Prolotherapy is any injection therapy that stimulates the innate healing capacity of the body. Initially prolotherapy evolved in the early 1900’s after spinal surgeons saw that injured ligaments seemed to be involved with the majority of their surgery cases for herniated discs. They then studied the effects of using a concentrated dextrose (sugar) solution that would irritate the ligaments and provoke the body into restarting the healing cascade. Since then, we have learned that concentrated dextrose has the ability to help repair cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It is a common misconception for patients and practitioners to believe that this causes scar tissue but research has conclusively proved that normal tissue grows into the areas where the prolotherapy solution is injected.
More important than the injection, is the prolotherapy understanding of how musculoskeletal problems start and how they are cured. This is known as Bio-tensegrity and it means understanding the relationship between tendons and ligaments that contribute to the symptom generator. Sometimes these are the same thing and many times there is more than just the area that is causing pain that is contributing to the condition. Healing the symptom generator involves treating the system in which it evolved.
Traditional pain management, orthopedics, physiatry uses methods like reducing pain transmission from the site by cutting, burning or injecting steroids around soft tissue injuries and nerves that come from the injured site. There is a place for these modalities but when there is an option to cure the cause of pain rather than just reduce the transmission of pain from an injured site, then this should be the first choice. Injured areas cause pain but more importantly they do not function correctly and this is how a small problem that is treated by masking the pain can spread to become a much larger problem. Prolotherapy is a fundamentally different perspective on treating the cause of chronic pain to optimize function and prevent future pathology and pain generators.