Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection therapy (RIT) used to strengthen joints weakened or damaged by over-use or chronic injury.
Ligament or tendon attachments once stretched, torn, or otherwise injured often have difficulty returning to pre-injury level of functioning due to limited blood supply to these structures. Chronic anti-inflammatory/NSAID use or steroid injections further impair this process.
Surgery can often produce more scarring and limited range of motion without addressing the root cause of dysfunction. Prolotherapy can actually stimulate healing of the joint structures without cutting, or removing, tissue. While there are conditions for which surgery is definitely indicated, it can sometimes be avoided or at least delayed with prolotherapy.
Prolotherapy attempts to restart the repair mechanisms at the specific site of injury by injecting dextrose into the area, creating focussed inflammation and mimicking the original repair process. It stimulates the generation of new tissue, strengthening tendon and ligament attachments. Once joint structures are strengthened, both joint and muscle pain can be significantly, if not fully eliminated. Degenerative processes, such as those seen in osteoarthritis, can also be stopped, and new cartilage encouraged to regenerate.
A typical treatment course is 3-6 series of injections, given every 2-4 weeks. Prolotherapy has been used for over 60 years with numerous case reports and an increasing number of controlled studies showing its effectiveness.