Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection treatment used to stimulate the healing mechanism to repair damaged or injured areas in the spine and joints.
Prolotherapy is considered a viable alternative to surgery and as an option to pain medications and anti-inflammatory injections such as cortisone and other steroids.
Prolotherapy involves the treatment of two specific kinds of tissue: tendons and ligaments. Tendon attache muscles to bones and enable movement of the joints. Ligaments connect bones and create the stability of the joints. A strain is defined as a stretched or injured tendon; a sprain, a stretched or injure ligament. Once these structures are injured, the immune system is stimulated to repair the injured area. Because ligaments and tendons generally have a poor blood supply, incomplete healing is common after injury. This incomplete healing results in these normally taut, strong bands of fibrous or connective tissue becoming relaxed and weak. The relaxed and inefficient ligament or tendon then becomes the source of chronic pain and weakness.
The greatest stresses to ligaments and tendons occur where they attach to bone, the fibro-osseous junction. The most sensitive structures that produce pain are the periosteum (covering of the bone) and the ligaments. It is important to note that in the scale of pain sensitivity (which part of the body hurts more when injured), the periosteum ranks first, followed by ligaments, tendons, fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds muscle), and finally muscle. Cartilage contains no sensory nerve endings. If you are told that your cartilage is the cause of your pain, you have been misinformed; the cartilage cannot hurt because it contains no pain-sensing nerves. If there is cartilage damage, the ligaments are typically the structures that hurt. Ligaments are weakest where they attach to bone. The periosteum is the most sensitive area to pain and the ligaments second. It is in these specific painful areas where Prolotherapy injections are administred to eliminate the chronic pain of many conditions including arthritis, mechanical low back pain, degenerative disc disease, cartilage damage, and sports injuries.
Prolotherapy works by exactly the same process that the human body naturally uses to stimulate the body’s healing system, a process called inflammation. The technique involves the injection of a proliferant (a mild irritant solution) that causes an inflammatory response which “turns on” the healing process. The growth of new ligament and tendon tissue is then stimulated. The ligaments and tendons produced after Prolotherapy appear much the same as normal tissues, except that they are thicker, stronger, and contain fibers of varying thickness, testifying to the new and ongoing creation of tissue.
The number of injections varies based on the condition and on the patient’s presentation.