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Prolotherapy: How Does It Work and What Conditions Does It Treat?

Prolotherapy: How Does It Work and What Conditions Does It Treat?

About 20% of American adults deal with chronic pain, in some cases severe enough to prevent them from easily performing daily tasks. Pain management for chronic pain can be a challenge, with oral medications carrying harmful side effects and, in some cases, losing effectiveness when administered over long periods of time. 

When pain originates from joint or soft tissue deterioration, prolotherapy may be an effective alternative treatment that doesn’t rely on opioid medications or other harmful drug interactions. InVigorate Asheville specializes in prolotherapy as a treatment for osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions. 

Prolotherapy basics

Prolotherapy is a simple treatment consisting of injections of a mild irritant, typically saline and dextrose (a type of sugar), into the joints or other parts of your body that cause pain. The exact composition of the injection depends on your needs, usually assessed during your initial evaluation. Most prolotherapy solutions include lidocaine, a commonly used numbing agent, to minimize treatment discomfort and to jump-start pain relief. 

Since the injection is a mild irritant, prolotherapy stimulates a healing response in your body,  rebuilding and repairing tissue. New, healthy cells start to replace damaged tissue at the site of your pain.

A 2016 review of previously published research into the use of dextrose injections concluded that prolotherapy is an appropriate treatment for tendon injuries, osteoarthritis, and pain in the spine and pelvis due to ligament dysfunction. 

Prolotherapy is not the same as other injection-based treatments. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell therapy produce similar results, but each uses injected serums composed of elements obtained from your own blood. Cortisone injections use synthetic hormones to reduce inflammation symptoms rather than to promote healing. 

Conditions targeted by prolotherapy

Prolotherapy is often successful at providing relief from pain caused by: 

Ultimately, each patient is unique and your condition requires a treatment plan designed specifically for you, based on an examination and your medical history. 

What to expect

A minimally invasive treatment, prolotherapy injections usually take about 30 minutes. Your skin is cleaned and sterilized in the treatment area and a numbing spray can be used to reduce discomfort from the injections. Recovery time is short, typically 24 hours for most patients, after which you’re able to return to your normal activities. 

You may experience minor swelling, stiffness, or bruising at the sites of injection, but these symptoms generally resolve within 24 hours, though some bruising may linger. 

Consider prolotherapy as a complementary addition to your current pain management plan. While results vary by patient, you may be able to reduce or eliminate other drug-based pain relief strategies. 

Contact the team at InVigorate Asheville by phone or online to schedule an exam and consultation to learn more about prolotherapy and our other alternative medicine treatments. Your pain won’t take time off, so book your session today.  

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