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What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy (Proliferative Therapy), also know 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. It is based on the fact

that when ligaments or tendons (connective tissue) are

stretched or torn, the joint they are holding destabilizes and

can become painful. Prolotherapy, with its unique ability to

directly address the cause of the instability, can repair the

weakened sites and produce new collagen tissue, resulting in permanent stabilization of the joint. Once the joint is stabilized, pain usually resolves. Traditional approaches with surgery have more risk and may fail to stabilize the joint and relieve pain, and anti-inflammatory or other pain relievers only act temporarily. Furthermore, cortisone shots can actually degrade the joint and connective tissue over time and increase risk of requiring a full joint replacement.  

How does Prolotherapy 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, “stimulating” 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 repeat this process, allowing a gradual buildup of tissue to restore the original strength to the area.

What is in the Prolotherapy Solution?

 Prolotherapy injections contain 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 and procaine or lidocaine. In the last several years newer formulas include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and autologous (from the same person) adult stem cell sources, typically taken from bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue. Each treating physician tailors the selection of the appropriate formula according to the patient’s need.

*We currently offer a solution using dextrose, procaine, and added B12 if indicated.  In the future we hope to offer prolozone (added ozone after the prolotherapy injection) and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy.  Stay tuned

Is the Treatment Painful?  What are the Side Effects?

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.

The most common side effects of a prolotherapy treatment include: achiness after the injection, with possible stiffness and bruising.  

Can Prolotherapy Help Everyone?

Prolotherapy is a process of stimulating the body’s immune system to heal an injured area.  Criteria considered before moving forward with injection therapy is: nutritional status and possible nutritional deficiencies, an individuals immune status and how well they are able to heal, general health and habits (prolotherapy is most effective for someone that lives a healthy lifestyle).  Conditions that may impede the effectiveness of prolotherapy include obesity and diabetes as they both play a role in decreased healing and immune stimulation.  In these cases, we often recommend that health modifications should be addressed first before starting a course of prolotherapy. 

The most common conditions that are successfully treated include low back pain, tendinopathy, osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain, chronic ligament and tendon sprain and strains.  

How Often Are the Treatments?

Generally, Prolotherapy injections to a particular site are administered once every 4 weeks for 4-6 treatments.  However, some patients improve significantly after only 1-2 treatments.  The majority of the healing process occurs in the first two weeks after treatment. During this time it is important to continue movement of the joint but to also decrease stress in the area.  The next two weeks are looked at as a time to challenge the joint.  Has pain and mobility improved?  Are you able to function better in daily life or in athletic ability?  

What Area of the Body Can Be Treated?

Virtually any area of the body can be treated. Prolotherapy works successfully whereever there is pain or decreased mobility due to the connective tissue. Sites that we specialize in include the knee, the lumbar and sacral spine, hips, pelvis, ankles, feet, and shoulders.  

Have more questions or want to schedule a consult? 

Call us at (541) 851-9320 for more information!

We also welcome referrals from other healthcare providers, please fax us at (541) 851-9322.