Prolotherapy, also known as "Proliferation Therapy" or "Proliferative Injection Therapy," is injection of a non-medicinal irritant solution in the body. It is injected in the area of tendons or ligaments to promote strengthening of a feeble connective tissue and relieve musculoskeletal pains. This therapy is noninvasive and its aim is to stimulate healing. The basis of treatment of this therapy is to stimulate the human body's naturally present healing mechanism so as to repair any injury to the musculoskeletal tissues.
History of Prolotherapy or Proliferation Therapy or Proliferative Injection Therapy
The phenomenon of generating injury to facilitate healing has been known to occur as early as the Roman era. The treatment with Prolotherapy is believed to have started in the 1930's by Dr. Earl Gedney. He was an osteopathic surgeon who was successful in treating his own severe hand injury. In the '50s, a general surgeon named Dr. George Hackett from the United States of America started giving injections of irritant solutions to repair joints.
Uses of Prolotherapy or Proliferation Therapy or Proliferative Injection Therapy
Prolotherapy is used for management of chronic pain, acute pain, joint pain, or other pain management issues like back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, hand pain, migraines or other headaches, hip pain, ankle pain etc.
Understanding Prolotherapy or Proliferation Therapy or Proliferative Injection Therapy
Prolotherapy is performed by injecting an irritant solution in a joint space, a weak ligament, or tendon insertion for pain relief. The most common solutions that are used for Prolotherapy are hyperosmolar dextrose, glycerine, lidocaine, phenol, sodium morrhuate. The injections are given in the joints or tendons at their attachment to the bone. Prolotherapy is assumed to restart the inflammatory process that builds up new fibers and thus repairing flaccid tendons or ligaments. It also promotes release of local growth factors. The precise method of action is still not known but once repaired the weak areas stop sending pain signals to the brain.
Prolotherapy treatment is generally given after every two to a maximum of every six weeks for a few months. Many people get Prolotherapy treatments at lesser intervals till the time they are not required.
Prolotherapy is given to people suffering from the following disorders.
- Low back pain.
- Knee osteoarthritis.
- Achilles tendinopathy.
- Shoulder dislocation.
- Neck strain.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
- Lateral epicondylitis.
- Pain due to a whiplash injury.
- Plantar fasciitis.
Some people who have received Prolotherapy have come across mild side effects which may include pain at the site injected along with numbness or mild bleeding. This pain is generally temporary and is treated with acetaminophen or in exceptional cases opioids. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs are generally not used but are given to those patients who have pain that is not calmed down by other forms of pain control. Some other adverse effects of Prolotherapy include lightheadedness, allergy to the agent injected, infection, or damage to the nerve.
There are different types of Prolotherapy. They are named as Dextrose Prolotherapy, PRP Prolotherapy, and Biocellular Prolotherapy.
Benefits of Prolotherapy or Proliferation Therapy or Proliferative Injection Therapy
Prolotherapy is found to be beneficial in treatment of various ailments such as low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder dislocation, neck strain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, fibromyalgia, pain due to a whiplash injury, plantar fasciitis etc.