What Is Prolotherapy? What You Should Know about This Treatment

What Is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is a procedure to help provide relief for back or joint pain, and a natural irritant is injected into the soft tissues of the injured joints. This irritant that is injected helps jump start the body’s natural healing response. It is not a surgical treatment, so it’s categorized as a non-surgical option. It is most commonly used on the back but can also be used for hips, shoulders, knees, and other joints and ligaments. Some people with chronic conditions can also use this therapy to help ease pain.

How Does Prolotherapy Work?

The irritant is injected and then it helps to jump start the healing. The body then starts to strengthen and repair the damaged ligaments in the joint. Over time as the ligaments strengthen, they help stabilize the joint. If the joint has better support then it can help relieve the pain. There are usually several shots at the site of the injury and there can be about four to 15 shots per session, depending on the severity of the injury. Sessions occur over the course of three to six months. The injection needs to be precise so the irritant gets in the right area.

What to Expect during Treatment

Before receiving this treatment, you may ask what is prolotherapy? A doctor will be able to answer that and asses an individual with back or joint pain to know if he or she will be a good candidate for therapy. Not everyone may benefit from this treatment or be a good candidate. Doctors will use imaging results, such as X-rays, during the assessment. This can help them decide if the treatment will be effective, given the severity and location of the injury. It’s important to stop taking any anti-inflammatory medicine two to three days before the procedure. This medication can prevent the procedure from working. Doctors recommend that you eat a protein-rich meal the day of the procedure. During treatment, doctors prepare the skin with rubbing alcohol and then use a numbing cream to ease some of the discomfort from the injection. Doctors then use a thin, long needle to deliver the solution to different points.

Side Effects of Treatment

There aren’t that many side effects that are reported from this treatment. The worst side effects are infection at the injection site. Symptoms of infections include pain and fever. There could also be temporary swelling at the injection site. The affected joints could feel worse before they start to feel better.

Success Rates of Prolotherapy

According to research, those who receive this treatment have high rates of success. However, the sample size of this research is small and there hasn’t been a substantial amount of research conducted.

Costs of Treatment

Insurance likely won’t cover this treatment and the cost will depend on the site of injections, who performs the procedure, and if there is extra treatment that is required.


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