Author: Brooke Carmen, PT, DPT: Doctor of Physical Therapy and Blog Contributor. Loves fun informational gems. Fitness addict and wannabe foodie. Emphasizes patient-specific treatment style and promotes goal-oriented care. Learn more about Brooke on here. gems. Fitness addict and wannabe foodie. Emphasizes patient-specific treatment style and promotes goal-oriented care. Learn more about Brooke on here.
Q. What is prolotherapy?
A. Prolotherapy, also known as proliferative therapy, is a non-surgical intervention used to help treat joint pain and dysfunction. Prolotherapy is used in hopes of increasing damaged ligament and tendon connective tissue. Prolotherapy injections are usually made of substances such as dextrose, saline, and sarapin. Dextrose is a sugar that our bodies naturally produce. Saline is a mixture of sodium chloride and water. Sarapin is a mixture of salts and bases.
Q. What is prolotherapy best used for?
A. Acute injuries such as an ankle sprain rather than chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It can be used for multiple joints including the shoulder and back.
Q. Does it work?
A. Small studies show that it can work for tendon injuries such as lateral epicondylitis. Other conditions such as low back pain and osteoarthritis do not have a lot of evidence to support the use of prolotherapy as they are more complex in nature.
Q. What are the side effects?
A. A flare in pain that usually lasts 72 hours. Mild bleeding and numbness at the injection site. Most flares in pain related to the injection completely resolve within 5-7 days. 
Q. Where can I get prolotherapy?
A. A certified prolotherapy provider. These providers are mainly medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, and naturopathic doctors. One local doctor is Dr. Black with A Family Healing Center which is right down the hall from Whole Body Health Physical Therapy.
1. Rabago, David, et al. “Prolotherapy in Primary Care Practice.” Primary Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831229/.