Prolotherapy: How Does It Work and What Conditions Does It Treat?

Prolotherapy, Osteopathic Center for Healing

If you’ve never heard of prolotherapy, you may be wondering what exactly it is. It’s considered an alternative therapy, and it’s most often used to treat injuries to connective tissues and joints.

How prolotherapy works

Prolotherapy involves injections of a mild irritant into the injured part of your body. Most of the time the injection contains saline, dextrose (a type of sugar), and lidocaine, which is a numbing agent. Dr. Spiegel custom tailors the injection, so the exact composition depends on your needs.

The fact that the injection is a mild irritant causes your body begin a healing response, and a cascade of events results in new, healthy cells. You’re likely to feel less pain, have more strength, and be able to move the injured joint better.

Prolotherapy is not the same as platelet-rich plasma injections or stem cell therapy. Both of those types of therapies are composed of elements obtained from your own blood. There is a slightly higher risk associated with prolotherapy injections, but the risks are minimal.

Cortisone injections are also different from prolotherapy. These injections simply treat the symptoms rather than helping your body actually heal.

Conditions that prolotherapy treats

Prolotherapy can be successfully used to treat a range of conditions. Some of them include:

Before recommending prolotherapy, Dr. Spiegel performs diagnostic tests, discusses your medical history with you, and orders lab work.

You are a unique individual and your particular pain or condition requires a treatment plan designed specifically for you. When you come to the Osteopathic Center for Healing, Dr. Spiegel evaluates your injury or condition and suggests a treatment approach that meets your specific needs and goals.

What to expect during a prolotherapy treatment

Usually, a prolotherapy treatment takes about 30 minutes or so. First, our staff will clean the skin in the area being treated, then apply a lidocaine cream. After that, Dr. Spiegel will give the injection.

You may be given heat packs to use for 10-15 minutes following the injection. In the hours or days following the treatment you may have some swelling, stiffness, or bruising. These symptoms should resolve fairly quickly.

Research on prolotherapy

There is some debate within the scientific research community regarding prolotherapy, mostly because until recently there were few high-quality clinical studies to support its use, and there were some questions regarding what the long-term effects of the therapy may be.

In 2016, a group of researchers conducted a systematic review of previously published research into dextrose prolotherapy. They concluded that it’s an appropriate treatment in tendon injuries, osteoporosis, and pain in the spine and pelvis due to ligament dysfunction.

Prolotherapy is considered safe for most people. There are some risks, but the therapy is generally very well-tolerated, and Dr. Spiegel thoroughly assesses your specific situation before suggesting prolotherapy.

If you live in or around Rockville, Maryland, and you’d like to learn more about prolotherapy, book an appointment online or by phone today. Our staff is happy to discuss your situation. Prolotherapy may bring the relief you’ve been seeking.

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