Non-Surgical Tendon, Ligament and Joint Reconstruction


Non-Surgical Tendon, Ligament and Joint Reconstruction

In acute injuries, the ligaments and tendons become torn. Ligaments function to limit the range of motion that bones can move between each other, and function to stabilize joints and hold the joint together. Tendons function to attach a muscle to bone in order to provide motion. Discs and cartilage serve to absorb shock and keep the bones from rubbing against one another. If the ligaments become torn or overstreched the joint becomes unstable and resultant friction causes the discs or cartilage to become worn down causing a loss of height. The disc and cartilage may also become worn away by repeated motion. This loss of height causes further ligament laxity and thus more instability. The friction of the joint is a stress. Bones respond to stress by making more bone. This results in bone spurring which is the body's attempt to splint or stabilize the unstable joint. Degenerative disease is merely the body's attempt to stabilize joints as the tendons and ligaments have not been ab le to heal because of lack of blood supply. If a patient has considerable degenerative arthritis, the loss of disc or cartilage height causes a laxity of the supporting ligaments. This causes joint instability. Reconstruction has been shown to be effective in these conditions, causing the lax ligaments to become strengthened, thus stabilizing the joint and allowing for increased function and endurance.

Reconstruction therapy (also known as sclerotherapy and proliferative) is given by a slender needle similar to the hairline needles of the acupuncturist, into the fibro-osseous junction. This is the area where the tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. The substance used is sodium morrhuate which comes from cod liver fish oil and a local anesthetic. Repeated studies at the University of Iowa have shown that areas injected have increased in size by 35% to 40%, thus causing permanent strengthening.

Therapy Benefits

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 patient notes more endurance, 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 a result of the joint being stabilized. Also, snapping, clicking, and popping sounds go away or decrease. The patients can usually feel the joint becoming stronger with each treatment they receive.

In Dr. George S. Hackett's monograph Ligament and Tendon Relation Treated by Prolotherapy, illustrations #5 and #6 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 and article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hackett states that 1600 patients with severe sarcoiliac sprain were treated with reconstructive injections. They were examined by independent physicians 2 to 12 years after treatment was completed and 82% remained free of pain or recurrences.

Double-Blind Study Demonstrates Reconstruction Success

In a study at the Sansum Medical Clinic of Santa Barbara, California led by Robert Klein, M.D., a rheumatologist, and Thomas Dorman, M.D., an internist, they conducted the most difficult task of a double-blind study in the most difficult cases of continuous low back pain patients who suffered for ten years or longer. They divided 81 patients who had surgery, medications, manipulation adjustments, exercise, physical therapy and other treatments which failed to provide adequate relief for 10 or more years.

One group was given 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 treatments. It was found that 88% of the group injected with the reconstructive solution had moderate to marked improvement. They reported their finding in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lanceton July 18, 1987.

40% More Strength and Endurance Proven Possible

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 this is consistent with the clinical results he and other skilled reconstruction therapists have noted for many years. Dr. Wa lmer feels that it is this 35% to 40% increased structure as well as mechanical strength over normal, that makes the therapy so exciting and dramatic in the results frequently obtained. 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 musculoskeletal 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 is pursuing grant money for another university study to measure before and after strength of severely degenerated joints. He feels that people in wheelchairs and other severely weakened joint conditions may leave the patient with only 20% of the normal strength. Since reconstruction therapy has been shown to increase size and str ength by 35 to 40% over normal, he speculates that increases of over 100% may be possible. Dr. Walmer feels that grant research funds would be well-spent in these times of increased medical and surgical costs, for more studies on this life-restoring biological therapy. The therapy is estimated to be 3 to ten times more cost effective than joint surgery, joint replacement or spinal surgery. Studies need to be done so that costs and rewards of the treatment can be evaluated. James Carlson, D.O., Knoxville, Tennessee, 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 from the therapy.

Kent Pomeroy, M.D. of Scottsdale, Arizona, a rehabilitation specialist and president of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, says dramatic results should be noted by the patient within the first week after the injections, provided no severe swelling is present. If swelling occurs after the treatment, the patient needs to wait until the swelling subsides before they can note improved strength and endurance. If marked improvement is not obtained after the first few treatments, then further laboratory examination is recommended to find why the patient cannot reconstruct tissue.

