How Effective Is Prolotherapy?
April 2022

Injecting an irritant into a joint or a supporting tendon or ligament may sound crazy, but it does in fact have a compelling record of success in helping patient regain their range of motion and reduce chronic joint pain.

Modern prolotherapy was born from hernia treatments. In the first half of the 20th century, prolotherapy was one of the most popular hernia treatments. In fact, there are still some sports doctors who are experimenting with using dextrose injections for treat professional athletes with groin pain and sports hernias.

Types of Injuries or Pain Treated with Prolotherapy

  •         Joint pain
  •         Knee Pain
  •         Shoulder Pain
  •         Sprains
  •         Tendinopathies
  •         Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
  •         Ankle Pain
  •         Joint instability
  •         Plantar fasciitis
  •         Low back pain

What’s the Benefit of Causing Irritation?

The initial boost in healing you experience after suffering an injury may fall short of total repair. One of the reasons for this are anti-inflammatory medications. Modern medicine can inadvertently reduce the body’s own healing capabilities through overzealous use of NSAIDs.

The irritation caused by the prolotherapy solution (usually dextrose) causes a targeted, controlled, low-grade inflammation in the joint. Although uncontrolled, excessive inflammation is bad, a low level of controlled inflammation can lead to fibroblasts and the synthesis of mature collagen precursors. Fibroblasts are a type of cell responsible for the creation of collagen proteins.

Fibroblasts combined with growth factors lead to collagen deposits and new cell growth. The collagen acts to reinforce connective tissue and improve stability.

Why Is Prolotherapy Considered a Regenerative Therapy?

Prolotherapy, like platelet-rich plasma injections, bone marrow stem cell therapy and amniotic stem cell therapy, is intended to promote the body’s natural regenerative abilities. Healing damage and restoring the function of joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments results in reduced pain.

Can Prolotherapy Be Used to Treat Back Pain?

It depends on the damage that needs to be repaired and the type of pain a patient is suffering. Since prolotherapy is designed to help heal and strengthen tissue, it may be an effective pain management treatment for patients with low back pain caused by certain injuries.

You should discuss potential regenerative therapies with your pain management doctor to find out if prolotherapy or another regenerative treatment might be right for your back pain.

Why Should You Avoid Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medications After a Prolotherapy Injection?

Stimulating controlled inflammation is key to successful prolotherapy treatments. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil or Ibuprofen are intended to reduce inflammation. They may prevent you from experiencing the full regenerative benefits of a prolotherapy injection.

Prolotherapy Versus PRP Injections

Although both prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma injections are intended to boost the body’s own healing capabilities, they do so in different ways. Prolotherapy specifically leverages the body’s natural regenerative reaction spurred by controlled irritation and inflammation to boost cell regrowth. PRP injections activate your own natural stem cells, growth factors and platelets to accelerate growth and promote healing.

Both regenerative therapies are frequently recommended as part of a pain management strategy. Healing damage leads to long-term pain relief more effectively than many other interventions.

Why Might I Need Prolotherapy?

Many patients are prescribed prolotherapy injections to improve healing after a specific trauma, such as a sports injury or auto accident injury. However, there are other reasons connective tissue may weaken and benefit from targeted prolotherapy treatments. Various hormone deficiencies are one of those non-injury related causes.

For example, pregnant women or women in menopause may experience weakened joint and muscle connectivity structures. Men diagnosed with andropause and men or women with hypothyroidism could also exhibit hormonal deficiencies that can lead to these conditions.

Dedicated to Non-Invasive Pain Management Solutions in Marietta and Carrollton

The team at Non-Surgical Orthopaedics is dedicated to providing non-invasive treatment solutions for patients in Carrollton and Marietta who are experiencing chronic pain, a reduced range of motion or limited mobility due to an orthopaedic injury or degenerative condition.

Our team uses decades of combined experience and cutting-edge diagnostic tools to accurately identify the root cause of each patient’s pain. We then develop non-invasive treatment plans to manage their condition and promote healing.

You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 770-421-1420.