Prolotherapy, also known as a regenerative joint injection, is a non-surgical procedure in which a dextrose solution is injected into affected joints and ligaments to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. The intentional inflammatory response caused by the solution “jump starts” the healing process, while also helping strengthen ligaments, enhance cartilage and overall increase the stability of joints.

Although not a new technique, it is gaining popularity among healthcare practitioners to treat a variety of acute and chronic ailments. Conditions treated can include:

Prolotherapy is permanent treatment, and it relies on the body repairing itself to reduce pain. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications only provide temporary relief. Similarly, surgical options do not always work to fully stabilize a joint.

What to Expect

Prolotherapy is generally administered at intervals of three to four weeks. The treatment involves the injection of a mixture containing an irritant and a local anesthetic. A total of three to four treatments is typical.

During or before an assessment, your doctor will likely examine X-rays or other imaging results. The images will help him or her decide if the procedure is feasible, given the location and severity of the injury. Any anti-inflammatory medications should be discontinued two-to-three days before the procedure, as it could prevent the procedure from working.

On the day of the prolotherapy, you should eat well, preferably a protein-rich meal.

During the procedure, your doctor will prepare your skin with rubbing alcohol or another sterilizing solution. In some cases, if you are in considerable pain or discomfort, additional sedation may be used.

Once prepared, your doctor will use a needle to deliver the solution to several different points around the target area in the back or joint. The number of injections may vary based on the area or joint affected.

Schedule an Appointment

This procedure might not be the best or most appropriate option for all patients. People with chronic conditions, for example, may not see any effects from the prolotherapy, so your doctor may suggest other alternatives.

To learn more or to see if this procedure is right for you, please schedule an appointment by calling the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine at (504) 988-8476.