Prolotherapy

Synonyms

Ligaments, nonsurgical reconstructive therapy, proliferative therapy, reconstructive therapy, tendons.

Background

Prolotherapy is based on the idea that chronic pain is often caused by loose ligaments or tendons. Ligaments connect bone to bone and tendons connect muscles to bone. When ligaments or tendons are lax, the muscles must work extra hard to stabilize the joint. Consequently, muscle pain and muscle spasm occur.

Prolotherapy treatment involves injections of a dextrose (a simple sugar) solution near such areas to promote growth and thickening of the ligaments.

Prolotherapy is based on the idea that chronic pain is often caused by loose ligaments or tendons. Ligaments connect bone to bone and tendons connect muscles to bone. When ligaments or tendons are lax, the muscles must work extra hard to stabilize the joint. Consequently, muscle pain and muscle spasm occur.

Prolotherapy treatment involves injections of a dextrose (a simple sugar) solution near such areas to promote growth and thickening of the ligaments.

Theory/evidence

Human and animal studies have found that prolotherapy injections increase strength and thicken ligaments and tendons. The injections inflame the area causing the blood supply to increase and allowing nutrients to stimulate the tissue.

Prolotherapy is used to treat back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), tendonitis and tension headaches. Currently, the best evidence for its use is for osteoarthritis. The results of two double-blind human trials suggest that prolotherapy may effectively treat osteoarthritis.

Technique

Usually a series of injections every few weeks is required to maximize results.

A medical doctor of doctor of osteopathic medicine generally practices prolotherapy. Physicians specializing in orthopedics or physical medicine and rehabilitation are most likely to practice prolotherapy.

Safety

No serious side effects have been reported in clinical trials. However, patients usually experience tenderness or stiffness near the injection site for a few minutes to a few days after treatment.

Author Information

This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography

Dagenais S, Haldeman S, Wooley JR. Intraligamentous injection of sclerosing solutions (prolotherapy) for spinal pain: a critical review of the literature. Spine J. 2005 May-Jun;5(3):310-28.

Prolotherapy.Com. 9 May 2006. http://www.prolotherapy.com/

Reeves KD, Hassanein K. Randomized prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study of dextrose prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis with or without ACL laxity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2000 Mar;6(2):68-74, 77-80.

Reeves KD, Hassanein K. Randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled double-blind study of dextrose prolotherapy for osteoarthritic thumb and finger (DIP, PIP, and trapeziometacarpal) joints: evidence of clinical efficacy. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):311-20.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


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