What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a form of regenerative therapy that uses injections around joints to strengthen ligaments and tendons after injury or overuse.
How Does Prolotherapy Work?
Prolotherapy injections contain a combination of 50 percent dextrose (sugar water) and one percent lidocaine (a short-acting, local painkiller.)
The injection solution is a mild irritant that creates a temporary, acute inflammatory response in the injured area. This brings in white blood cells and growth factors, which then stimulate a healing response.
What Conditions Can Be Treated by Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy can be very helpful for treating joint problems from arthritis, sports injuries, and other causes.
Conditions that are often helped include:
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Foot and ankle problems
Chronic ankle weakness, recurrent sprains, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs
Patello-femoral syndrome (PFS), iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), chondromalacia, chronic sprains/strains, osteoarthritis
Low back problems
Lower back pain from osteoarthritis, disc herniation, facet atrophy, and sacroiliac joint instability
Neck and head problems
Whiplash, osteoarthritis, disc/facet issues, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
Rotator cuff injuries, impingent syndrome, recurrent dislocations
How Does a Prolotherapy Treatment Feel?
Prolotherapy treatment is usually fairly painless. Some patients experience an increase in pain/soreness in the area for 24 to 48 hours after the injection, followed by improvement. If needed, acetaminophen and an ice pack may be used. High-dose fish oil and all anti-inflammatory medications (prescription or over-the-counter) should be avoided for two weeks after the injection.
What to Do Before and After a Treatment
Before a prolotherapy treatment, it is very important to stop taking all anti-inflammatory drugs (prescription or over-the-counter) for at least four days. Drugs to avoid during this time include naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, and steroids (Prednisone). If you take celecoxib (Celebrex), discontinue it for seven days before prolotherapy.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Most patients feel significant improvement after one to five treatments, with at least three weeks between each treatment.