William Faber, DO
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN HEALTH FREEDOM NEWS, JUNE 1990)
Injections of sodium morrhuate have been shown in scientific studies done by the University of Iowa to grow ligaments and tendons between 20%-40% stronger than the tendons and ligaments injected with a non-active substance.1, 2 The process produces a non-surgical tendon, ligament and joint reconstruction by taking advantage of the body’s own healing methods. Sodium morrhuate is a FDA approved substance which comes from cod liver fish-oil. By injecting into the area where tendon or ligament attaches to the bone controlled irritation caused fibroblasts (healing cells) to travel to the area and lay down connective tissue, thus repairing the torn or relaxed area.
Dr. Faber explained that in arthritis the ligaments, the main supporting fibers of the joints, become relaxed because the disc or cartilage has become worn thin or it has been ruptured which causes slack in the ligaments. The joints have become unstable and friction develops when they are used.
Bones respond to friction and stress by making more bone. This results in boney spurring arthritis. A normal weight bearing joint has discs or cartilage which acts as spacers to keep the ligaments tight; they also act as shock absorbers. Ligaments and tendons do not heal well on their own because of their lack of blood supply. The injection therapy works through the body’s own healing mechanisms to rebuild the weakened ligaments, tendons and joints. The controlled irritation of the injection technique causes a dilation of the vessels in the treated area and this aids the accumulation of the fibroblasts which produce the new protein tissue. Persons that may benefit from the therapy frequently have one or more of the following symptoms or conditions:
Signs and Symptoms that May be Improved
- arthritis in any joint in the body
- any popping, grinding, clicking, or snapping in a joint (all of these are signs of joint loosening and instability)
- any joint which is only partially helped by osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments/manipulation (or when adjustments or manipulations help but don’t hold) .
- manipulation frequently makes big improvements quickly. If prolonged manipulation is necessary this is an indication of joint instability and injection reconstructive therapy may be helpful.
- any musculo-skeletal problem which has failed with surgery and other methods
- any condition which is helped by a brace, splint, crutch, walker, lift or wheelchair. People that need these aids frequently have weakened or lax joints.
- deep aching which is alleviated some by constantly changing positions
- symptoms of decreased strength and endurance
- increased pain with increased activity (swimming, biking and walking may be exceptions)
- various conditions such as osteoporosis with compression fractures, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and spinal defects such as scoliosis and slipped spine
- any joint which swells chronically may be a candidate for resolution with this therapy. Swelling may be an indication of chronic friction from instability
- any joint, tendon, ligament, cartilage, for which cortisone, Indocin, Nalfon, Clinoril, Feldene, Motrin or other anti-inflammatory medications has been used may respond to reconstructive joint injection therapy
- conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Tears and temporal mandibular joint dysfunction may also respond to joint reconstruction injection therapy because joint, ligament, tendon, disc and cartilage weakening are involved
In Use Over 60 Years
The therapy was discovered in the United States in the 1920′s by George S. Hackett, M.D. of Canton, Ohio and by two osteopathic physicians, Gedney and Shumann, in Philadelphia.3, 5 The therapy never became widespread because the solution used is not a patented substance so there was no financial incentive for a pharmaceutical company to promote its use. Dr. Faber further warns that a physician must be specially trained in the use of sodium morrhuate and the techniques as death and paralysis have been reported complications. A person must also have a good enough biochemistry status to heal areas which have a poor blood supply. Many people think that if they have no symptoms that they can heal their tendons, joints and ligaments. This is not true, as biochemical problems can exist silently for many years before a symptom or tumor results.
Dr. Faber recommends a customized detoxification program using natural methods to remove waste products left by drugs, pollutants, both additives and poor diet. Appropriate supplementation, bowel and dietary changes are also often recommended. Dr. Faber points out that tendons and ligaments do not gain strength with exercise as many think. This is because there are no muscle fibers in a tendon or ligament. The non-surgical joint, tendon and ligament therapy is indicated for joint, tendon and ligament problems, which exercise and all other methods fail to help.
