Prolotherapy

Photo by andresr/iStock / Getty Images

Effective pain treatment without surgery?

Prolotherapy is an injection treatment for pain and joint repair that is an effective alternative to surgery.  Prolotherapy channels the body’s own healing response to inflammation by injecting a safe, non-toxic solution (saline and dextrose) into an area of pain or tissue damage, triggering a localized immune system response to rebuild ligaments, tendons and cartilage.  In other words, prolotherapy rebuilds joints from WITHIN.  Prolotherapy is a researched and clinically proven way to harness the incredible regenerative capabilities or your own body, cascading the natural repair of musculoskeletal injuries.

How does it work?

When an injury occurs, the body’s immune system reacts by sending a surge of blood to the injury or wound (inflammation).  This surge of blood carries chemicals designed to heal and repair, namely dextrose (sugar d-glucose).  Interruption of the natural inflammation process can prevent the body’s natural healing ability, leaving you with chronic pain and degenerative damage to tissues, joints, and spine.  In the case of chronic pain, tissue is damaged more extensively and for a more prolonged period of time than the body can repair on its own. Prolotherapy essentially reboots the body’s natural method for healing injury by introducing the very same chemical, dextrose, to the site of the injury, triggering the body to launch a healing response. 

For (many) patients, a series of prolotherapy treatments successfully rebuilds strong and healthy ligaments and permanently eliminates pain.

In additional to the safe and simple base solution of dextrose and saline, a safe anesthetic (procaine) is used to reduce and relieve pain from the injection and the subsequent healing process.  Prolotherapy is administered without the use of anti-inflammatory medications or steroids, as these substances inhibit the healing process.

Prolotherapy is a safe, cost-effective, and predominately successful approach to acute injury, chronic pain, tissue/ligament damage, and degenerating joints.

Do all cases of chronic pain or degenerative arthritis require prolotherapy?

No. In all cases of chronic pain and degenerative arthritis, the underlying cause is joint instability. But the reason for joint instability can vary.Patients are first treated using structuralmanipulation therapy to stabilize joints.If this approach does not result in joint stabilization, then prolotherapy may be recommended.

How many treatments of prolotherapy are necessary?

How long prolotherapy takes depends on how many sites of injury, the extent of the injury or degeneration, and the person’s overall health.  Because prolotherapy relies on the body’s own immune system response, a chronically over or under reactive immune system may take longer to harness, and may require a more integrated approach, such as combined nutritional therapy.  However, in most cases notable improvement is observed within 4 sessions.

Typical number of Prolotherapy sessions for joint

Knee - 4-5 sessions
Shoulder - 4-5 sessions
Ankle - 4-5 sessions
Wrist - 4 sessions
Sacroiliac joint - 10-11 sessions

Types of Prolotherapy

Many proliferants are used for prolotherapy including PRP, ozone, stem cell and dextrose.   After, extensive research and study into prolotherapy it became apparent that the most effective results for pain were achieved with dextrose proliferant coupled with osteopathy. 

In instances where multiple areas of the body are damaged or unstable, prolotherapy may be administered to multiple sites in one visit. 

During the time that patient is undergoing prolotherapy he or she can continue to work and exercise, meaning there is no interruption of daily routines or function. 

History of Prolotherapy

Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, developed the theory for prolotherapy 25 centuries ago.    Javelin throwers were separating their shoulders and Hippocrates discovered that the stimulation of the rotator cuff with a metal probe could trigger a healing response.

Dr. Hackett, in the 1930’s, discovered that patients with motor accidents had pain due torn tendons and ligaments.  Dr. Hackett developed a proliferant injection therapy that is referred to as prolotherapy today.  

Is Prolo therapy a permanent solution for pain?

Yes, on most occasions.

For patients who are looking into Prolotherapy, please understand that this is a specialty procedure with technique and experience being a key component. What we present on our website is based on our experience and research and does not apply to all practitioners or injection therapies.

In July 2016, doctors at Caring Medical published findings on the effectiveness of Prolotherapy treatments in the medical journal: Clinical Insights: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders, here are the summary highlights:

“Our doctors reviewed 32 studies on dextrose prolotherapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain. The following conclusions are made:

“Prolotherapy is supported in the treatment of tendinopathies in patients who fail conservative therapies;

“Prolotherapy is supported in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis

“Prolotherapy is supported in the treatment of finger joint osteoarthritis in patients who do not respond to conservative therapies;

“Prolotherapy is supported in the treatment of back pain and

“Prolotherapy is supported in the treatment of pelvic pain in patients who fail to respond to conservative therapies. .  .

“Overall, Prolotherapy has been demonstrated to be efficacious and should be considered as a treatment for pain and dysfunction associated with chronic musculoskeletal conditions, particularly tendinopathies and osteoarthritis.”

- Hauser RA, Lackner JB, Steilen-Matias D, Harris DK. A Systematic Review of Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain. Clinical Medicine Insights Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders. [Google Scholar]