Prolotherapy, short for proliferation therapy or regenerative injection therapy, is a type of injection designed to promote natural healing of a ligament or tendon. The goal is to strengthen weakened connective tissue and improve musculoskeletal pain.
A sugar dextrose solution is commonly used; this solution is a non-pharmacological irritant and is injected into the ligament or tendon. The theory is that the solution causes an increase in blood supply and overall flow of nutrients to stimulate tissue repair. The dextrose solution causes a localized inflammation and self-initiates the tissue to repair itself. This may result in as much as 30-40% strengthening of the connective tissue.
This treatment is beneficial in certain types of musculoskeletal pain including sports injuries, whiplash injuries, chronic tendonitis, and injured tendons. Response to this treatment is variable and may require serial treatments. The average number of treatments is around four to six, but some patients may require over ten. A trained physician should evaluate you to see if you are a candidate for prolotherapy. After initiating treatment, your practitioner can provide you with a better estimate.