How Does Prolotherapy Work?

If you’re not familiar with prolotherapy, this post is for you. The American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine defines prolotherapy as “a recognized orthopedic procedure that stimulates the body’s healing processes to strengthen and repair injured and painful joints and connective tissue.” 

When the soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons, that support a joint are stretched, torn, or damaged, the joint can become unstable and cause pain. Prolotherapy is designed to help heal those soft tissues. 

At The Osteopathic Center for Healing, Neil Spiegel, DO, Jennifer Gularson, PA-C and the rest of our team specialize in functional and regenerative medicine, including prolotherapy. In this post, we explain what you can expect during a prolotherapy treatment, as well as how this innovative therapy works. 

Who can prolotherapy help? 

Prolotherapy is most effective in injuries involving joints. It’s often helpful for healing injuries that can be considered difficult. For example, back pain is incredibly common, and in some cases it becomes chronic. Prolotherapy can be helpful in healing conditions like degenerative disc disease which is a common cause of back pain. 

Other conditions that we’ve successfully treated with prolotherapy include, among others:

What to expect

Prolotherapy, which is sometimes called proliferation therapy, is administered via an injection. The injection contains natural stimulants and anesthetic to keep you comfortable. Often the solution may contain dextrose, saline, and sarapin along with the anesthetic agents. 

The solution is injected directly into the area where you’re injured. We work to keep you comfortable, but whether or not the injection is painful depends on where your injury is, as well as the exact solution your provider deems most appropriate for your injury. The anesthetic agent in the solution should keep any pain you feel short-lived. 

After the injection, you may have some swelling, which indicates your body is working to heal itself. Depending on your situation, the severity of your injury, and many other factors, your provider may suggest regular treatments, spaced 3-6 weeks apart. 

How prolotherapy works

The injection stimulates your body’s natural healing response. It creates a mild inflammatory response and encourages the repair of your injured soft tissues, which strengthens the weak area. 

When you get a mild injury, like a paper cut, your body responds quickly. Cells designed to repair or replace the damaged cells rush to the scene and healing commences. The cut may feel warm to the touch, which means that mild inflammation is taking place. 

We tend to think of inflammation as a bad thing, and in cases of chronic inflammation it can be. But inflammation is also part of your body’s healing response, and prolotherapy stimulates some inflammation to help heal your damaged soft tissues. 

If you have a joint injury, and you’d like to learn more about prolotherapy and find out if you might be a good candidate, book an appointment with us at The Osteopathic Center for Healing today. 

You can request an appointment online, or you’re welcome to call us at 301-245-1940.

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