“Prolo” is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation of new ligament tissue in areas where it has become weak.
Prolotherapy is an injection used to treat chronic, musculoskeletal pain. It works by stimulating the body’s own healing process to repair injured or weakened tissues. New fibrous tissue is created resulting in strengthening of the effected area.
Most commonly, the procedure involves the injection of a dextrose solution and an anesthetic such as procaine, but each treating physician will tailor the selection of injection substance according to the patient’s needs. (No steroids or cortisone are ever used.) This solution causes irritation and slight inflammation of the tissues. Your body naturally responds to this by mounting a repair process at that site encouraging growth of new ligament or tendon fibers, resulting in a strengthening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments repeat this process, allowing a gradual buildup of tissue to restore the original strength to the area.
The response to treatment varies from individual to individual, and depends upon one’s healing ability. The average number of treatments is four to six. The evaluation process enables your physician to determine if you are a candidate, and the approximate number of times you will need prolotherapy.