Prolotherapy plays a vital role in the field of regenerative medicine, finding therapeutic applications in sports medicine, orthopedics, arthritis treatment, and general medical practice. Similar to biologic allografts and platelet-rich plasma injections, prolotherapy leverages the body’s inherent capacity to heal and self-repair.

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What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy, also known as proliferation therapy, is an injectable remedy for joints, ligaments, and tendons that are worn, aged, deteriorated, or injured. When the protective tissue surrounding these anatomical components weakens, deteriorates, tears, or sustains injuries, pain and reduced functionality in the affected area may result.

Prolotherapy is a potential solution for addressing:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Finger pain

The mechanism of Prolotherapy involves inducing inflammation, which, in essence, is a healing response. In the presence of an abnormality or trauma, the body initiates inflammation as a reparative process. Prolotherapy injections intentionally introduce an irritant, typically dextrose (sugar) or a saltwater solution, into the targeted joint, tendon, or ligament. This irritation prompts inflammation, attracting growth hormones, platelets, and other healing cells to the area. The injections stimulate the body to concentrate its healing efforts on the arthritic, damaged, or injured part.

The inflammatory response activates fibroblasts, specialized cells that contribute to collagen and supportive tissue formation. These fibroblasts proliferate collagen in the treatment area, reinforcing weakened or injured tissue. Prolotherapy, in essence, encourages the reparative work of fibroblasts.

Your Prolotherapy Appointment

Prolotherapy is administered directly to the painful or injured site through injections, with lidocaine often used for numbing beforehand. The injection session typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour. A series of prolotherapy sessions, spaced over several weeks, is usually required based on the specific area and condition being treated.

Post-injection, the site may be sore and red for a few days. Comprehensive aftercare instructions are provided, advising against anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, which can hinder the desired inflammatory response.

Success Rate of Prolotherapy

Anecdotal evidence suggests that prolotherapy is highly effective in:

  • Reducing pain
  • Increasing strength and stability in the treated area
  • Improving function and range of motion

Large-scale studies and clinical trials have also demonstrated consistently positive effects of prolotherapy on various chronic pain and joint conditions.

Timeframe for Prolotherapy to Work

Positive effects may be felt within 6-8 weeks as growth factors proliferate in the area and new collagen forms. While the effects are not permanent, touch-up injections can be administered.

Learn More about Prolotherapy

To determine if prolotherapy is suitable for you, a visit to a practitioner for assessment and consultation is essential. Discussions will encompass your symptoms, current health conditions, previous treatments, and expectations.