Regenerative Injections for Joint Pain Relief and Improved Function
If you have pain, injury, or dysfunction involving muscles, tendons, or ligaments, prolotherapy may be the key to a more complete recovery. For many patients, this specialized treatment offers tissue strength and function over and above what is available through exercise therapy alone.
The condition of ligaments often goes overlooked in injury healing and joint problems. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect bones. Because they are not well infiltrated by the circulatory system, they typically do not heal with the same efficiency as muscles, and often do not heal fully on their own. Exercise therapy may better strengthen ligaments compared to self-directed, gradual return to activity, but even then, the healing will likely be incomplete. The resulting ligamentous laxity can cause chronic musculoskeletal pain, joint instability, cartilage damage, and even osteoarthritis.
A More Complete Solution
Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injections, offers a solution to the limited healing response of ligaments. Regenerative injections involve the injection of a mild irritant into the ends of ligaments and tendons. The therapy often uses dextrose (a simple sugar that occurs naturally in the body) as the irritant. The dextrose triggers a targeted, inflammatory healing cascade in the specific points of ligament weakness. The growth factors and collagen deposition of the healing response lead to proliferation, ligament tissue remodeling, strengthening of new tissue, joint stability, decreased pain, and improved function.
Exercise therapy in conjunction with prolotherapy proves useful for ensuring new collagen lies down in functional patterns.
Studies find prolotherapy helpful for numerous conditions and complaints. In knee osteoarthritis, it doubles improvement in disability index scores, compared to exercise therapy alone. Research shows prolotherapy improving outcomes in:
- epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- groin pain
- plantar fasciopathy / plantar fasciitis
- rotator cuff tendinopathy
- Osgood-Schlatter disease
- and much more.