What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy stimulates the body’s natural healing process to regenerate and repair damaged tissue. Since its appearance in the 1940s, it has steadily earned a reputation as an important treatment in the areas of pain management and injury rehabilitation. A growing body of research and clinical experience by naturopathic, osteopathic, and medical doctors is showing efficacy in treating joint instability, tendinopathy, ligament laxity, back pain and damaged ligaments or tendons. This includes many causes of shoulder, knee, elbow, hip, foot and back pain. While other therapies such as cortisone injections simply mask pain or provide temporary relief, prolotherapy has the capacity to provide actual and complete healing of the injured tissues - often eliminating the need for surgery or delaying it significantly.

What conditions does prolotherapy treat?

In general instability and or pain in any joint can be benefitted by prolotherapy. This includes. 

Shoulder 

Instability, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, SLAP injuries/labral tears, arthritis

Elbow

Instability, arthritis, tennis elbow/lateral epicondylosis, golfers elbow/medial epicondylosis, other tendinosis/tears

Wrist/Hand

Thumb arthritis and instability, carpal bone instability, carpal tunnel syndrome, TFCC tears, finger arthritis.

Hip/Pelvis

Instability, arthritis, pelvis tendinosis and pain, hip stabilizing muscles/tendons, chronic IT band tendonosis, Chronic hamstring strains/tears

Knee

Arthritis, ligament instability and tears, peripheral meniscal tears, Runner’s knee (tendinosis), Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease, Pes Anserine tendinosis

Ankle/Foot

Arthritis, instability and chronic ankle sprains, Sinus tarsi syndrome, Achilles tendonosis/tears, plantar fasciitis

Spine

Arthritis, instability, whiplash, disc disease, rib dysfunction, spondylosis, pain after surgery, low back pain, sciatica, neauralgia

SI Joint

Arthritis, instability

Pubis Symphysis

Osteitis pubis, instability, sports hernia

Other

Neuralgia, muscle spasm, other acute and chronic injuries, regional pain syndrome, other neurogenic pain

Note

Other conditions not listed may also benefit from prolotherapy

 

How do loose ligaments and tendons cause pain?

Ligaments are connective tissue fibers that attach across a joint to stabilize it. Tendons are made up of similar material and are the bridges or end points of muscles that attach them to the bone. So, tendons and muscle move joints and ligaments stabilize them. But what happens when the ligaments get loose—either from a traumatic injury or repetitive use—and can’t perform their job? Nerve fibers in the damaged ligaments send out pain signals to the brain. Subconscious reflex mechanisms cause surrounding muscles to tighten in an attempt to stabile the joint. Muscle tension and the mal-aligned bony structures can also irritate or compress nerves resulting in chronic pain signaling. This attempted but inadequate compensation leads to structural changes, chronic pain, and further instability.

Why are ligaments and tendons so hard to heal?

Think back to any anatomy diagram you’ve seen—with the red muscles and white or grey ligaments and tendons. It’s the same way in the body. Muscles are red because they have a rich blood supply while the white structures have very little. It is because of this poor blood supply that ligaments and tendons are notoriously poor healers. They often just don't receive enough oxygen and nutrients that are required for healing. This is why even if you’ve done “all the right things” that some injuries may not have healed completely or properly. 

Is Prolotherapy for me?

Prolotherapy is not a cure for all types of pain. Nor does it always eliminate 100% of one’s pain. It is, however, very good at addressing pain due to ligament instability. Because multiple systems are ultimately connected—knee bones connected to the hip bone—and a problem in one area can actually present in another area it takes a skilled practitioner to determine the underlying cause. While many injuries or pain may respond well to physiotherapy, chiropractic or massage, those due to chronic or traumatic injury where tendons, ligaments, or joint capsules are weakened require the structural cause to be addressed. Prolotherapy treatment truly gets to the root cause in these cases.