Prolotherapy FAQ

What is prolotherapy?

 Prolotherapy or proliferation therapy is a treatment that uses an irritant solution that is injected into a joint space, ligaments or tendons. It is used to treat many types of musculoskeletal conditions and can improve pain, stiffness, and function in the joints or spine.

 

How does it work?

 A solution of dextrose, anesthetic (lidocaine) and methylcobalamin (vitamin B12), is injected into the area of concern. By injecting an irritant solution into the affected area we create an inflammatory cascade that initiates a new localized healing phase. Cells that are involved in the body’s natural inflammatory response are recruited to the area and begin to heal and repair tissues including ligaments and tendons.

 

What kind of injuries and problems can it help?

*Low back pain

Ligament laxity

Partially torn ligaments or tendons

Tennis elbow

Mild to moderately arthritic joints

Plantar fasciitis

TMJ Pain

 

What does it not help?

Full thickness tear, avulsion, or other detachment
Bone erosions

 

What should I do prior to a Prolotherapy treatment?

 Avoid NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin) for 48-72 hours and Aspirin for 2 weeks. Be fully hydrated for the procedure.  This means drinking at a minimum half your body weight in fluid ounces of water for 3 days prior to your session.

 

What can I expect during the treatment?

 Some pain and discomfort can be experienced. Most patients report this to be mild to moderate and some patients report no pain at all.

 

What about after my treatment?

 Since the procedure relies on local inflammation to initiate healing, it is recommended to avoid the use of any anti-inflammatory drugs or supplements for two weeks after each procedure. Because it is common for there to be some soreness at the injection sites for up to a few days after the procedure, it is recommended patients take a pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol) which is not an anti-inflammatory drug (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, NSAIDs which should be avoided). Homeopathic Arnica is okay to take.

Applying an ice pack to the area is not recommended, as this can lead to a decrease in inflammation. Alternating hot and cold applications is a good alternative.

It is also recommended that the joints not be strained for overused for at least two weeks after each treatment, as this can negatively impact the healing process. Gentle aerobic exercise, light weight lifting, swimming, yoga and other low-impact exercises can help the tissues strengthen without being damaged. Exercise is beneficial to ensure proper healing, just remember to go easy.

 

How many treatments are needed?

Every person and situation are different but on average 3-6 treatments or up to 12 treatments are needed before the patient can go on a yearly maintenance schedule.

 

What are the potential risks or complications of the treatment?

Prolotherapy is a safe and effective treatment with minimal risk for infection.  Potential risks may include pain at the injection site, allergic reaction, infection at the injection site, injury to tissues at the injection site, joint stiffness, joint swelling, bleeding, headache, dizziness or fainting.