Prolotherapy Overview from a Pain Relief Center

Prolotherapy Overview from a Pain Relief Center

Prolotherapy is a special procedure where a unique substance is injected into the body to promote normal cell, tissue, and organ regeneration and growth. This treatment is used for various injuries and injured/damaged tissues. Our pain management center specializes in prolotherapy.

What is prolotherapy?

To relieve joint or musculoskeletal pain, prolotherapy is a minimally invasive technique that strengthens and tightens ligaments and tendons. Ligaments connect bones to each other, and tendons are tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muProlotherapyscle to bone. Prolotherapy can restore tissue integrity and take pressure off these structures.

What solutions are used for prolotherapy?

Depending on the type of prolotherapy used, the pain management specialist can inject a sugar water solution (dextrose), a neurolytic substance (phenol), or an inflammatory substance.

What are the different kinds of prolotherapy?

The pain management specialist will use one of three types of prolotherapy. Options include:

  • Inflammatory prolotherapy – With this procedure, an injection is given of 12-25% dextrose solution, phenol solution, or sodium-morrhuate solution. These substances are used to produce an inflammatory response in the patient’s body. With inflammatory prolotherapy, growth factor production occurs, which heals injured and degenerated tissues.
  • Growth factor injection prolotherapy – The doctor can injection a mixture of growth factor and complex proteins into the injured body structure or damaged joint. The injected substances stimulate new cell production, which is needed to grow fibroblasts and repair joint cartilage.
  • Growth factor stimulation prolotherapy – With this procedure, the doctor injects a dextrose solution into a body region. Growth factors are then stimulated so healing can occur. Clinical studies show that when human cells are exposed to dextrose, they then produce growth factors, which include platelet-derived growth factor and connective tissue growth factor.

How many prolotherapy treatment sessions will I need?

The number of treatments required depends on the extent of injury or tissue damage. Usually, 4-8 injections are necessary, and these are spaced 2-3 weeks apart.

What disorders and conditions are treated with prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is used to treat chronic low back pain, joint pain, sciatica, tendon injuries, and ligament damage. In addition, prolotherapy helps with sports and whiplash injuries.

What can I expect during the prolotherapy treatment session?

pain relief3When you arrive at the medical facility, a nurse will go over the risks and benefits of the procedure, and have you sign a consent form. The doctor has you change into a gown, and uses a local anesthetic to numb the site. The prolotherapy solution is injected into the injured or damaged structure. Plan to be at the facility for around one hour, which includes preparation time, treatment, and recovery.

What happens after the procedure?

Expect to have some mild stiffness and swelling at the injection site. The area is going to be sore and tender for a few days. Most patients report gradual improvement, which is most noted after all treatment sessions are finished. You must rest for 1-2 days after the injection, and can gradually return to usual activities as tolerated.

What complications and risks are associated with the procedure?

The risks associated with prolotherapy are rare, but they do occur. These include nerve damage, infection, increased pain, blood vessel injury, and bleeding.

Are prolotherapy injections effective?

Based on clinical studies, prolotherapy, also called regenerative injection therapy, is a safe and effective intervention for rebuilding soft tissue and joint connective tissue. A recent randomized trial showed the efficacy rate to be 91% for pain reduction, and 85% for improving function and mobility.

Who performs the prolotherapy treatment?

The pain management specialist must have special training to administer prolotherapy injections. Anesthesiologists, radiologists, and orthopedic specialists usually perform prolotherapy.


Hooper, A.R. & Ding, M. (2004). Retrospective case series on patients with chronic spinal pain treated with dextrose prolotherapy. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(4), 670-674.

Reeves, K.D. & Hassanein, K. (2000). Randomized prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study of dextrose prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis with or without ACL laxity. Alternative Therapies, 6(2), 68-80.

Wilkinson, H. (2005). Injection therapy for enthesopathies causing axial spine pain and the failed back syndrome: A single blinded, randomized and cross-over study. Pain Physician, 8, 167-176.

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