How New Tissue is Made

Biology has very few laws but one 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.

The Results of Reconstructive Therapy are Permanent

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 loss 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 loss of structures, structural height or deformities, these patients have been helped significantly but need periodic treatment to maintain their optimal level of strength and function.

Contraindications and Side Effects

John Sessions, D.O., a reconstruction therapist and biological practitioner from Kirbyville, Texas, finds that the main side effect is less pain. This sometimes makes people think that they are cured and they overuse the 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 the therapy is getting the therapy from a physician who has not specifically trained in reconstructive therapy. Further, Dr. Kubitschek, in speaking as Director of the Board and founding Director of the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, states that "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 use the therapy have been specifically trained in reconstruction 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 side-effect of the therapy is less pain. 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 a week or longer. The treating reconstructive therapists should be contacted for any problems and follow-up. Refer to chapter 5 and other pages of Pain, Pain Go Away for further discussion.

The greatest complication is not having increased strength and endurance after the first treatment or two. 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. However, one can get a good idea if one needs it by positive responses to the following questions:

Indications for Reconstructive Therapy

- Patients advised by a physician to take aspirin or an equivalent like Nalfon, Feldene, Clinoril, Naprosyn, Motrin or a cortisone-like medicine (Prednisone) for joint, tendon or ligament problems.

- Joint, tendon or ligament pain or lack of endurance for longer than six weeks.

- Only temporary relief from manipulation/adjustments or other body therapies such as rolfing, massage, physical therapy, hot packs.

- Diagnosis of arthritis, degenerative joint disease and worn cartilages or discs.

- Failed orthopedic or neurosurgery with chronic pain.

- Joints that click, grind, snap or pop.

- A joint that slips out of place or buckles.

- The need to change positions of a joint frequently.

- In general, if the problem is worse after activity or exercise (except swimming) and better with rest.

- A joint which swells after use.

- A splint or brace helps the joint.

In general, a patient notes a marked improvement after the first six injection series. It is then a matter of repeating the treatment enough times to bring the joint back to full strength and function. Usually repeated sessions are needed in all joints except the low back, wrist and elbow which require about twice as many or more, depending on response to treatment, the amount of damage, and the body's total healing ability. Most patients need 12 to 30 sessions. Some need 30 or more for maximum healing.

The therapy was started in America over 60 years ago. It has spread to Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Over 600,000 patients have been successfully treated for numerous joint, tendon and ligament problems including failed surgeries, chronic low back pain, compression fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, migraine headaches, whiplash, torn knee cartilage and ligaments, many forms of arthritis, degenerative joint disease and failed joint replacements such as the hip and knee.

People sometimes ask why there aren't more doctors doing this therapy. The main reason appears to be that this treatment has not received the backing pharmaceutical companies give to other drug therapies since the substances used in reconstructive therapy are not able to be patented and thus do not create the huge profits that other drug therapies do. Reconstruction also requires specialized training and many physicians are not able to find time from their practices for this specialized training.

In summary, reconstruction therapy is an excellent therapy which patients need to be made aware of. After this therapy, patients have been shown to have increased strength and endurance and the results have been scientifically documented.



Case Report:

Failed Cervical and Lumbar Surgery

(John Trowbridge, M.D., Humble, Texas)

At age 14, I was running track and developed low back pain. I started seeing a chiropractor one or two times a week for five years. It helped and kept me going, but didn't alter the course of constant aching, pulling, nagging back pain. When I was a junior in college, after moving furniture, I went as an emergency to a medical center and was told I had degenerative disc and inflammation of L4-5 and L5-S1 discs. They gave rest, exercise, Tylenol #3, Darvon Compound-65, Indocin and Butazolidin Alka. These medications fogged my brain and gave me G.I. upset. They didn't change the course of the now constant back pain.

Over the next 10 years any little bending over to pick up a pencil might cause my back to go out. I'd get more chiropractic, medications and have to be flat on my back for a few days to three weeks.



