Prolotherapy and Stem Cell Therapy [Interview][Transcript]

dr_charles_mahl_prolotherapyGuest: Dr. Charles Mahl
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Mahl is a former retinal surgeon. Following his own issues with back and hip pain he entered into his second career in regenerative medicine. His specialties are pain management using prolotherapy and stem cells to eradicate pain and negate surgery. Dr. Mahl is sought about by fellow physicians, celebrities and individuals from across the country and the US to be trained or treated by him. For more information, visit GenLife.

Segment overview: Dr. Charles Mahl, MD, FACS, FICS, talks about using prolotherapy and stem cells to eradicate pain and negate surgery.

Health Professional Radio – Prolotherapy and Stem Cell Therapy

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program today. I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional Radio, thank you so much for joining us. Our guest in studio is Dr. Charles Mahl, he’s a graduate of Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine in Chicago. He specializes in the practice of regenerative medicine which includes Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma injections and Stem Cells for pain management of musculoskeletal conditions. In addition, he’s also a physician volunteer with the Florida Reserve Medical Corps under the department of Homeland Security and he’s with us in studio today to discuss Prolotherapy and as I said Stem Cell pain management treatment. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Mahl.

Dr. Charles Mahl: Thank you Neal. I often get the question what is Prolotherapy because many, many people don’t really know about it. I’ve been a physician for close to 40 years now and I myself can hear the word Prolotherapy until about maybe 8 years ago and I found the word on the internet when I was searching for alternatives to routine conventional orthopedic care for myself. I actually have had a number of hip problems and low back problems and 10 years ago I was told that I needed both of my hips replaced then a spinal fusion, my lumbar spine and I turned said to my wife I’ve had lots of steroid injections and what not and it always relieved the pain for three weeks or so and then my problem came back and I had multiple surgeries and I just didn’t want to sign to that. So I said ‘I’ve got to find something’ and this word prolotherapy came up on the internet and I became an expert in the book knowledge area of prolotherapy. I read every article I possibly could about it and thought I could these procedures on myself and prolotherapy means, ‘prolo’- means proliferative, therapy is a treatment and it’s a series of injections. So it’s not a pill or anything you can take like that but the concept is it’s awakening the part of the body that’s giving you chronic pain. You get chronic pain in a joint or your back or your hips or wherever because the ligaments and tendons which hold the bone they all have a poor blood supply and what happens is these areas exert pain because they’ve never healed. So anything after 6 weeks that gives you pain we call chronic and it’s an unhealed injury and the conventional orthopedic care in the United States is steroid injections which get rid of the pain but don’t really treat the cause of the problem and you can have it multiple times and then when that doesn’t work you go to surgery, when that doesn’t work you go to physical therapy. The concept of prolotherapy is to take these areas of chronic pain and inject the substance into it that creates what they call a good type of inflammation which tells the brain that this area of chronic pain is really something that the brain needs to send proteins and growth factors and all the right substances to actually heal it to stop the pain. So what happens is there’s three phases of healing that occur, we give the injection and a low grade irritation occurs, the brain slowly starts to recognize that ‘Hey, there’s problem now, let’s say in the knee’ and now it sends all the growth factors, proteins down to heal it, a blood supply starts to grow and then collagen and all sorts of other things and connective tissues start to grow and as these ligaments and tendons get tighter and stronger and bigger your pain goes away. So I decided to try this on myself and obviously once I realized what it was it was way too advanced for one to do on himself. I found the physician who was much older than me to give me these injections and by the second treatment I literally cried and I said ‘Had you done this on me before I’d still be practicing as a retinal surgeon?’ because I couldn’t sit to do those kind of procedures, my back was so bad and my hips. So the process of going through a number of these treatments multiple times on my hips, in my back really, really changed my life and by the second treatment I literally stood up, put my finger in a polite way in a doctor’s chest and the doctor was 6 feet 9 and I said ‘You’re gonna teach me how to do this because I have the time to do this now and I feel like I’m the poster child for this. If I could get better from this stuff then anybody can.’ And I didn’t know about this for 30 years even being a physician and having friends who are neurosurgeons and orthopedists and friends and colleagues that have operated on me and people that I’ve met in the hospital or what-not and nobody mentioned this word to me including the pain doctors whom I knew.

N: What substances are we talking about that involved in this series of injections and you mentioned collagen injections (cross talk) and steroids? Do they clash with these other substances or is it something that can be used totally without considering the traditional?

