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Prolotherapy for Musculoskeletal Pain

 Prolotherapy is a method of injection treatment designed to stimulate healing.1 This treatment is used for musculoskeletal pain which has gone on longer than 8 weeks such as low back and neck pain, chronic sprains and/or strains, whiplash injuries, tennis and golfer’s elbow, knee, ankle, shoulder or other joint pain, chronic tendonitis/tendonosis, and musculoskeletal pain related to osteoarthritis. Prolotherapy works by raising growth factor levels or effectiveness to promote tissue repair or growth.2 It can be used years after the initial pain or problem began, as long as the patient is healthy. Because prolotherapy works to repair weak and painful joint areas, it is a long term solution rather than a palliative measure such as drugs, and should be considered prior to the use of long term drugs or surgery in appropriate patients.

In the April 2005 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, the authors wrote: “In the case of chronic ligament or tendon pain that hasn’t responded to more conservative treatments such as prescribed exercise and physical therapy, prolotherapy may be helpful.”3 Prolotherapy has been used in the U.S. for musculoskeletal pain since the 1930’s, is endorsed by former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop,4 and has even made its way into the professional sports world.5 In a 2000 issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine, “Are Your Patients Asking About Prolotherapy?” the article starts:

“Prolotherapy, considered an alternative therapy, is quietly establishing itself in mainstream medicine because of its almost irresistible draw for both physicians and patients: nonsurgical treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.”

The article states that as many as 450,000 Americans had undergone prolotherapy and that some of the patients reporting benefits from prolotherapy were physicians themselves.6 Yet, many physicians have still not heard of or do not know much about prolotherapy.

Please refer to the Jan/Feb 2007 issue for the complete text. In the event you need to order a back issue, please click here.

Last updated on: April 13, 2016
First published on: January 1, 2007