What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a highly effective, non-surgical medical treatment for resolving ligament and tendon injuries. “Prolo” is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation of new connective tissue thereby repairing the damaged ligament or tendon.
How was Prolotherapy Developed?
Historical review shows that a version of this technique was first used by Hippocrates on soldiers with dislocated, torn shoulder joints. The injection of sclerosing agents first began in the 1830’s, when potent chemical irritants were used to treat hernias non-surgically. Prolotherapy in its most current form has been used for over 60 years.
How Does it Work?
Ligaments are the structural “rubber bands” that hold the body’s joints together. Ligaments can become weak, stretched, or injured and may not heal back to their original strength or endurance. Ligaments also will not tighten on their own to their original length once injured. This is largely because the blood supply to ligaments is limited, and therefore healing is slow and not always complete. To further complicate this, ligaments also have many nerve endings and therefore the person will feel pain at the areas where the ligaments are damaged or loose.
Prolotherapy stimulates the repair of the injury. It works by exactly the same process that the human body naturally uses to stimulate tissue healing, a process called inflammation. A dextrose solution is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to bone. This causes a localized inflammation which increases the blood supply, the flow of nutrients, and the attraction of growth factors. This stimulates a healing cascade resulting in the production of collagen – the new connective tissue. The new collagen repairs the injured ligament or tendon, thereby strengthening, tightening, and re-stabilizing the area.
The result: the restoration of strength, proper range of motion, and pain resolution.
Prolotherapy is a safe therapy which negates the need for many surgical procedures. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic endorse the use of Prolotherapy. They report that “unlike corticosteroid injections — which may provide temporary relief — Prolotherapy involves improving the injected tissue by stimulating tissue growth.” (ref.: Mayo Clinic (2005). “Alternative treatments: Dealing with chronic pain”. Mayo Clinic Health Letter 23 (4).)
How Many Treatment Will I Need?
Most patients receive 3 to 10 treatments. The treatments are administered every two to three weeks. A specific treatment plan will be made after an initial consultation and assessment of your overall health and the specific nature of your injury.
The response to treatment depends on one’s ability to heal. We can help identify other conditions which may be present, such as a vitamin deficiency, which may decrease the body’s ability to quickly heal. If other conditions are present, a treatment plan to alleviate them can be prepared to support the effectiveness of Prolotherapy treatments.
Will Prololotherapy Help Me?
Prolotherapy is very effective and has changed the lives of many chronic pain sufferers. Please read some of the testimonials on our website. The treatment is excellent for many different types of musculoskeletal pain, including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Unresolved Whiplash
- Torn Tendons, Ligaments and Cartilage
- Degenerated or Herniated discs
- Knee Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Rotator Cuff Tears
Is Prolotherapy Painful?
Most patients find the treatment very manageable. There is mild to moderate discomfort from the injections. Afterwards, there may be localized tenderness or achiness around the injection site for a few days. The tenderness accompanies the localized inflammation, which is part of the healing process. Prolotherapy injections stimulate repair and healing.
Is Prolotherapy the Same as a Corticosteroid Injection?
No. Corticosteroid injections can provide comfort by temporarily masking the pain. The steroid effects will wear off and then the patient will have to deal with the pain again. This is like taking a pill every day for a headache instead of curing the cause of the headache. Without treating the cause of the pain, the pain returns. Prolotherapy stimulates the body’s natural healing process to repair and strengthen injured ligaments and tendons, thus achieving permanent relief of pain.