M: And steroids are what we call a very potent anti-inflammatory medicine so it has some really good uses but it doesn’t really treat the cause of one’s problem. It lowers the inflammation to the point that your pain goes away but the problem always comes back because the root of the problem hasn’t been treated. With prolotherapy it’s actually treating the root cause of one’s joint pain or back pain or what-not which we now know as loose ligaments and tendons. In another words if you have a herniated disc in your back, it’s not always the disc that’s causing pain. It’s usually the ligaments and tendons that are holding your bones in place and if you can tighten those ligaments and tendons up which is what prolotherapy does, your pain goes away and your bones don’t move around and press on nerves. Now you asked me what is in the prolotherapy injections and the solutions we use and it sounds really simple when people talk about it, it’s dextrose solution or literally sugar water. We use sugar water with anesthetics like procaine or lidocaine but procaine is something you get in your dentist’s office if you’ve ever had a tooth worked on and then had the injections in your gum, they use procaine and procaine is a very good anesthetic to lower one’s threshold for pain. So if you have a high sensitivity level for pain, procaine sort of lowers that sensitivity. So the combination of sugar water, procaine which is the anesthetic or obviously to give the shot and then we add vitamin B12 which is a great vitamin for literally everything in the body and I use an additional substance called Sarapin which is another what I call an irritant but an irritant in a good way. The combination of this sugar water or dextrose and the sarapin act to create this low grade inflammation. Imagine you have a chronic area of pain in your body, it’s like a smoldering fire, that fire has never been out because the brain’s not recognizing it as an area that’s giving you a problem anymore. The brain just ignores it but by putting in the sugar water and the Sarapin, suddenly it makes that little smoldering fire just a little bit bigger. It goes from let’s say low to medium and then that’s just enough for the brain to recognize ‘Oh there’s something going on here now.’ And now the brain’s starts to send all the good juices down there to heal that area. So that’s the concept of it and we’ve proven this it goes back to 1933 when these sugar water substances were developed to treat ligaments and tendons and it actually kind of fell by the wayside in medicine because around the same time in 1933 there were a couple of doctors who were successful in inventing herniated disc surgery. So that was much more appealing because it was a surgical procedure and physicians tend to like doing surgeries, it was almost too common to use sugar water and anesthetics to cure ligaments and tendons. And then over the last 50 – 70 years we’ve actually perfected it now which is way back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s some of these solutions or prolo-solutions that they used were really toxic to the body and now we use basically pure sugar water, dextrose with anesthetics and vitamins. You can’t really hurt people with it and the success rate on regenerating these ligaments and tendons are almost 85% in the right patient, picking the right patient for this stuff.

N: Where exactly are you practicing, you’re in Florida now and (cross talk) called GenLife?

M: Yes, it’s called GenLife Regenerative Medicine and I’m in Coral Gables which is a suburb of Miami, very convenient for people from all the different counties here to get around and I’m 10 minutes from Miami International Airport for patients who come to see me from other states and from Latin America so it’s a real convenient location.

N: And these services in Regenerative Medicine are all offered at GenLife, yeah?

M: Yes. I do it all in the office and as we talked about prolotheray that’s the first line of Regenerative Medicine. The oldest line of Regenerative Medicine and after that we do what we call PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma injections and then Stem Cells and Platelet Rich Plasma injections involve taking your blood out of your arm vein, spinning it down in a centrifuge just to isolate the platelets. And everybody knows platelets clot blood but they also have a ton of growth factors in there and healing factors that really promote wound healing. So by reinjecting these platelets back into an aching joint or an area that’s lost cartilage or what-not we can actually regenerate cartilage and tissue and as I said collagen and connective tissue and have a nice fare of success rate with these things. The goal really is to prevent or prolong people from having knee replacements or hip replacements or multiple back surgeries or what-not and it’s actually allowing the body to regenerate itself. So this is the 21st century medicine and it’s just been around now probably the last 5 – 7 years that it just taken over now and more and more doctors are catching onto it and learning about it. And then going from prolotherapy which is your first line of regenerative medicine to platelet rich plasma injections, we then go to stem cells and we found that if we take stem cells from the bone marrow or from your fat which is let’s say your belly fat in a ten minute procedure we spend these substances down in the laboratory and then we get the stem cells out then we inject that in the joint and that’s even more powerful in regenerating tissue that’s missing or areas that weak, ligaments weak, ligaments and tendons that are causing pain in the body. So the future of medicine is really wonderful now as far as becoming a regenerative type of body building thing rather than having multiple, multiple surgeries and hip replacements and what-not so it’s really exciting for people.

N: Where can our listeners go and get more information about GenLife?

M: Let’s see, I have a website called GenLife Regenerative Medicine and if you look up Prolotherapy there’s a website called GetProlo which has a load of information about all the different types of problems that we can treat and what-not and I think my website is pretty complete on these things. It’s essentially a non-surgical orthopedic way of regenerating aching joints for gouts or problems, for tennis elbow and whatnot, or shoulder injuries, elbows, hips, low back, then neck injuries, people who had auto accidents and whatnot that they have whiplash and what-not. Again I always preface it by saying it worked on me because I was somebody who’s suffered 24/7 chronic pain and I was at my wit’s end and I was a physician and I still couldn’t find the proper healing for myself and I’m not 100% but I’m whole lot better than I was by the prolotherapy and the PRP and the Stem Cells, so it’s just wonderful stuff out there now.

N: Well it’s been great talking with you today Charlie and I’m hoping that we can talk in future segments.

M: Yeah anytime, call me anytime. It’s my pleasure.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. In studio with Dr. Charles Mahl, specializing in the practice of regenerative medicine including Prolotherapy, Platelet rich Plasma injections and Stem Cells for pain management of a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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