What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is a non-surgical treatment for orthopedic injuries that has been used by athletes and people all over the world to allow them to return to sports and everyday activities.  Prolotherapy stimulates repair and regeneration at the site of injury and helps eliminate pain.

Prolotherapy injections stimulate your body’s own ability to strengthen weak and painful ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other musculoskeletal tissue. The substances injected set in motion the body’s own natural healing response to restore stability to the damaged tissue.  Prolotherapy is a medical procedure performed by medical doctors who have received specialized training in this technique.

How does Prolotherapy work?

A little knowledge of anatomy helps in understanding how Prolotherapy works. Ligaments are bands that connect two bones together. Tendons are the connectors between muscle and bone.  Weak or damaged ligaments and tendons may become lax, leading to pain, weakness and instability. Strengthening these tissues reduces pain and stabilizes the structures, allowing you to comfortably perform your preferred activities.

Secondary problems such as muscle spasm and degenerative arthritis may accompany the chronic joint instability. By strengthening the tissue, muscle spasms may improve and long-term further degeneration of the joint may be prevented. Once stability returns to the ligaments, tendons and cartilage, you can enjoy your physical activities once more.

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy can be used to treat many orthopedic injuries.  Some examples include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic sprains and strains
  • Arthritic joints
  • Lower back and neck pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hip and knee pain
  • Rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain
  • Plantar fasciitis

Note: Complete ligament tears and fractures do not respond to prolot a herapy unless surgery or immobilization is performed first.

Is Prolotherapy Safe?

Fortunately, complications from Prolotherapy treatment are rare. Since Prolotherapy is an injection treatment, the risks are no different from other common injection therapies. Surgery has far greater risks. Prolotherapy is an ideal treatment to use before non-emergent surgeries are performed. The proliferants injected are natural substances such as high concentration dextrose (sugar). Steroids, such as cortisone, are NOT used.

Numerous research studies are now available demonstrating the effectiveness of prolotherapy.  Major academic institutions and medical centers as well as many sports medicine centers are utilizing prolotherapy as a non-surgical alternative to treat painful injuries to ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Dr. Annette Zaharoff has trained physicians from around the world on proper utilization of prolotherapy. She is helping to develop a curriculum to be used globally to further promote prolotherapy training among healthcare providers.