Although Medical Society guidelines do not permit public display of fees, Dr. Faber states that costs for this therapy is usually only a fraction of what a surgery costs and it also compares favorably with the cost of chair lifts, wheelchair braces, drugs and other aids which only help a patient live with the problem. The goal of the therapy is to permanently eliminate the patient’s need for these devices and to regain independence.5
Results Are Permanent
Dr. Faber points out that once a patient received enough therapy to reconstruct the joint, tendon and/or ligament the results are permanent.5 He states he had had four patients who were involved in major auto accidents within 1-3 years after the joints were found to remain strong even after their accidents. One must be like a farmer growing a crop. He must work at it; doing what is needed with enough repetition to regrow the tissues. To be complete this may take a few months to a year or more depending on the situation.
Each treatment session results in more and more tissue being laid down in the needed areas. As a result, the joints continue to become stronger. The patients note more endurance in that they can do more activities as well as activities they couldn’t do before. The main side effect of the treatment is less pain as the result of the joint being stabilized. Also, snapping, clicking and popping sounds go away. The patients can usually feel the joint becoming stronger with each treatment they receive.
In Dr. George S. Hackett’s monograph “Ligament and Tendon Relaxation Treated by Prolotherapy,” illustrations 1 and 4 show normal rabbit tendons which have been injected three times each. The tendon on the right has been given a proliferative solution. The left tendons have been given placebo injections. Hackett found that the tendons injected with the proliferative solutions were 35 to 40% larger in diameter and weight compared to the control injected left tendon. In his monograph Hackett states that 1600 patients with severe sacroiliac sprain were treated with reconstructive injections. They were examined by independent physicians 2 to 12 years after those remained free of pain or recurrences.3
Double-Blind Human Study Demonstrates Reconstruction Success
The Sansum Medical Clinic of Santa Barbara, California, led by Robert Klein, M.D., a rheumatologist, and Thomas Dorman, M.D., an internist, conducted the most difficult task of a double blind human study in cases of continuous low back pain patients who suffered for ten years on average. They divided 81 patients who have had surgery, medications, manipulations/adjustments, exercise, physical therapy and other treatments which failed to provide adequate relief.
One group was given manipulation and a reconstructive solution of dextrose, glycerine and phenol. The other group was given sham manipulation and a reconstructive solution of dextrose, glycerine and phenol. The other group was given sham manipulations and normal saline injections. Great care was taken to insure that neither the patient nor the physicians knew which solution was injected. Both groups were given a total of six sessions of treatment. The results were tabulated and then the code was broken. It was found that 88% of the group injected with the reconstructive solution had moderate to marked improvement. They reported their findings in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet on July 18, 1987.4
Strength 40% Increased Over Normal
Harold Walmer, D.O. of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania has performed reconstructive therapy since 1952. He became interested in the marked increase of the white areas of the x-rayed tendons of Dr. Hackett. He spearheaded the research which further explored the question of increased strength caused by reconstruction therapy. At the University of Iowa, Department of Orthopedic Research medial rabbit knee ligaments were injected with sodium morrhuate 5% three times. Sodium morrhuate is an FDA approved substance purified from distilled cod liver fish oil. The control ligaments were injected three times with normal saline solution. The ligaments were then mechanically pulled from the bone and the force required was recorded. It was found that mechanical strength of the morrhuate injected ligaments was some 35 to 40% over the normal ligament. Dr. Walmer states that it is this 35 to 40% increase in structure as well as mechanical strength over normal that makes the therapy exciting and dramatic in results.1, 2
He postulates that the above observations may explain the fact that numerous patients with severe conditions of long term advanced degeneration of bones, discs, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments, failed surgery, compression fractures, polio, muscular dystrophy and other advanced musculo-skeletal problems have been seen to have dramatically improved strength and endurance allowing them to literally throw away wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, braces and other aids. Dr. Walmer would like to obtain grant money for another university study to measure before and after strength of severely degenerated joints. He feels that people in wheelchairs and with others severely weakened joint conditions, may have only 20% of the normal strength. Since reconstruction therapy has been shown to increase size and strength by 35 to 40% over normal he speculates that increases of over 100% may be possible. (See Illustration 5). Dr. Walmer feels that grant research funds would be well spent in these times of increased medical surgical costs for more studies on this life restoring biological therapy. The therapy is estimated to be three to ten times more cost effective than joint surgery, joint replacement or spinal surgery. Studies need to be done here so that costs and rewards of the treatment can be evaluated. James Carlson, D.O., Knoxville, Tenn., orthopedic medicine and sports medicine specialist and past president of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, states that any pain or discomfort associated with receiving multiple injections is made up for ten fold in benefits received by the therapy.
