Ross Hauser, M.D. Prolotherapy Doctor in Oak Park near Chicago and Fort Myers Florida
Ross Hauser, MD, is considered to be one of the leading experts, researchers and innovators in the field of Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, and Stem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis and joint repair.
Hemwall-Hackett Prolotherapy Treatments
Prolotherapy in Chicago Area since 1993.
Ross Hauser, MD is one of the few doctors who has been practicing Prolotherapy on a full time basis since 1993. The Hemwall-Hackett Prolotherapy Technique embraced by many physicians was taught directly to him by Gustav A. Hemwall, MD, who learned it from the originator of Prolotherapy, George S. Hackett, MD.
Having worked alongside Dr. Hemwall for years, Dr. Hauser quickly gained immense experience and wisdom with regards to treating patients in pain. Dr. Hauser was given the opportunity to then take over Dr. Hemwall’s practice and continue the legacy of providing Hackett-Hemwall Prolotherapy to patients with pain and injuries.
Dr. Hauser practices what he now calls Comprehensive Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy. In short, Comprehensive Prolotherapy means treating all of the structures that are causing the pain. This involves providing many injections (vs just 1 or 2 shots) in order to treat the entire area that is causing the pain. it also involves adjusting the Prolotherapy injection solution to fit the patient’s individual needs. Dr. Hauser will use different solutions for the injections based on the severity of the condition, the type of condition, and the patient’s symptoms and goals. Sometimes this involves using the basic dextrose solution, but other times it means adjusting the solution to make it stronger by adding fatty acid extract or other nutrients, as well as some form of Platelet Rich Plasma therapy or Stem Cell Therapy.
Platelet Plasma Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma: Dr. Hauser was one of the first Prolotherapy doctors to add platelet rich plasma to his practice. Platelet rich plasma is used as the Prolotherapy solution and is enhanced with growth factors from the patient’s blood. Dr. Hauser uses PRP to treat joint injuries such as arthritis, arthrofibrosis, cartilage defects, meniscus injuries, labrum tears, and other joint injuries.
Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Dr. Hauser uses healing cells from the patients’ bone marrow or fat for injections into the injured joints, ligaments, and/or tendons. Dr. Hauser obtains the bone marrow from either the tibia or the iliac crest in an in-office procedure. The bone marrow is then injected into the injured area(s) and the surrounding area(s) are also treated with Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy. Stem cell Prolotherapy from fat (lipoaspirate) in Dr. Hauser’s practice involves aspirating the fat from the love handle or abdominal area and combining this with PRP, processing, and then injecting into the patients’ injured area(s).
Stem cell injections combined with Hackett-Hemwall Prolotherapy will form living tissue that can be just as strong or stronger than the original damaged tissue(s).
Prolotherapy research from Ross Hauser, MD
Understanding available nonoperative treatment options
Researchers have acknowledged that osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the most common causes of disability and it continues to increase in prevalence as the older adult and obese populations grow. Often, the general practitioner is the first to evaluate a patient with a painful knee that has arthritis. Evidence-based evaluation and treatment guidelines recommend the use of nonoperative treatments before surgical treatment options such as total knee replacement are considered. Understanding available nonoperative treatment options is critical for physicians who first encounter patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. 1
Understanding the available non-operative treatment options is a critical responsibility for the physician and relaying this information to the patient helps the chronic pain patient understand the ramifications of surgery.
The bias towards surgery among physicians
Despite calls that surgery should be a last resort – many doctors have already predetermined in their mind that surgery is the best route and in fact the only route.
In research published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, doctors noted that when screening was set up to determine actual need for surgery, trained doctors using standardized tools to assess the need for surgical intervention were able to reduce the number of surgical recommendations by half. Further this type of study was need because “Few conservative management options were tried before (surgical) referral, indicating the need to enhance presurgical care for patients with knee osteoarthritis. 2
Quality of life impact following surgery
The reason doctors are reminded to recommend non-surgical options first are many:
1. Surgical rehabilitation is much longer after surgery than for more conservative treatments, sometimes requiring many days of hospitalization and months of rehabilitative therapy.
