Prolotherapy is an effective form of regenerative medicine. The treatment consists of an injection of natural substances that encourage growth of cells and tissues in damaged ligaments, tendons, and muscle attachments. Sometimes when a joint is injured, surrounding ligaments fail to spring back to their previous place. This is known as ligamentous insufficiency or laxity. Prolotherapy is effective in treating this condition.
The injection used is actually an irritant composed of dextrose, local anesthetic, and vitamin B12. While at times uncomfortable, inflammation is a natural part of the healing process that increases blood flow to an injured area, bringing white blood cells and forming connective tissue to assist in healing. When an injury occurs, the body’s initial inflammatory phase is 3-5 days. This may not be long enough to heal a more serious injury thoroughly. Prolotherapy injections are able to mimic this process in order to help the injured area heal more completely.
Prolotherapy is rapidly gaining in popularity because it is not only extremely safe and well tolerated, but it’s also quite effective. A major advantage in using prolotherapy in terms of pain management is that unlike narcotic pain medication it targets a very specific problem area. Prolotherapy has a history of use in treating lower back pain, degenerative arthritis, and pain associated with tendinopathies and ligament sprains.1 Studies have also shown substantial and consistent improvement in knee osteoarthritis after prolotherapy treatment.2 This case report demonstrates the use of dextrose prolotherapy in the treatment of chronic shoulder pain.3
1. Hauser RA, Hauser MA. A Retrospective Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Shoulder Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois. J Prolotherapy. 2009;1(4):205-216.
2. Rabago D, Zgierska A, Fortney L, et al. Hypertonic Dextrose Injections (Prolotherapy) for Knee Osteoarthritis: Results of a Single-Arm Uncontrolled Study with 1-Year Follow-Up. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(4):408-414. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0030.
3. Lee DH, Kwack KS, Rah UW, Yoon SH . Prolotherapy for Refractory Rotator Cuff Disease: Retrospective Case-Control Study of 1-Year Follow-Up. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Nov; 96(11):2027-32