What is prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy, also known as non-surgical ligament and tendon reconstruction and regenerative joint injection, is a recognized orthopedic procedure that stimulates the body’s healing processes to strengthen and repair injured and painful joints and connective tissue.
How does it work?
Prolotherapy works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms to lay down new tissue in the weakened area. This is done by a very directed injection to the injury site, “tricking” the body to repair again. The mild inflammatory response which is created by the injection encourages growth of new, normal ligament or tendon fibers, resulting in a tightening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments to repeat this process allows a gradual build up of tissue to restore the original strength to the area.
What is in the solution injected?
Prolotherapy contains natural substances that stimulate the healing response, as well as local anesthetic agents to help with the pain of the injection. Traditional formulas include ingredients such as dextrose, saline, sarapin, procaine and lidocaine. In the last several years newer formulas include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) which comes from a person’s own blood.
Is the Prolotherapy treatment painful?
The pain involving an injection can vary depending on the structure or joint treated. Self-administered PRONOX (laughing gas) is available to reduce anxiety and pain during the procedure. The treatment may result in a temporary increase in pain with mild swelling and stiffness. The discomfort usually passes fairly quickly and can also be reduced with pain relievers such as Tylenol or other prescribed medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are not recommended for pain relief because their action suppresses the desired inflammatory healing process produced by the prolotherapy injections.
How often are the treatments needed?
Treatment intervals vary depending on the specific problem and severity of the area being treated, as well as the protocol of the provider. Typical intervals between treatment are every three to six weeks, with an average of once a month, for a total of four to six treatments.
What areas can be treated?
Prolotherapy works best on tendons and ligaments. A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. A tendon serves to move the bone or structure. A ligament is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches bone to bone, and usually serves to hold structures together.