2. Out of pocket co-pays can be very financially draining compared to more conservative treatments.
3. Surgery is much more traumatic to receive. It puts a great stress on the body and can sometimes cause the patient to feel less confident using the surgerized limb.
4. Surgery irreversibly alters the patient’s God-given anatomy.
5. Can put a patient at risk for a long list of risk-related complications.
Except in a life threatening situation or impending neurologic injury, surgery, with its many possible complications, should always be a last resort and done only after all conservative treatments have been exhausted. Chronic pain is not a life-threatening situation! It can be very anxiety provoking, life demeaning, and aggravating, but it is not an emergency. Pain should not be an automatic indication that surgery is necessary
Why are you getting a surgical recommendation?
Most of the joints in the body are synovial joints, or freely movable joints. These joints function as a result of the unique properties of the articular cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones. If the cartilage is damaged or removed, so is the functioning of the joint, which suffers as bone rubs against bone instead of cartilage over cartilage. In other words, healthy cartilage means healthy joints. Unfortunately, traditional medical treatments for injuries, including surgery, almost always compromise cartilage.
Surgery can be broadly classified into open repair, in which a surgical incision is made for direct access and visualization of the injury site, and closed, or arthroscopic, repair, in which a miniature camera is used to look into the joint through a small hole, and specially designed tools are used to repair the tissue. Surgery almost always involves the removal of bone, ligaments and tendons. Many different types of surgery are common, including:
- rotator cuff surgery: arthroscopic surgery done to clean scar tissue and damage to the joint surfaces, as well as repair the tear of the rotator cuff.
- hip replacement: replacement of the joint in which the diseased bone tissue and cartilage is removed from the hip joint, replacing the head of the femur (the ball) and the acetabulum (the socket) with new, artificial parts; the healthy parts of the joint are left intact.
- knee surgery, also called arthroscopy: although intended to “explore” the knee joint to determine the cause of the problem, it usually involves some scraping, burning and/or cutting of valuable cartilage. (See our article on articular cartilage repair.)
- laminectomy: the most common back surgery, which involves the surgical removal of the posterior arch of a vertebra; results in problems similar to those of a discetomy.
- lumbar spinal fusion: fuses vertebrae together, which often leads to ligament laxity and spinal instability as other parts of the spine attempt to compensate for this new, rigid section.
- ankle fusion: similar to a spinal fusion, it fuses the shinbone to the talus, immobilizing an area to eliminate pain, but often leading to more pain due to ligament laxity and compensation in other areas and joints.
- discectomy: a disc is removed to alleviate lower back pain; this often results in more back pain as the surgery causes ligament laxity and instability of the spine.
Few injuries, and especially sports injuries, all of which almost always involve the ligaments and tendons, require surgery. High-tech diagnostic tools, such as MRIs and CT scans, are used to determine the need for surgery, yet do not accurately diagnose ligament and tendon injuries. A common myth is that MRIs will show the problem and that surgery will fix the problem. Not true. In addition, MRIs have frequently shown problems when there are none. The result: unnecessary surgery fraught with all kinds of complications. Read on for a convincing list of why to avoid surgery.
Benefits of Prolotherapy Treatments
The consequences of surgery, even “small surgery” such as arthroscopy, can be disastrous. Prolotherapy has been shown to be a much more viable and effective treatment option because it stimulates the body to repair the injured ligament and tendon tissue. In a very short time, the ligaments and tendons are stronger, and the injury pain and weakness are eliminated. Prolotherapy can also significantly decrease the rehabilitation time for an injury to heal. For athletes who have already had surgery, Prolotherapy has a high success rate for strengthening the surgerized area.
