Prolotherapy is also known as non-surgical ligament reconstruction,
and is a treatment for chronic pain.
Prolotherapy is helpful for what conditions?
The treatment is useful for many different types of musculoskeletal pain, including arthritis, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, unresolved whiplash injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic tendonitis, partially torn tendons, ligaments and cartilage, degenerated or herniated discs, TMJ and sciatica.
What is prolotherapy?
First, it is important to understand what the word prolotherapy itself means. "Prolo" is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new ligament tissue in areas where it has become weak.
Ligaments are the structural "rubber bands" that hold bones to bones in joints. Ligaments can become weak or injured and may not heal back to their original strength or endurance. This is largely because the blood supply to ligaments is limited, and therefore healing is slow and not always complete. To further complicate this, ligaments also have many nerve endings and therefore the person will feel pain at the areas where the ligaments are damaged or loose.
Tendons are the name given to tissue which connects muscles to bones, and in the same manner tendons may also become injured, and cause pain.
Prolotherapy uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself.
How long will it take to complete a course of treatments?
The response to treatment varies from individual to individual, and depends upon one's healing ability. Some people may only need a few treatments while others may need 10 or more. The average number of treatments is 4-6 for an area treated. The best thing to do is get an evaluation by a trained physician to see if you are an appropriate candidate. Once you begin treatment, your doctor can tell better how you are responding and give you an accurate estimate.
What conditions can be treated with prolotherapy?
What can I do to prepare for the treatment?
It is important to be properly hydrated before each treatment. Ensure that you drink at least 2 liters of water for several days prior to your appointment. It is also recommended that you discontinue anti inflammatory medications (unless they are for conditions other than what is being treated) for 48 hours prior to your treatment. Finally, be sure to have a meal before the treatment.
What can I expect during and after a treatment?
Depending on the area being treated and the extent of the injury, each treatment session will take between 30 – 60 minutes. The first part of the treatment will include a review of the injured area and a reassessment, followed by sterilization of the area to be injected. Both povidone iodine and alcohol are used in the sterilization process. Because many of the areas injected have poor circulation, proper sterilization is of utmost importance. This is followed by point location and marking of the area. Once the area is properly prepared the treatment begins. Again, depending on the extent of the injury and area injured will determine the number of injections.
The amount of discomfort felt after the treatment varies from person to person. Typically you can expect several days of discomfort and should minimize activity during this time. It is important to treat the discomfort as you would an acute injury and rest it as much as possible. If the discomfort is high you may ice the area but avoid using anti inflammatory substances as acute inflammation is an important part of the treatment. If you have any questions regarding the treatment please contact Dr. Rootes.