Prolotherapy (proliferative therapy) is a treatment method for chronic pain. Its proposed mechanism of action is that a precise injection of a dextrose and lidocaine solution triggers a localized inflammatory response, thereby stimulating blood supply to the area and prompting the incoming supply of immune cells to repair the tissue. Prolotherapy can stimulate the formation of new, healthy tissue in an area in which existing tissue has been damaged or weakened.
What conditions are treated with prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Although its effectiveness has not been definitively proven, it has been successfully used to treat pain-causing disorders that include arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, chronic tendonitis, partially torn tendons or ligaments, sciatica and back pain.
How does prolotherapy work?
Prolotherapy solution is injected into the ligament or tendon at the site of the injured joint. This produces some inflammation, but only in the damaged tissue. The body reacts by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to the inflamed/damaged area, helping its tissue to heal.
How many treatments does prolotherapy require?
Treatment with prolotherapy depends on the nature and extent of the damage within the joint, as well as how quickly a person heals. For some people, a course of treatment may be complete after a few sessions, whereas others may require more than 10. For most injuries, the average number of treatment sessions is between 4 and 6; each treatment typically takes place 4 to 6 weeks apart.
How long do the benefits of prolotherapy last?
Prolotherapy not only helps the body to heal injured tendons and ligaments, but actually results in the creation of new tissue, which can increase the size of a ligament or tendon, making it stronger than before. However, the area is still susceptible to injury, especially if the underlying cause injury is still present. Although the results of prolotherapy should, in theory, be permanent, further studies are needed to prove this conclusively.
Does prolotherapy cause any side effects?
Possible side effects, which can last between 2 and 4 days, include swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache or nausea. More common side effects are soreness and some stiffness at the treatment site for 1 to 2 days after the procedure is performed.
Is prolotherapy covered by medical insurance?
Prolotherapy is not covered by medical insurance companies or Medicare because it is considered it an experimental treatment whose effectiveness has not been objectively demonstrated.