Prolotherapy is a natural treatment for pain that stimulates the body’s intrinsic ability to heal.
It strengthens joints that have been damaged by trauma or overuse. Commonly tendons and ligaments are stretched out following injury, which causes the joint to become unstable and painful.
Prolotherapy fixes this by injecting a dextrose solution into the injured ligaments and tendons. The injection causes beneficial inflammation, which opens up the healing window. This gives the body a second chance to heal the damaged area. The inflammation sends growth factors and nutrients to the area that stimulate cartilage and collagen to regenerate. The end result is a stronger and more stable joint.
When to consider Prolotherapy?
It is beneficial if you have an injury that feels like it just won’t heal or chronic joint pain. If more conservative treatments such as prescribed exercises and physical therapy have not resolved your pain it may be time to consider the next step.
Common conditions treated with Prolotherapy:
Acute or chronic joint pain
Rotator Cuff Injuries/Tears
Labral Tears (shoulder/hip)
When to avoid Prolotherapy?
As prolotherapy relies on your bodies natural ability to heal, your body needs to be in a state in which it can heal. It is not recommended to get prolotherapy if you have any of the following conditions:
Chronic myofascial pain syndromes
Complete Rotator Cuff Tears
Frank Surgical Conditions
In addition, prolotherapy is also not recommended if you are taking drugs that decrease immune system function such as systemic corticosteroids or immunosuppressants.
What to expect?
The prolotherapy session will involve a series of injections. The location for the injection will be determined through a targeted physical exam. The number of injections required will depend on the location and extent of the pain.
The goal is long-term resolution of pain. A standard treatment plan is 4-6 sessions with 2-4 weeks between each session. Increased pain following treatment is common but should decrease in 48 hours and not prevent you from doing normal activities of daily living.
Following the injections it is important to support your body’s healing process. The best way to do this is with an anti-inflammatory diet, supplements to stimulate collagen production and targeted rehab to ensure the injury heals in best way possible.
How is it different from cortisone injections?
Cortisone injections are commonly given for joint pain. Cortisone works by decreasing inflammation which then decreases pain. They do cause short-term pain relief but they do not fix the underlying problem. Long-term use can actually result in tissue degeneration.
Prolotherapy helps the body to heal. It corrects the underlying problem resulting in long-term pain relief.
Can I have Prolotherapy instead of surgery?
Yes, depending on the extent of your injury. Prolotherapy is generally not indicated for complete tendon/ligament rupture. Also know that every injury and person is unique.
Does it matter how long ago the injury happened?
No, as long as you are in a state of good health your body has the ability to heal.