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Top 5 Reasons to Get Prolotherapy

By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - January 7, 2020

What is Prolotherapy? 
Prolotherapy is a medical procedure for musculoskeletal pain. The prefix “prolo” comes from the word “proliferate,” since this treatment stimulates the body’s natural ability to create new connective tissue. Frequently, the underlying cause of musculoskeletal pain is ligaments (connective tissue that connects bones to each other) that have become damaged or weakness at the sites where tendons attach to bones (e.g., rotator cuff injuries). Prolotherapy creates a healing reaction in the body that allows ligaments and tendons to heal themselves. Prolotherapy is also called “regenerative injection technique” because it stimulates cells to regenerate damaged tissues.
If you’re looking for doctors who do this, you may see the words, Prolotherapy, Regenerative Injection Technique, or even Dextrose Prolotherapy (Prolotherapy can utilize dextrose or sugar in the solution).

What can Prolotherapy be used for?
Prolotherapy is an excellent treatment for musculoskeletal pain. The underlying cause of this pain is often a weakened ligament or tendon. Prolotherapy can restore the integrity of the tissue and relieve pain from arthritis, whiplash, sciatica, disk problems, hip pain, low back pain, rotator cuff (shoulder) pain, tennis elbow, old sports injuries, knee pain (osteoarthritis, ACL or PCL injuries), and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction.

How does Prolotherapy work?
Prolotherapy works by stimulating the production of new connective tissue. It does this by creating a local, controlled inflammatory reaction, which recruits specific cells in the area (fibroblasts) to strengthen ligaments and tendons. It also increases blood flow and growth factors in the area, which help with healing.

So, now that you know a little bit about what prolotherapy is, what it can be used for, and how it works, you may be thinking well this could be really useful for my _____ pain or injury.
So many people think they have to live with pain, take pain medications, or have surgery for their issue. All three of those choices are not optimal. You don't have to live in pain. 

Here are the Top 5 Reasons to Get Prolotherapy

1. Better Alternative to Surgery
When faced with the very serious prospect of having major surgery, it is good practice to research every option available. Depending on the condition, many people are choosing a more natural way to heal their bodies.

Prolotherapy is less of a commitment than surgery. Surgery can not be undone. Once a patient has had a surgical procedure, they can NEVER go backwards and un-do the surgery. General Anesthesia poses risks for the patient also. Surgery is not a quick fix as some may believe it to be. There is always post-operative recovery time from surgery. For some patients, the road of recovery is long, painful, and not without complications. Some patients are in worse pain after the surgery than they were before it.

Prolotherapy requires no long-term commitment like surgery. All procedures are done in the office and require no general anesthesia, no overnight stays, and no major recovery. Most patients are back to normal daily activities the day of or after treatment.

2. Faster Healing and Recovery Time
I have already mentioned the long recovery time following surgery, however with Prolotherapy, there is virtually no down time. After Prolotherapy treatment, a patient is able to walk out of the office on his/her own. The patient may experience 24 to 72 hours of post-injection soreness (usually not painful enough to warrant pain medication). This is expected and very normal. Patients are also able to go back to work the same or next day. The rehabilitation process can start as early as a few days to one week after the procedure. Patients usually are able to return to their sport or activities within 1-3 weeks. Putting too much stress on the treated area (ie high impact or high weight) may not be advised, depending on the patient and case. Patients can still exercise, walk, work out gently and use the joint as they normally would.
3. Physical Tolls
When a patient chooses to replace a joint or alter a joint via surgery, they are often required to complete lengthy sessions with a Physical Therapist. These sessions are necessary for the patient to adapt to the new joint or new joint structure. There is numbness in the incision areas after surgery and it takes time to learn to use the surgically altered body part.

Prolotherapy works with a patient’s existing joint, and simply prompts the immune system to heal itself naturally. Physical therapy following treatment can be helpful, but is used more to increase and optimize the function of the joint rather than the grueling therapy required following a major joint replacement. It is not nearly as involved as learning to walk again after a knee or hip has been replaced through surgery.
4. Cost
When a patient has surgery, they often miss weeks, sometimes even months of work due to the recovery process. The cost of surgery is massive already, but most people don't think about the cost of lost earnings from work. Recent health insurance plans have deductibles that are quite high, between $3,000-$8,000/year. On average, most people pay several thousands dollars just for the surgery. Add to this the expenses of co-pays, follow-up visits, physical therapy, and missed work.

Prolotherapy is significantly less costly than surgery. Regenerative Injection Therapies, including Stem Cells, often cost less than the patient’s deductible!
5. Low Risk and High Reward
The risk of surgery is very high (as mentioned before). If the surgery doesn’t work and the pain still persists, patients have to live with pain that can be worse than it was before, even after investing a lot of time and money in the treatment. Surgery has the potential to structurally change a joint that becomes weakened, unstable, and causes more injuries to the surrounding ligaments, muscles and bones.

When a patient chooses to do Prolotherapy, they are risking very little. The worst-case scenario for a patient choosing Prolotherapy is that the treatment may not give the patient the relief they are looking for. There is always a small risk of infection with any injection procedure, but assuming all things were done properly during the procedure, that risk is very very low. If the treatment doesn't work for a particular person, for whatever the reason, there is no harm done to the person's body (they will be out a small bit of money).

Prolotherapy can be an incredible treatment for so many patients. A lot of the time, the patient's pain improves quickly after the first treatment, which can bring them tremendous relief. Sometimes, patients have more than one body part involved in an injury and depending on the patient and physician, it's possible to treat more than one area to give the patient maximum strength, pain relief and return of optimal function.

Patients should always do their own homework and research their options before choosing to undergo any procedure, be it injections or surgery. It is clear that there is less risk and more benefits associated with Prolotherapy. Surgery is about as foreign and final as it gets and living in pain shouldn't be something anyone should have to do.

If you have any questions about Prolotherapy or would like to know if this treatment is right for you, you can call FORM Medical at 720-370-9559 or check out