What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a highly effective nutritive injection technique used to address joint pain and injuries. Prolotherapy treatment induces growth hormone factors to the area of injury. These growth hormone factors stimulate the body’s natural healing process to repair and heal ligaments and tendons, thus reducing pain, inflammation, and stabilizing weak and unstable joints.
Prolotherapy does not suppress pain nor weaken ligaments and lead to degeneration like cortisol does; instead, prolotherapy is regenerative strengthening partially torn and damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, thereby reducing joint pain. Thus, Prolotherapy is also known as Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT).
Historically, a version of Prolotherapy was used by Hippocrates to treat soldiers with torn or injured shoulders.
What does the procedure involve?
Dextrose (sugar water solution) along with procaine (a nutritive anesthetic) coupled with B12 and homeopathics is injected into the area of pain generators in the musculo-skeletal tissue, especially at origins and insertions of tendons and ligaments into the bone. The injection technique coupled with the nutritive solution is extremely effectively in healing chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, vertebral degeneration, tendinosis, etc.
In certain cases, guided ultrasound imaging may be used to help the physician identify the pathology of the condition and the location of the injection.
How long is a course of treatment?
Prolotherapy is a very individualized treatment. Each individual responds differently and many require different number of treatments. On the average, Prolotherapy may involve 4-8 sessions of injections performed by your physician every 4-6 weeks per area.
Supporting the Prolotherapy injections with nutrition and supplementation may reduce the number of treatments required.
Prolotherapy is very effective for the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degenerated or herniated discs
- Joint injuries
- Partially torn ligaments, cartilage, tendons
- Sports and motor vehicle injuries
- TMJ syndrome and pain
What is the Pre and post-procedural treatment?
Prior to the procedure, all NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Advil, aspirin, Motrin, etc) must be avoided for at least 1 week prior to the injections. Also, medications such as corticosteroids and narcotics must also be avoided for at least 3 days prior to the injection.
After the procedure:
- Moderate to excessive exercise must be avoided for 2-5 days. Mild range of motion exercises of the area are recommended during the first 2-5 days.
- Hydration is important so increasing intake of water is recommended.
- Any anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin, etc. must also be avoided. If pain is severe after the procedure, Tylenol may be used 1-2 times per day.
- Supplements to increase healing may be recommended by your physician.
Is Prolotherapy safe?
Prolotherapy is very safe when performed by a skilled physician. The substances used are natural and preservative-free. As with any type of injection, there is always a risk of pain and soreness at the site of injection. Other risks that may occur in rare cases include: infections, allergy reaction, pain/inflammation of local nerves which may last for 3 days to 3 months. A final rare risk is seizures resulting from the procaine.
After Prolotherapy, in the site of injection, patients may experience pain and soreness for 2-4 days followed by a reduction of pain and the instigation of healing.
How much does a Prolotherapy treatment cost?
Each Prolotherapy injection is unique to the individual and the area of concern. For an estimate of rates for your particular condition, please consult your physician.
If ultrasound imaging is performed by your physician along with Prolotherapy, an additional imaging fee will apply.
Is Prolotherapy covered by insurance?
Prolotherapy is regarded as “investigational” by most insurance companies and is often not covered. However, Prolotherapy may be covered by your auto-insurance in cases of car accident victims, and is often reimbursable by your medical flex plans. Each Prolotherapy injection session must be paid for in full at the time of service.
In cases, where ultrasound imaging is used to identify the condition or to guide the needle to the area of injury, the ultrasound imaging is most likely covered by your medical insurance plan.