Prolotherapy for Joint Pain

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Prolotherapy for Joint Pain

Prolotherapy is a non-surgical procedure sometimes used to treat injured and painful joints and connective tissue. This treatment is considered for chronic lower to mid-back pain, tendonitis, neck and knee pain, sprained ligaments and more.

How Does Prolotherapy Work?

Ligaments, cartilage and tendons can have poor healing properties, which make treatment necessary after an injury. With prolotherapy, patients are given an injection to the injured area, which stimulates the body to produce new tissue in the weakened areas. The three types of prolotherapy commonly used are:

Dextrose – Dextrose prolotherapy uses an injection of dextrose (sugar water), saline, and other natural substances.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) – A PRP prolotherapy injection consists of blood platelets with at least seven growth factors.

Biocellular prolotherapy – This type of injection relies on the use of repair cells from either bone marrow or fat tissue.


All three injection types cause a low-grade inflammation at the injury site, which prompts the body to release proteins and cells to promote healing. Patients can usually go home the same day after receiving treatment, and are instructed to refrain from taking anti-inflammatory pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, as they can suppress the necessary healing process prolotherapy injections produce. Treatments vary by patient, but can be administered every three to six weeks at a varying interval schedule depending on the prescribed plan of treatment.

Am I a Good Candidate for Prolotherapy?

Before undergoing prolotherapy, patients should be evaluated with a physical exam, full patient history, and an ultrasound or other exam. Doctors may order an MRI to determine the extent of any muscle/tissue damage. Some factors that point to a patient being a good candidate for prolotherapy are:

  • Overall good health
  • A ligament or tendon injury is the culprit of the majority of the pain
  • The presence of muscle spasms
  • A clear MRI
  • Good range of motion

There are some patients with a limited range of motion and abnormal MRI that could still benefit from prolotherapy. Be sure to discuss all options with your healthcare provider.


Preferred Pain Management