Kent Pomeroy, M.D of Scottsdale, Arizona, a rehabilitation specialist and president of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, states dramatic results should be noted by the patient within the first weeks after the injections provided no severe swelling is present. If swelling occurs after the treatment, the patients need to wait until the swelling subsides before they can note improved strength and endurance., If marked improvement is not obtained after the first few prolotherapy treatments, then further laboratory and examination is recommended to find causes why the patient cannot reconstruct tissue.
How New Tissue is Made
Biology has very few laws but one law is the Arndt-Schultz Law. It states that small stimuli are stimulating. Large stimuli tend to inhibit. For example a little electrical current stimulates circulation and healing. A large electrical stimulation causes decreased circulation and cell death. Mild irritating reconstructive solutions cause dilation of blood vessels and a migration of fibroblasts (healing cells) to the injured areas. The fibroblasts then lay down collagen which is structural protein to repair the area. The University of Iowa and Dr. Hackett’s research substantiate this regrowth.
Rodney Chase, D.O. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a joint reconstruction therapist for over 30 years, has stated that because new tissue is created, the results must be considered permanent. He further advises that patients with losses of disc, cartilage, bone anatomy from surgery, fractures or degenerative disease, and those with severe scoliosis, receive periodic treatments after they reach their maximum level of improvement. Dr. Chase explains that with losses of structures, structural height or deformities these patients have been helped very significantly but need periodic treatment to maintain their optimal level of strength and function.
Contraindications and Side Effects
John Sessions, D.O., a reconstruction therapy and biological practitioner from Kirbyville, Texas, states the main side effect is less pain. This sometimes makes people think that they are cured and they overuse their treated body part. Dr. Sessions reminds them that reconstruction therapy is a natural process like growing grass from seed. “You don’t play baseball on new grass. You let it grow up to its maximum growth then you can play ball on it.”
William Kubitschek, D.O. of San Marcos, California states that a contraindication to getting the therapy is getting the therapy from a physician who has not specifically trained in reconstructive therapy. Further Dr. Kubitschek, in speaking as board of director and founding director of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine states, “Reconstructive therapists should know how to use various solutions in all the anatomical areas of the body if they are D.O.’s or M.D.’s. Dentists and podiatrists who have been specifically trained in reconstruction therapy use the therapy. Those not specifically trained in performing reconstruction therapy are simply not qualified to comment on its indications and use of this specialized therapy.”
The main effects are reconstruction and increased strength. It is not uncommon for joints to swell after injection. This may last a few days to week or longer. The treating reconstructive therapists should be contacted for any problems and follow-up. Other physicians simply don’t understand the procedure since they have had no special training.
The greatest complication is not having increased strength and endurance after the first few treatments. This means metabolic problems, since the treatment works through the body’s own natural healing processes.
Only a physician specially trained in reconstruction therapy can tell if a patient needs it.
Dr. Faber teaches the method to interested physicians throughout North America. He has training program available for interested doctors because this specialized injections technique is not taught in residency or in medical school. Additional training is necessary as the therapy may be dangerous if the doctor administering it has not had training in the therapy. In the hands of an experienced practitioner, however the therapy is safer than injection of cortisone.
