What Is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is an alternative treatment for severe musculoskeletal disorders. This treatment involves the administration of irritant-solutions via injections at the targeted region on your body.
How Does Prolotherapy Work?
The irritant triggers the body’s healing, regenerative, and reconstructive cells where injected. With time, the ligaments strengthen, and the joints become less painful, more stable and supportive.
A prolotherapy session usually takes an average of 10 shots, over the course of half a year. Moreover, to prevent risks, the placement of the shots should be precise. Specifically, the shots have to be in the exact area of the injury to prove effective.
History of Prolotherapy
While the notion of injury-stimulated healing can be traced back to the Romans, Prolotherapy, as it is known today, began in the early 1900s. The Romans used hot needles to poke the shoulders of injured warriors, and that later evolved into the treatment of ligamentous laxity.
In the US, in the mid-1900s, a general surgeon by the name George S. Hackett used irritant solutions repair hernias and joints complications for the first time. Thus, modern Prolotherapy was born.
Conditions Prolotherapy Can Treat
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Lower back pain
- Plantar fasciosis
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Osgood Schlatter disease
- Lateral epicondylosis
Side Effects of Prolotherapy
The common side effects of prolotherapy include mild irritation and pain at the site of administration, and they fade within three days after injection.
Other reported side-effects include numbness and bleeding, although they are both mild, restricted to the area of injection administration, and disappear within 72 hours.
Prolotherapy is primarily an injection-based technique, which involves administration of irritant solutions into musculoskeletal tissues.
Usually, the solutions used are sugars, glycerin, cod liver oil extract, and lidocaine. This injection is administered into the joints, the tendons connecting the bones, weakened ligaments or tendon insertions.
What to Expect
For a patient to be eligible for prolotherapy, they have to meet specific criteria, and the doctor will assess them for suitability.
- The patient must have a join or ligament injury that is not chronic
- The patient must undergo an imaging exam like X-ray. This allows the doctor to fully determine the location and severity of the wound
- The patient should stop taking anti-inflammatory medications a few days before starting prolotherapy
- A good meal, particularly rich in proteins, is essential on the day of the session
- Also, the doctor may use rubbing alcohol, sterilizing solution, or a numbing cream to reduce the pain associated with the process.
Critique of Prolotherapy
Because there is little scientific evidence for Prolotherapy, many Medicare reviewers and practitioners do not accept it as a valid form of treatment. Consequently, significant medical insurance policies do not cover its costs and consider it to be in its experimental and investigative phases.