What is prolotherapy? Well you can check out our page devoted entirely to prolotherapy here. But lets talk about it in a bit more depth.
This therapy gets me pretty excited, because its really very naturopathic. What do I mean by that? Prolotherapy is stimulating the body’s own healing response. This is what we are trying to do everyday in naturopathic practice, stimulate the body to self-heal.
Prolotherapy is also known as regenerative injection therapy. The reason we call it ‘regenerative’ is because we are stimulating the body to regenerate healthy tissues.
How do we do this? Well it starts with an injection of an irritant solution. In many cases the irritant solution used is dextrose (sugar), however other substances can be used such as sodium morrhuate or pumice. We inject this solution into an area – usually around a joint – of ligament and tendon attachment. When the irritant solution is introduced it stimulates an inflammatory cascade at the area of injection.
Inflammation, you are probably thinking, is a bad thing. But this isn’t the case at all. Inflammation is essential for any healing to take place in the body. Inflammatory cells are responsible for regenerating new tissue to replace old and flushing out old dead cells from areas of injury. Uncontrolled chronic inflammation is what contributes to disease and gives inflammation a bad reputation.
Lets come back to our inflammatory cascade occurring at the site of a prolotherapy injection. An area that has not healed properly usually due to repetitive stress or poor blood flow or improper nutrition or lack of sleep or an incomplete inflammatory process, will respond well to a prolotherapy injection.
The goal with prolotherapy is to establish stability around the affected joint, increase mobility and decrease pain.
When is this useful? Prolotherapy should be considered in cases of:
- Chronic injury, repetitive sprains
- Arthritis related pain and instability
- Low back pain
- SI joint pain
- Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow
- Sciatica pain
- Ankle instability from sprains or breaks
- Plantar fasciitis and foot arch problems
- Pelvic instabilty, pubic symphysis instability
- Shoulder instability – frequent separations, AC joint separation, frozen shoulder
More and more research is emerging on the benefits of prolotherapy. Some worth noting, for conditions such as tennis elbow (1,2), plantar fasciitis (3), Achilles tendonopathy (4), and knee osteoarthritis (5) among others.
Prolotherapy is a very safe therapy when done by a properly trained practitioner. As with any injection therapy there are rare risks that should always be discussed with your practitioner. Prolotherapy injections can be painful, and will create inflammation meaning that the area may be sore and swollen for a few days.
Give us a call if you would like to book your prolotherapy treatment or if you have any questions about how prolotherapy and naturopathic medicine can work for you.
1. Scarpone M, et al. The efficacy of prolotherapy for lateral epicondylosis: a pilot study. Clinical J Sports Med 2008;18:248–254.
2. Carayannopoulos et al. Prolotherapy Versus Corticosteroid Injections for the Treatment of Lateral Epicondylosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PM R 2011;3:706-715.
3. Ryan MB, et al. Sonographically guided intratendinous injections of hyperosmolar dextrose/lidocaine: a pilot study for the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis. Br J Sports Med 2009;43:303–306.
4. Maxwell NJ, Et al. Sonographically guided intratendinous injection of hyperosmolar dextrose to treat chronic tendinosis of the Achilles tendon: a pilot study. Am J Roent 2007;189(4):W215–220.
5. Rabago D. Et al. Hypertonic dextrose injection for knee osteoarthritis: results of a single arm uncontrolled study with 1 year follow up. J Altern Compl Medicine 2012;18:408-14.
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