Prolotherapy – formerly known as sclerotherapy – is a treatment used to facilitate the healing and regeneration of tissue in various parts of the body, such as damaged joints. Injections of mild irritants – usually sugar and water – are administered into the joint. As irritation occurs, the body recognizes it as an injury. Over time, new tissue growth occurs within the joint as a part of the body’s natural healing reaction. Doctors and therapists often recommend prolotherapy to people with injuries or chronically painful conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Prolotherapy is also useful for the treatment of TMJ disorders, herniated discs, whiplash and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Did you know…
that the concepts of healing behind prolotherapy date back to the Roman time period? Injured gladiators were treated with hot needles inserted into affected joints. Today’s modern version of prolotherapy began in the 1950’s when a general surgeon began using sugar-water injections to treat damaged joints and hernias. Today, sugar solutions are still the most common type of prolotherapy injection, though modern injections also contain lidocaine to improve patient comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for prolotherapy?
You may be a candidate for prolotherapy if you have chronic muscle or joint pain. New studies on its efficacy are still being carried out, but many patients report significant improvements in symptoms after just a few injections. Talk with your doctor about prolotherapy and whether it’s right for you. Prolotherapy is not recommended if you are taking anti-coagulants, have a local abscess, or are suffering from an acute infection like cellulitis.
What should I expect during prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy injections are administered while patients are awake and sometimes sedated. The injections contain a mild irritant that is injected directly into the joint. Your doctor may use the x-ray technology to guide the injection into the targeted area – especially when injections are being administered to areas of the spine. Most injections take only minutes to complete, with patients going home the same day.
How often will I need prolotherapy injections?
Though every patient is different, most undergo prolotherapy injections every few weeks for a period of several months. Some patients experience a reduction in pain by as much as 50 percent after just 3 injections. If you are experiencing rapid results, your doctor may recommend fewer injections. If your progress is slower, prolotherapy may be combined with other treatments, such as physical therapy.