Exploring Prolotherapy: The Groundbreaking Technique for Pain Management and Healing

Exploring Prolotherapy: The Groundbreaking Technique for Pain Management and Healing

Prolotherapy has become increasingly popular due to its numerous benefits and effectiveness in treating various musculoskeletal conditions. This treatment technique, which stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms, is an effective option for pain management and to promote healing. In this article, we will delve into the world of prolotherapy, explore its advantages, and discuss the conditions it can treat. We will also provide an overview of the prolotherapy treatment process to give you a better understanding of this innovative approach to pain management and healing.

Introduction to Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy, also known proliferative therapy, is a non-surgical treatment that promotes the body’s natural healing processes. It involves injecting a solution, typically consisting of dextrose, into damaged or injured areas of the body. This solution triggers an inflammatory response, which, in turn, stimulates the body’s healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen damaged tissues and joints. Unlike other treatments, prolotherapy addresses the root cause of pain by targeting the damaged tissues and promoting healing rather than simply masking the pain with medications or relying on surgery.

The concept of prolotherapy dates back to the 1930s, when Dr. Earl Gedney, an osteopathic physician, first introduced the technique. Dr. Gedney discovered that by injecting a solution into the weakened area of the body, he could trigger the healing process and relieve pain. Since then, the technique has evolved and gained recognition as a viable option for pain management and healing, with numerous studies supporting its effectiveness. The term “prolotherapy” was first used in the 1950s by Dr. George Hackett.

Benefits of Prolotherapy for Pain Management and Healing

Prolotherapy offers several benefits as a treatment for pain management. Some of the key advantages of this therapy include:

  • Effectiveness: Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of prolotherapy in reducing pain and improving function in patients suffering from various conditions. In many cases, patients experience significant improvement in their symptoms after just a few sessions.
  • Non-surgical: As a non-surgical treatment, prolotherapy presents a lower risk of complications and fewer side effects compared to surgical procedures. It is an excellent option for individuals seeking a less invasive approach to treating their pain and promoting healing.
  • Minimally invasive: Prolotherapy involves the use of small injections, making it a minimally invasive procedure. This means there is little to no downtime, and patients can typically return to their normal activities shortly after treatment.
  • Natural approach: Prolotherapy harnesses the body’s natural healing abilities by stimulating an inflammatory response at the site of injury. This natural approach to healing is appealing to many individuals who prefer to avoid medications or surgery.
  • Long-lasting relief: By addressing the root cause of pain and promoting the repair of damaged tissues, prolotherapy offers long-lasting relief from pain. This stands in contrast to other treatments that may only provide temporary relief.

Conditions That Can Be Treated

Prolotherapy has been proven effective in treating a wide range of conditions related to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Some of the most common conditions that can benefit from prolotherapy include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Prolotherapy can help alleviate pain and improve joint function in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis by stimulating the body’s healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen the affected joint.
  • Tendinopathy: Tendons are fibrous bands that connect muscles to bones, and when they become damaged or irritated, it can result in tendinopathy. Prolotherapy can be an effective treatment for tendinopathy by promoting the regeneration and repair of damaged tendons.
  • Chronic back pain: Back pain is a common condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Prolotherapy can provide long-lasting relief from chronic back pain by targeting the damaged tissues and promoting healing.
  • Sports injuries: Sports injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears, can be effectively treated with prolotherapy. The treatment can help repair and strengthen damaged tissues, allowing athletes to return to their sport more quickly.

The Prolotherapy Treatment Process

The prolotherapy treatment process typically involves several sessions, spaced apart by several weeks. During each session, a solution is injected into the damaged area, triggering an inflammatory response and promoting healing. The number of sessions required will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment.

Before the treatment, the healthcare provider will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if prolotherapy is the right treatment option. They will also discuss the treatment process and potential risks and benefits with the patient.

During the treatment, the healthcare provider will use a small needle to inject the solution into the damaged area under ultrasound guidance. The patient may experience some discomfort during the injection, but it is typically brief and well-tolerated. After the injection, the patient may experience mild swelling and pain at the injection site, which should resolve within a few days.

Following the treatment, the healthcare provider may recommend rest and limited activity for a short period. They may also recommend exercises or physical therapy to help strengthen the affected area and promote healing.


Prolotherapy is an effective treatment option for pain management and to promote healing. This non-surgical and minimally invasive technique harnesses the body’s natural healing mechanisms to repair and strengthen damaged tissues, providing long-lasting relief from pain. Prolotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of conditions related to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. If you are struggling with chronic pain or seeking a natural approach to healing, prolotherapy may be an excellent option for you.

To learn more about prolotherapy and whether it may be right for you, talk to the experts at San Diego Orthopedics Medical Group. Fill out the form below to get started.

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Common Conditions Prolotherapy Can Treat

Common Conditions Prolotherapy Can Treat

Prolotherapy, also known as proliferative therapy, is a treatment used to boost the body’s own natural healing capabilities to reduce inflammation, stimulate proliferation of injured tissue and relieve pain.

This is a minimally invasive therapy that involves injection of natural solutions to the injured tissue to stimulate healing. The main ingredient in the injection is dextrose, a sugar solution, which acts as an irritant to the body.  The body reacts to the dextrose by stimulating repair and activating its natural healing abilities. The patient experiences relief as the injured tissue strengthens and heals. 

What Conditions Can Prolotherapy Treat?

Prolotherapy can be used to treat any number of orthopedic conditions including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ligament sprains 
  • Ligament laxity
  • Tennis elbow 
  • Tendinopathy
  • Sacroiliac joint ( SI joint) dysfunction
  • Achilles tendinopathy

What Does Prolotherapy Entail?

Your physician will first complete an appropriate clinical evaluation and diagnostic testing to determine if you are a good candidate for prolotherapy. The procedure is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a medical clinic using local anesthesia. You may be asked to discontinue anti-inflammatory medications 3-5 days prior to the procedure.  The procedure is performed using ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance for precise localization of target and delivery of the solution. A small needle is used to inject the prolotherapy solution to the injured area using imaging guidance. Depending on the extent of the injury, a series of injections performed a few weeks apart may be needed for a successful treatment. You will be asked to take it easy for a few days and return to normal activity and exercises after 3-5 days. The procedure is very well tolerated with no downtime.

How Effective is This Type of Therapy?

Prolotherapy is a proven treatment that has been in use for more than 80 years and is practiced by physicians around the world. A review in the US National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health evaluated 32 studies on dextrose prolotherapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain. It concluded that “dextrose prolotherapy has been demonstrated to be efficacious and should be considered as a treatment for pain and dysfunction associated with chronic musculoskeletal conditions, particularly tendinopathies and osteoarthritis.”[i] 

A good review of prolotherapy treatments can be found here and here.

To learn more about SDOMG and how they have successfully utilized prolotherapy for more than three decades, fill out the form below:

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Drs. Mary A. Ambach and Chris Rogers of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group have successfully treated hundreds of patients with prolotherapy and other cell-based treatments for more than three decades. Their state -of- the- art facility in Carlsbad offers the most advanced Regenerative Medicine treatments in San Diego with the highest level of safety and efficacy. 

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938120/

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