinal sugars along the pathway of tiny nerves that correspond to the painful region.
What is NPT?NPT is also sometimes referred to as neurofascial prolotherapy, subcutaneous prolotherapy or the Lyftogt technique. However, NPT is not the same as traditional prolotherapy.
Traditional prolotherapy involves injections administered deep in the affected area to promote the healing and repair of connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. NPT is injected at multiple points just below the surface of the skin to target nerve endings and reduce inflammation.
While both treatments promote healing, relieve pain, and restore compromised body function, approaching pain relief from different angles enhances the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
How does NPT work?Given the fact that NPT does not target tendons, ligaments or joints, patients often ask why there is a decline in pain levels— sometimes a dramatic decline—after just a few NPT treatments.
One working hypothesis is that with NPT injections, sugar helps repair the connective tissue in the nerves under the skin in much the same way that the connective tissue in ligaments and tendons is repaired with standard prolotherapy. These tiny nerves are known to be responsible for painful conditions such as neuralgia or peripheral neuropathic pain. These nerves consist of up to 80 percent connective tissue and are structurally quite similar to tendons and ligaments.
There is compelling scientific evidence that the very small nerve fibers that innervate the sheath of a larger nerve known as nervi nervorum are responsible for the inflammation of the connective tissue of the nerve trunk as well as other surrounding tissues. This fact has been known for more than 125 years.
This neurogenic inflammation differs from conventional inflammation in that it typically does not respond to cortisone injections or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). That’s one reason these commonly used drugs have proven to be ineffective for many painful conditions. There’s also growing awareness that their use is not without serious side effects. Conversely, NPT effectively reverses neurogenic inflammation and alleviates pain without any significant side effects due to its natural components. Patients often note almost immediate pain relief and increased range of motion in the affected areas.
Because this treatment is conservative and involves natural elements, it is safe and effective when administered by a properly trained physician. Currently there is only a select number of physicians worldwide who are highly trained and skilled in administering NPT.
To learn more about the science of NPT, read the 2011 article on the subject in the Journal of Prolotherapy (JournalOfProlotherapy.com).
Larisa N. Likver, MD, is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, credentialed by the American Academy of Pain Management, and certified in musculoskeletal sonography by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She learned the technique of NPT directly from its creator, John Lyftogt MD, and has offices in 315 MadisonA ve, Ste 806, NYC, 212-922-9030 and 8419 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, NY, 718-259-0199. See more at DrLikver.com.