In April of 1979, while moving into a new house, I sprained my neck. It just worsened the next week. Then I lost grasp of my left hand. I was admitted for a week of therapy. I got better, went back to work and then it happened again. Finally on 6-19-79, I had a cervical laminectomy surgery. I had a long and painful post-op recovery wearing a hard cervical collar for two months. One thing I didn't mention was that the cervical myelogram activated my sciatic pain once again. I clearly recall begging my surgeon to operate on my low back at the same time. My life continued to deteriorate. If I did any activity like vacuuming, or grocery shopping, I paid dearly for it. I'd grit my teeth to get through each day.

In November, Thanksgiving 1988, I went bowling. I slipped with the ball and fell. I called my neurosurgeon who got me a MRI scan. It showed complete herniated disc at L4-5. I awoke after surgery without pain and in two days, I was back to work. All went well until putting on my cowboy boots for "Go Texan Day" in late February 1989. I got a sudden stabbing low back pain and went to my pharmacy for pain and muscle relaxants. I put my back brace on. Over the next year I had the feeling my back was unstable. It would just slip and bite. On April 10, 1990, while preparing for a trip, it failed me again.

The next months I had increasing pain in my back and leg. I had to be very careful and still had pain just turning in bed. I interviewed Dr. Bill Faber for my syndicated 150 station radio show "Finally Feeling Better." Reading Pain, Pain Go Away in preparation for the show revealed that someone finally understood precisely what my problem was and had the ideal solution. Dr. Faber treated me carefully after reviewing my entire life history. Immediately I could tell the deep aching pain was relieved in my back and leg. I took my plane trips without nearly as much discomfort as before. I noticed over days my neck and back strengthening. I had for the first time, more confidence in getting out of cars and chairs. The following treatments provided even more relief. I could now lift my 23 lb. daughter with much more comfort. I don't need chiropractic treatment now nor do I take pain medications. I no longer wear my back braces.

After my second treatment, I decided to take Dr. Faber's preceptorship course so I could provide these wonderful treatments to those in need.

I figure I spent close to $120,000 on my back and neck for medications, hospitalizations, surgeries, therapy and chiropractic treatments. This is not to mention the lost time from work and enjoyment of life. I have found that Reconstruction Therapy was the most valuable of any of the treatments I have received and it only costs a small fraction of what I previously spent. The most costly medical bill is for the modality that doesn't get results.

Case Report: Spondylolisthesis

Did I have a problem with 24 hour around the clock pain. Over two years of it. My problem was a lumbar spondylolisthesis. This is a break in the vertebra causing my spine to slip forward off of its base. That affected me by causing deep aching pain in my low back which worsened with activities. I sought the help of a large well-known clinic. They wanted to fuse my back with surgery. I went to Dr. Faber for this problem and he told me Reconstruction Therapy was better than surgery for my condition. I was not fond of injections, but I had seen the poor results of surgery performed on many of my friends. I decided to do Reconstruction.


One thing is for certain, Reconstruction Therapy fully restored my back. I can golf, water ski, swim, hunt, do landscaping (my hobby) and other activities that used to cause me severe pain.

My therapy was completed over 8 years ago. I have had no recurrences. I consider my back reconstructed and cured.

Craig A. Ewald, VP

Ewald Automotive Group

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


William J. Faber, D.O.

6529 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53218

(1.) M.J. Ongley, R.G. Klein. T.A. Dorman, B.C. Eek & L.J. Hubert, A New Approach to the Treatment Chronic Low Back Pain, The Lancet, July 18, 1987.

(2.) Y.K. Liu, Charles M. Tipton, Ronald O. Matthes, Toby G. Bedford, Jerry A. Maynard & Harold C. Walmer, An In Situ Study of the Influence of a Sclerosing Solution in Rabbit Medial Collateral Ligaments and its Junction Strength, Connective Tissue Research 1983, vol. 11, pp. 95-102. Gordon & Breach, Science Publishers, Inc.

(3.) J.A. Maynard, V.A. Pedrini, A. Pedrini-Mille, B. Romanus, & F. Ohlerking, Morphological and Biochemical Effects of Sodium Morrhuate on Tendons, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 3:236-248, Raven Press, New York, 1985.

(4.) Hackett, M.D., George Stuart, Ligament and Tendon Relaxation Treated by Prolotherapy. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL, 1958.

(5.) Faber, W., Walker, M., Pain, Pain Go Away, Ishi Press International, San Jose, Ca, 1990.

Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.


By William J. Faber

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