What is Prolotherapy?
A nonsurgical treatment that involves injecting tissue cycling in a non-healing or painful state. Various solutions and the effect of a needle, with or without ultrasound guidance create a specific “intelligent injury”. The body is stimulated into an inflammatory cycle, and targeted natural healing may occur. Recently, studies have shown 80-95% success in the treatment of spinal, tendon, ligament and joint pain.
How Does it Work?
Prolotherapy addresses painful structures which may be weak, torn or painful, including ligament, tendon or fascia. Ligaments join bones and joints. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Fascia is the covering of muscle. If these are torn, or chronically sprained, pain may cause inhibition of surrounding muscles and loss of support to the structure that has been trying to heal. Prolotherapy addresses this chronic regional dysfunction.
This form of treatment can help to accelerate the healing process without the use of surgery, and serves an important role when surgical outcomes may not be favorable.
Prolotherapy works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. This procedure involves injecting an irritant solution into the ligament, tendon or joint space. The injection into the injured area stimulates the body to repair the inflamed tissue. This encourages new growth as well as different tissue feedback than the previous chronically injured sensation.
Prolotherapy usually involves series of multiple injections. Health insurance considers prolotherapy a non-covered benefit at this point, and costs range from $125 to $375 per treatment.
What Does Prolotherapy Help?
Conditions that can benefit from prolotherapy include:
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Tennis/golfers elbow
- Sacroiliac joint pain
- Lateral hip pain- “bursitis”
- Ligament sprains
- Back and neck pain
- Ankle pain
- Joint instability
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shoulder, knee, and other joint pain
- Partially torn tendons and ligaments
“The recovery time seen in studies mirrors what is known about the healing curve of connective tissue. Some patients require only a single treatment, while others need several before improvement is finally seen. The majority of courses of care show improvement by two to five months. The interval between treatments is three to five weeks, allowing recovery and a fuller inflammatory cycle. The amount of procedural and post-procedural pain varies greatly on the structure, technique and patient’s personal relationship with pain,” says John Kafrouni, MD.
Possible Side Effects
As with any treatment, risks and side effects depend on the area being treated. The most common side effect by far is a period of greater pain for one to seven days after a treatment session. This may be accompanied by mild swelling. As with any injection, local injury to a nerve or other structure is a very rare possibility.
If you think you may benefit from this approach, please be sure to speak with one of our specialists to see if you are a candidate. Dr. Kafrouni will be happy to assess your condition, and determine if prolotherapy or another regenerative technique is right for you.