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:

Elbow problems
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)

Foot and ankle problems
Chronic ankle weakness, recurrent sprains, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs

Knee problems
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

Shoulder problems
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. 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 seven 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.