Prolotherapy is a type of “regenerative therapy” that helps strengthen joints and relieve pain. Sometimes when the body is injured, the healing process can complete before the injury is completely healed. The patient is then left with a joint that is painful, unstable, and weaker than before the injury. Typically, hands-on manipulation is insufficient to entirely resolve these areas. Prolotherapy can help restart the healing process so the body can finish what it started when the injury first occurred.
Prolotherapy can be used on most joints such as the jaw, shoulders, knees, back, tailbone, wrists, and ankles. The complete process usually takes between 4-6 injections done four weeks apart to maximize the healing effects. While some patients experience relief after just the first injection, others may require the full regimen.
Prolotherapy can be done with all kinds of solutions. We utilize a traditional solution of dextrose and lidocaine. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells are coming more in vogue; however, studies show that traditional solutions work about as well as these newer injections. Overall, prolotherapy has been found to be as effective or better than similar injection therapies such as steroid injections and hyaluronic acid injections.
The procedure itself is well-tolerated. Because the injection is irritating to the area being treated, post-injection soreness is typically present for 2-3 days; however, this can be longer or shorter depending on the individual and area being treated. Patients are discouraged from using NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen during the first two weeks after the injection as these medications can affect the body’s healing process. Ice and Tylenol are preferred for post-injection soreness.