Prolotherapy or Surgery for Shoulder Instability
In published research in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, M.D, et al. investigated the outcomes of patients undergoing Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy treatment for unresolved shoulder pain at a charity clinic in rural Illinois. A sample of 94 patients were studied with an average of 53 months of unresolved shoulder pain that were treated quarterly with Prolotherapy. An average of 20 months following their last Prolotherapy session, patients were contacted and asked numerous questions in regard to their levels of pain and a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, as well as activities of daily living, before and after their last Prolotherapy treatment. The results of this study showed that patients had a statistically significant decline in their level of pain, stiffness, and crunching sensations (crepitation), including the 39% of patients who were told by their medical doctors that there were no other treatment options for their pain and the twenty-one percent who were told that surgery was their only option. Over 82% of all patients experienced improvements in sleep, exercise ability, anxiety, depression, and overall disability with Prolotherapy. Ninety-seven percent of patients received pain relief with Prolotherapy. “ 3
Prolotherapy or Surgery for Knee Osteoarthritis and ligament damage
In published research in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, M.D, et al. investigated the outcomes of patients undergoing Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy treatment for unresolved knee. The results of this study showed that patients had a statistically significant decline in their level of pain, stiffness, crunching sensation, and improvement in their range of motion with Prolotherapy. More than 82% showed improvements in walking ability, medication usage, athletic ability, anxiety, depression, and overall disability with Prolotherapy. Ninety-six percent of patients felt Prolotherapy improved their life overall. 4
Prolotherapy or Surgery for elbow pain
In published research in Practical Pain Management, Ross Hauser, M.D, et al, demonstrated that the Hackett-Hemwall technique of dextrose prolotherapy used on patients with an average duration of four years and one month of unresolved elbow pain—and interviewed thirty-one months out from their last prolotherapy session—was shown in this observational pilot study to improve patients’ quality of life. They reported less pain, stiffness, depression and anxiety, pain medication usage, as well as improved range of motion, sleep, and exercise ability. This included patients who were told by their medical doctor(s) that no other treatment options for their unresolved elbow pain existed. Over 73% of participants reported that improvement in their elbow pain and stiffness since receiving their last prolotherapy treatment had continued unabated to the day of being questioned. 5
Prolotherapy or Surgery for hip pain
In published research in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, M.D, et al, studied sixty-one patients, representing 94 hips who had been in pain an average of 63 months, were treated quarterly with Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy. This included a subset of 20 patients who were told by their medical doctor(s) that there were no other treatment options for their pain and a subset of eight patients who were told by their doctor(s) that surgery was their only option. In these 94 hips, pain levels decreased from 7.0 to 2.4 after Prolotherapy; 89% experienced more than 50% of pain relief with Prolotherapy; more than 84% showed improvements in walking and exercise ability, anxiety, depression and overall disability; 54% were able to completely stop taking pain medications. 6
Prolotherapy or surgery for wrist pain
Wrist pain is a common complaint, usually as a result of overuse, repetitive strain, or trauma, at work or during sports. In a retrospective study published in Practical Pain Management , Ross Hauser, M.D. reports on patients treated during 2000 to 2005 with dextrose prolotherapy for unresolved wrist pain (with an average pain duration of 52 months) at a volunteer charity clinic in rural Illinois. Improvements in many quality of life parameters were achieved in this patient population who received the Hackett-Hemwall dextrose prolotherapy for their wrist pain. This patient population experienced wrist pain for an average of four years and four months prior to receiving treatment. Upon interview at twenty-two months, on average, after their last prolotherapy sessions, this study revealed improvement in patients’ quality of life parameters such as pain, stiffness, depression and anxiety, medication usage, as well as range of motion, sleep, and exercise ability. This included patients who were told no other treatment options existed or that surgery was their only option for their unresolved wrist pain. Ninety percent of patients had 50% or more pain relief and 88% felt improvement in their stiffness levels. All patients who were taking pain medications prior to receiving prolotherapy were able to reduce the frequency of required medications after receiving prolotherapy.
