The original therapy in the field of regenerative medicine, prolotherapy is a non-surgical
technique using an irritating substance (often saline or dextrose) to initiate an
inflammatory response to help heal injured tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue
structures. It can be used to treat certain types of back pain. The goal of the injection is
relieve pain and restore function to the injured structure by improving laxity and
weakness. By injecting the saline or dextrose, a low level inflammatory response is
started, which produces various chemicals called growth factors. This activates
fibroblasts, which are the precursors for collagen formation, which reinforce connective
tissue. Other terms for prolotherapy include sclerosant therapy or sclerotherapy.
What conditions does prolotherapy treat?
The use of prolotherapy has been used for many years. It can be an effective back pain
treatment for those suffering from degenerative disc disease as well as used to treat
various musculoskeletal injuries including:
● Chronic tendon injuries (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Achilles tendonosis, etc)
● Acute ligament injuries (ACL tears, rotator cuff tears)
● Acute muscle injuries (hamstring tears, bicep tears, etc)
● Osteoarthritis in joints (knee, shoulders, hip)
● Labral tears (shoulder, hip)
● Plantar Fasciitis
Who is a candidate for this back pain treatment?
After exhausting conservative treatment options including a comprehensive physical
therapy regimen, individuals may be considered candidates for prolotherapy injections.
Often, one injection is not enough to provide the desired outcome, which is complete
repair of the injured soft tissue; typically three injections are needed for full benefit.
What Are The Advantages Of Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy was first practiced in the 1930s with a long track record of safety. There is
limited risk associated with the injections. Additionally, the injection material is rather
inert, which limits systemic side effects.
Are You A Good Candidate For Prolotherapy?
After trying more conservative options for your back pain, discuss with Dr. Li at
Integrative Medical Pain Clinic if prolotherapy is right for you. Most individuals are
candidates if you have exhausted other treatment options.