Prolotherapy is a non-surgical procedure that stimulates and enhances the body’s healing process to strengthen and repair injured joints and connective tissue. Simply put, Prolotherapy is a treatment used to treat connective tissue injuries like tendons, ligaments that have not healed on their own. When these connective tissues are stretched or torn, it can destabilize the joint causing pain, laxity, and improper moments of the joint.
Due to the fact that these tendons and ligaments have a poor blood supply, it can take a prolonged period of time for them to heal, if they heal at all. Prolotherapy uses natural, safe, and effective substances to accelerate the body’s own healing process to repair these connective tissues to strengthen and stabilize the body’s joints and movements.
The most common ingredient injected for prolotherapy is dextrose at a concentration of 12.5% – 25%. Dextrose is a natural sugar that causes an inflammatory response to happen locally, increasing the circulation and bringing with it oxygen and other nutrients to heal the damaged tissues. While each provider will use formulations that they find effective, here at Denver Acupuncture & Sports Medicine we use a combination of Dextrose, B12 (hydroxocobalamin), Lidocaine, which is known to ease the patient’s discomfit. These solutions will be different for joints, tendons, ligaments, or herniated bulging discs. By using natural substances that the body can recognize, it aids the body in healing and reduces the chance of a patient reacting to the injection.
Most of the time you need to do a series of injections to gain the most benefit of prolotherapy injections. For mild to moderate injuries, 3 injections schedule about a month apart is enough. Occasionally for more severe injuries, a total of 5 injections may be needed. Doing dry needling between injections can also help with the healing but needs to be done at the appropriate time and more moderate in nature. Ask about of 9-week3 program for the best results!
Knee osteoarthritis is a common chronic disease that results in joint pain, stiffness, and restricted functions and movements. Sources of pain include intra-articular and supportive extra-articular structures. This can be divided into two types: primary and secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is defined as articular degeneration without any apparent underlying reason, while Secondary osteoarthritis is the consequence of either an abnormal concentration of force across the joint as with post-traumatic causes or abnormal articular cartilage, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is typically a progressive disease that may eventually lead to disability (Hsu et. al, 2020). Prolotherapy comes into place as it is used as an injection therapy to mend chronic musculoskeletal pain.
A randomized controlled trial determined prolotherapy is helpful in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The trial included 90 adults ages 40 – 76. A total of 3-5 injections were administered over 17 weeks. The patient saw improvement with prolotherapy versus saline injection lasting for more than a year! Prolotherapy, once performed by a trained operator has proven to have resulted in safe, significant, and sustained improvements on validated, quality-of-life, pain, function, and stiffness measures. It is appropriate and beneficial for patients with knee osteoarthritis refractory to conservative care (Rabago et. al, 2013).
A study that included 145 patients showed that prolotherapy can help with back pain. Out of the 145 patients, 89 percent experienced more than 50 percent showed improvement in lessening their back pain and more than 80 percent showed improvement in walking, exercise, anxiety, depression, and overall mobility. 38 percent of the sample size was told that there was no such treatment for the pain that they are experiencing but with Prolotherapy, their average pain level of 7.1 significantly went down to only a level of 3.1. Patients interviewed after a year of Prolotherapy assured that they experienced clinically significant lower levels of pain, stiffness, and medication usage, as well as improved mobility and range of motion
Prolotherapy has a long-standing history of use with tendinopathies and ligament sprains in peripheral joints (Hauser et. al, n.d.), it has been proven to cause significant improvements in lessening degenerative joint and spinal disease, including chronic back pain. It does not only decrease the pain but also improves one’s range of motion, exercise ability, and reducing medication use.
Lateral epicondylosis, more commonly known as Tennis Elbow, greatly affects those who continuously do repetitive and high-load upper extremity tasks—mostly athletes. For non-athletes, it is known to be caused by low-load, high-repetition activities such as keyboarding (Scarpone et. al, 2008). A study concentrated on 24 adults experiencing Tennis Elbow for at least six months, showed that eight to 16 weeks of Prolotherapy with dextrose and morrhuate sodium resulted into a positive response from patients that went through it, also showing positive results on the improvement of their strength and the reduction of their pain. A one-year follow-up was also conducted to determine improvements in these patients, and it was found that most patients did not experience pain at all due to the Prolotherapy that they did.
Prolotherapy performed by a trained operator is a reasonable therapeutic option for patients with Tennis Ball (Scarpone et. al, 2008). Results show that it is significant in such a way that the pain scale for such pain for patients shows a 2-point improvement. With Prolotherapy, a short amount of therapy will lead to long-lasting, pain-free effects.
Shoulder pain and injuries are not as easily treatable as you think. These are caused by rotator cuff lesions, which cause less mobility for the muscles and tendons that keeps the arm bone centered in the shoulder socket. These muscles and tendons cover the head of the upper arm bone and attach it to the shoulder blade.
Prolotherapy plays a significant role in the treatment of chronic refractory rotator cuff lesions. It is proven as one of the best ways to treat shoulder injury, without any sort of surgical treatment. A recently conducted study with a focus group of 120 patients showed that with Prolotherapy, their shoulder pain was reduced, and improvements on the shoulder function were seen. 92.9 percent of these patients reported excellent and satisfactory outcomes, proving the Prolotherapy is an easily applicable and satisfying auxiliary method in the treatment of chronic rotatory cuff lesions (Seven et. al, 2017). Prolotherapy ensures that you will be able to go back to playing the games that you love in just a few sessions!