Prolotherapy or surgery for articular cartilage repair
Published in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, M.D., introduced research that confirmed articular cartilage regeneration in five patients with Osteoarthritis “Prolotherapy improved the pain and function in five knees with osteoarthritis. All five degenerated knees showed evidence of articular cartilage regeneration in their standard weight-bearing X-rays after Prolotherapy. It is suggested that before and after X-ray studies can be used to document the response of degenerated joints to Prolotherapy.” 8
Prolotherapy is the only treatment found to stimulate cartilage repair and regeneration, as is shown by the X-rays.
Prolotherapy or surgery for meniscal repair
Published in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, M.D., et al, examined the use of dextrose Prolotherapy on patients with MRI documented meniscal pathology including tears and degeneration, interviewed an average of 18 months after their last Prolotherapy treatment, was shown in this retrospective pilot study to improve patients’ quality of life. Most patients reported statistically significantly less pain and stiffness and major improvements in range of motion, crepitation of the knee, medication usage, walking ability, and exercise ability. The improvements with Prolotherapy met the expectations of the patients in over 96% of the knees to the point where surgery was not needed. Prolotherapy improved knee pain and function regardless of the type or location of the meniscal tear or degeneration. The improvements were so overwhelmingly positive that Hackett-Hemwall Prolotherapy should be considered as a first-line treatment for pain and disability caused by meniscal tears and degeneration. 9
Prolotherapy or surgery for low back pain
Presenting findings in the Journal of Prolotherapy, Ross Hauser, et al. investigated the outcomes of patients undergoing Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy treatment for chronic low back pain.
One hundred forty-five patients, who had been in pain an average of four years and ten months, and were treated quarterly with Hackett-Hemwall dextrose Prolotherapy were examined.
This included a subset of 55 patients who were told by their medical doctor(s) that there were no other treatment options for their pain and a subset of 26 patients who were told by their doctor(s) that surgery was their only option. Patients were contacted an average of 12 months following their last Prolotherapy session and asked questions regarding their levels of pain, physical and psychological symptoms and activities of daily living, before and after their last Prolotherapy treatment.
Results: In these 145 low backs, pain levels decreased from 5.6 to 2.7 after Prolotherapy; 89% experienced more than 50% pain relief with Prolotherapy; more than 80% showed improvements in walking and exercise ability, anxiety, depression and overall disability; 75% percent were able to completely stop taking pain medications.(10)
Prolotherapy or surgery for TMJ/TMD
In this observational study, Ross Hauser, M.D., et al examined the use of the Hemwall- Hackett technique of dextrose Prolotherapy used on patients who presented with over five years of unresolved TMJ pain and dysfunction were shown to improve their quality of life even eighteen months subsequent to their last prolotherapy session. All patients reported significantly reduced levels of pain, stiffness, crunching sensation, disability, depression, anxiety, medication, and other pain therapy. They also reported improved range of motion and sleep. The results confirm that prolotherapy is a treatment that should be highly considered for people suffering with unresolved temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction. (11)
Prolotherapy or surgery for Morton’s Neuroma
Writing in the Foot and Ankle Online Journal, Ross Hauser, M.D., et al studied the use of the Hackett-Hemwall technique of Dextrose Prolotherapy on patients averaging 1.5 years of unresolved pain with Morton’s neuroma was shown to improve their quality of life, which continued 13.3 months after their last session. The 17 patients treated with Prolotherapy reported significantly less pain, stiffness, disability, or use of other pain therapies, as well as improvements in walking, range of motion, ability to exercise, and performing activities of daily living.
Patients told that there were no other treatments for pain or that surgery was their only option achieved the same positive results. This study justifies the desirability and use of Prolotherapy for Morton’s neuroma pain. (12)
1. Van Manen MD, Nace J, Mont MA. Management of primary knee osteoarthritis and indications for total knee arthroplasty for general practitioners. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Nov;112(11):709-15.
