Prolotherapy

What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is short for proliferative therapy. This therapy targets ligament laxity as the cause of chronic joint and spine pain. Ligament laxity essentially means that a person’s joints move too much or beyond normal, healthy limits. Trauma, repeat injuries, or even simple overuse can cause ligament laxity.

Because ligaments, tendons and muscles all work together to promote normal motion, we use prolotherapy to treat an injury by treating a whole region or joint.

Although there are other proliferative solutions, 15% dextrose is the most studied. Therefore, it has the most scientific research and support. When injected into or near a ligament or tendon, the dextrose irritates the tissue and triggers productive inflammation.

This new inflammation triggers a healing cascade in the area. This natural healing response not only addresses the new inflammation caused by the solution, but also the previously unrecognized ligament laxity and other mild damage. The goal of prolotherapy is to remind the body to treat an old injury and thereby restore the joint to normal motion.

This healing process takes place over time. Our physicians typically administer prolotherapy injections in three series, each roughly one month apart.

What to Expect

We use a 15% dextrose solution. However, we can mix the dextrose with sterile saline or 1% Lidocaine if needed.  

Your physician will numb the area with local anesthetic before injection. Like all of ROSM’s therapies, these injections are ultrasound or fluoroscopy guided. This allows for maximum safety and precision.  

Recovery

Avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen, as these suppress inflammation. Therefore, they counteract the effects of prolotherapy and most regenerative therapies. You may use acetaminophen for mild pain. 

Avoid showering for 1 day and immersion in water for 3 days after your procedure. You may remove any bandages after 1 day.

Unless otherwise instructed, the treated body part should be used and slowly moved through its full range of motion after 3 days. It will be sore, but movement will not damage it. In fact it needs to move to heal!

For the next month, avoid specific activities that hurt you before treatment.
Exercise is vital to good health and finding a way to cross train around your injury is important not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. Your ROSM physician and physical therapist can help you with this.

Brief heat or ice therapy will not disrupt your regenerative therapy, but should not be used for more than 10 minutes. 

Depending on the injury, physical therapy is started 2 to 4 weeks after injection. Gradual improvements in pain and function should be expected 8 to 12 weeks after injection.

Special thanks to Dr. Sean Mulvaney.