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 any anti-inflammatories such as NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin), turmeric/curcumin, quercitin, bromelain, ginger, fish oils, and alpha lipoic acid 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 use of any anti-inflammatory drugs or supplements for 5 days after each procedure.
It is also beneficial to do other therapies recommended by the doctor weekly such as physical therapy, home exercises, myofascial release, acupuncture, and IV therapy.
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 over 20 minutes is not recommended, as this can lead to a decrease in inflammation. 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.
Light to moderate exercises such as 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 and circulation. Just remember to go easy.
How many treatments are needed?
Every person and situation is 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.