Artificial Joints May Cause Cancer
Forbes magazine in an article titled “Asbestos Again” in June 12,1989 reported that metal implants placed in a million U.S. citizens each year dissolved in the body and place a heavy metal load in the body causing decreased immunity and cancer. Dr. Faber states that chelating physicians have known this for years because chelation removes metals from the body. Dr. Faber attended the American Congress of Orthopaedic Surgeons Convention eight years ago. It was stated there that 75% of all hip replacements loosen causing pain, lameness and re-replacement of more toxic metals. Dr. Faber states having a metal implant alone, not to mention dental amalgams as well as excessive metals in the water supply, is a reason to receive EDTA intravenous chelation therapy to remove metals from the body.
Case History #1
F.S., M.D., 69, sat with gnawing pain in his left hip. It had been increasing for years, but now he couldn’t do his favorite things, roller skating and artistic kite flying.
He went to his local hospital in Bellingham, Washington. The radiologist showed Dr. S. the severe degeneration easily seen throughout his hip joint. He said, “You need to have that hip replaced. See the orthopedic surgeon.”
Dr. S., an obstetrical and gynecological surgeon for 40 years, and graduate of Princeton, Yale and the State University of New York, Buffalo, was no stranger to the art of and science of surgery. He knew that all surgeries were potentially very dangerous. In his practice (he is now retired) he tried to avoid surgery at all costs. He believed that the body heals itself. The physician or surgeon can best help the patient by avoiding drugs and surgery. Optimized healing is the best way. The body is smarter than we’ll ever be. Hip surgery was not his area of expertise. He only knew that an artificial hip wasn’t for him.
In February 1987 an article appeared that caught his eye. It was titled “Permanent Stabilization of Tendons, Ligaments and Joints.” When he read the article he could see this may be the alternative he was looking for. He made arrangements and flew to Milwaukee. Dr. Faber conducted examination and reviewed x-rays.
Dr. Faber gave Dr. F.S. aggressive therapy, treating him 4 times that week. He told him, “Go back to Washington and call me when you notice a change.” Dr. Faber received a call the next week. Dr. S. said, “I can feel the strength in my hip. I can walk, climb stairs and get out of chairs much easier than I could before.
“Your body has a healing ability and is saying a strong yes to reconstruction therapy. You now just need to repeat the therapy until maximum strengthening occurs.” He was told to see Richard Koch, D.O., a reconstruction therapist in Olympia, Washington for follow-up treatments. Dr. S. went and received continued improvement. He reports he skates, runs and does anything he wants without a second thought about his hip.
Case History #2
Stricken with polio for over 40 years C.K., age 75, couldn’t walk a straight line even though he wore heavy leg braces and used a cane. Every day he could tell he was weakening as walking was becoming more and more difficult for him. He had marked arthritis and multiple joint laxity.
C.K. had been told by a number of doctors at large medical centers that there was no help for hip and that he should not hope for improvement in his condition. They told him he would eventually be wheelchair confined. He was given treatment to his ankles, knees, hips, low back, hands and wrists. The patient was encouraged to note improvement after 40 years of steady decline. His independent walking improved considerably after starting reconstruction treatment.
- An In Situ Study of the Influence of a Sclerosing Solution in Rabbit Medical Colateral Ligaments and its Junction Strength. U.K. liu, Charles M. Tipton, Ronald D. Matthes, Toby G. Bedford, Jerry A. Maynard & Harold C. Walmer, Connective Tissue Research, 1983, Vol. II, p. 95-102, Gordon & Breach, Science Publishers, Inc.
- Morphological and Biochemical Effects of Sodium Morrhuate on Tendons. J.A. Maynard, V.A. Pedrini, A. Pedrini-Mille, B. Romanus & F. Ohlerking. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 3:236-248, Raven Press, New York, 1985.
- Hackett, M.D. George Stuart. Ligament and Tendon Relaxation Treated by Prolotherapy. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL, 1958.
- A New Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain. Ongley, Milne; Klein, Robert; Dorman, Thomas; Eek, Bjorn & Hubert, Lawrence J. The Lancet. July 18, 1987.
- Faber, W & Walker, M. Pain, Pain Go Away. Ishi Press International, Mountain View, CA 1990.
- Asbestos Again? Slutsken, G. Forbes, June 12, 1989.