Prolotherapy: it’s a technique embraced by the likes of Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant, combining the best of traditional knowledge and cutting-edge regenerative medicine. For soft tissue and connective tissue injuries, “prolo” is an outpatient procedure that helps you avoid costly hospital stays with long recovery times- after a 30-minute treatment, you can return home. And most importantly, prolo utilizes your body’s own inborn healing capacity, making the whole experience as low risk as possible.
Prolotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that’s increasingly sought as an alternative to surgery- or a last resort when surgery doesn’t work. A session consists of a series of injections, on average 4 to 10, into an area of compromised soft tissue, usually ligament or tendon that has been torn from bone. Although the injected substance will vary depending on the course of treatment, location and type of tissue, the substance’s effect is the same- prolo is an irritant, a strategic stimulation of your body’s natural desire to heal. The injection attracts collagen-building cells called fibroblasts, which will begin repairing weakened tissue, stabilizing affected joints, and making tissue more resillient. Some studies suggest as many as 85% of knee osteoarthritis patients and 78% of whiplash patients reported less pain when prolotherapy was used in conjunction with physical therapy and targeted exercise.
That last bit is important! Prolo is most effective as a supplement in your healing program, not as a replacement. Collagen is just one part of your joint wellness, but it’s an important and often overlooked one. A series of prolo treatments, overseen by a doctor who knows your history and a physical therapist who can guide your next steps, has the potential to drastically reduce your pain and greatly improve your functionality.
As a procedure that evolved from the hot needle treatments used on Roman soldiers with shoulder dislocations, prolotherapy is a fascinating and truly innovative option for soft tissue pain that has frustrated other treatments. Next time you see your physical therapist, ask whether you could be a candidate! It could be life-changing.