2. Klett MJ, Frankovich R, Dervin GF, Stacey D. Impact of a surgical screening clinic for patients with knee osteoarthritis: a descriptive study. Clin J Sport Med. 2012 May;22(3):274-7. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318248ed24.
3. Hauser RA, Hauser MA. A Retrospective Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Shoulder Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;4:205-216.
4. Hauser RA, Hauser MA. A Retrospective Study on Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Knee Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois.Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;1:11-21.
5. Hauser RA, Hauser MA, Holian P. Hemwall dextrose prolotherapy helped reduce pain and stiffness and clinically improved the quality of life in people with unresolved elbow pain. Practical Pain Management October 1, 2009.
6. A Retrospective Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Hip Pain. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;2:76-88.
7. Hauser RA, Hauser MA, Holian P. Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Wrist Pain. November 1, 2009.
8. Hauser RA, Cukla JJ. Standard Clinical X-ray Studies Document Cartilage Regeneration in Five Degenerated Knees After Prolotherapy. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;1:22-28.
9. Hauser R, Phillips HJ, Maddela HS. The Case for Utilizing Prolotherapy as First-Line Treatment for Meniscal Pathology: A Retrospective Study Shows Prolotherapy is Effective in the Treatment of MRI-Documented Meniscal Tears and Degeneration. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2010;2(3):416-437.
10. Hauser RA, Hauser MA. Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Low Back Pain: A Retrospective Case Series Study. Journal of Prolotherapy 2009;1:145-155
11. Hauser RA, Hauser MA, Blakemore KA. Prolotherapy or surgery for Tempomandibular Joint Disease (TMD). Practical Pain Management. October 1. 2007
12. Hauser RA, Feister WA, Brinker DK. Dextrose Prolotherapy Treatment for Unresolved “Morton’s Neuroma” Pain FAOJ June 1, 2012
Ross Hauser, MD, et al. Regenerative injection therapy with whole bone marrow aspirate for degenerative joint. Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 Sep 4;6:65-72. doi: 10.4137/CMAMD.S10951.
Ross Hauser, MD, et al. Dextrose Prolotherapy with Human Growth Hormone to Treat Chronic First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Pain. The Foot and Ankle Online Journal 5 (9): 1
Ross Hauser, MD. Punishing the pain. Treating chronic pain with prolotherapy. Rehab Manag. 1999 Feb-Mar;12(2):26-8, 30.
Ross Hauser, MD., et al. A Retrospective Study on Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Knee Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2009;1:11-21.
Ross Hauser, MD., et al. Evidence-Based Use of Dextrose Prolotherapy for Musculoskeletal Pain: A Scientific Literature Review Journal of Prolotherapy. 2011;3(4):765-789.
Ross Hauser, MD., et al. Ligament Injury and Healing: An Overview of Current Clinical Concepts
Dr. Hauser is not only a Prolotherapy doctor and researcher, he is also the Medical Director and co-founder of the Prolotherapy and natural medicine clinic in Oak Park, Illinois called – Caring Medical Regenerative Medicine Clinics – Providing Prolotherapy in the Chicago area as well as Southern Florida.
Prolotherapy is a medical procedure that stimulates the body to repair painful, injured areas. Dr. Hausert trained under the one of the founding Prolotherapy doctors Gustav Hemwall, as mentioned above, who has also been called “the grandfather of Prolotherapy”.
Dr. Hauser has written extensively on the subject of Prolotherapy. You can find his articles for the patient and physician throughout this website. For the patient, Dr. Hauser has written Prolotherapy Patient Information, Prolotherapy safety and side effects. In this article Dr. Hauser explains to the patient receiving Prolotherapy in a Primary Care Practice.
Dr. Hauser received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He completed his internship at Hines VA Hospital and his residency at Loyola-Marianjoy Hospitals in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a board certified Physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist.)