Prolotherapy for Back Pain: Does It Work?

Prolotherapy for Back PainWhether you’re just now starting to experience chronic back pain or you’re a longtime sufferer, conventional medicine may not be providing sufficient relief for your pain, and you may be tempted to try other alternative therapies. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, and even have been used for quite some time as an option, but one alternative that is gaining attention in the medical and research circles is Prolotherapy. Prolotherapy, otherwise known as joint sclerotherapy treatment, is said to have great potential and may provide a more direct treatment solution for relief.


An injection administered at the site of the patient’s pain, Phototherapy is different from typical steroids injections that reduce a joint inflammation. Prolotherapy injection contains a cocktail that includes a sugar-water solution that actually increases inflammation. This inflammation works to stimulate the natural healing process of the patient’s body and its tissues—speeding up the recovery or healing process.

Some doctors believe strongly in the power of Prolotherapy as they report seeing the benefits first-hand. This type of therapy is said to be greatly effective at decreasing bouts of chronic back pain—particularly when injected into multiple sites/joints throughout the human body.

Dating back to the early 40s, prolotherapy is said to facilitate a stimulation of the body’s regenerative properties—ultimately healing the injured site completely. This unique healing process is said to improve a person’s joint stability as well as their overall range of motion and allowing a decrease in pain.

Research of Prolotherapy

Ohio State University has offered what’s said to be one of the most comprehensive assessments of prolotherapy. Researchers there have found numerous studies of prolotherapy which offer tremendous support regarding its use as a chronic lower back pain treatment, particularly when the injection is combined with a detailed plan of action. The plan should include other therapies like corticosteroid along with spinal manipulation therapies.

Also noted by researchers, there is a strong indication that prolotherapy may very well work to help lessen pain associated with osteoarthritis and many other various musculoskeletal disorders and conditions. It was made clear by the university researchers that more studies are required in order to define the overall effectiveness of prolotherapy treatment in these areas.

Benefits vs Risks

Prolotherapy is said to be a form of treatment having a lower risk of side effects. However, as with any procedure involving injections, infection is always a small risk as a foreign object (the needle) is entering into the body. Furthermore, since prolotherapy attempts to stimulate a natural healing process, localized irritation (injection site) may occur but is usually a temporary nuisance.

All-in-all, prolotherapy is said to offer a significant reduction in discomfort, and all without the typical side effects that are seen in various other pain-relieving medications or therapies. Additionally, since prolotherapy is reported to repair a joint via a regenerative process, pain is reduced or even eliminated once the series of injections are complete.

Many optimistic views exist when it comes to prolotherapy. The promise of the treatment for chronic pain is encouraging, especially since it’s meant to stimulate and build stronger, healthier connective tissues within the body at the injection sites. Many patients who have not responded to acute and even sub-acute treatments may find a great deal of relief with this therapy.

Is Prolotherapy the Right Treatment for You?

Several specialists agree that prolotherapy may not always benefit everyone with back or any other kind of body pain. Medical professionals suggest that chronic joint pain sufferers may be the ones who’ll see the greatest benefits to the approach.

A simple evaluation can help to determine whether or not the prolotherapy treatment plan will offer favorable results. Consulting with a family physician, one who focuses in prolotherapy, can go a long ways in helping the patient to weigh the risks and benefits. Imaging, such as X-rays or even an MRI can aid in determining the qualifications.

How to Determine Whether Prolotherapy is Working

Patients can use the following as a guide in determining whether the prolotherapy is working or not:

• Reduction of pain
• Decrease in need for oral medication treatments
• Increase in activity and endurance
• Decrease in joint noises
• Reduction or elimination of muscle spasms
• Overall improvement in mood

How many prolotherapy treatments are required?

For most patients, treatment will last until the pain is eliminated or greatly reduced. Because it regenerates long after the injections have ended, some will end their therapy when they reach the 90% level. Any lingering pain or reoccurrence should be treated several months down the road—once the body has had time to reach optimal healing due to therapy.

Will prolotherapy offer immediate relief?

On average, most who receive the therapy show signs of improvement directly after the very first therapy session. However, if no relief is felt, this is not a sign that the prolotherapy is not working, rather a few more treatments may be required to notice a change for the better. For those not responding to the treatment, after a series of injections have been administered, the treatment will stop.

Will Prolotherapy build or rebuild cartilage?

Some evidence suggests that prolotherapy works to build articular cartilage. There are actually cases of hip or knee replacement candidates have bypassed surgery with the help of prolotherapy. Though these cases are in the preliminary stages of research, medical professionals are hopeful with the future in prolotherapy.

Prolotherapy Success Rate Information

For some, especially those with back pain or arthritis inside of the hip area or knee, treatment with prolotherapy is promising. However, others, ones having the exact complaints and chronic pain conditions, may require additional medical treatment in order to see any success.

A Prolotherapist can identify the condition and then devise of plan of action. The amount of treatments will be pre-determined by the specialist according to the individual’s unique medical history and complaints.

How much will prolotherapy cost?

Unfortunately, at this time, most health coverage providers will not cover the cost of prolotherapy. Payment will be required at the time of treatment unless a previous arrange has been established between the patient and the medical professional. The costs associated with prolotherapy range anywhere from $140 to $420. Furthermore, any cost involved with the prolotherapy will be dependent on the length of treatment and the amount of the injections that will be necessary for treatment.


With the advances made and evidence supplied, prolotherapy appears to be not only promising, but a low risk alternative to narcotic and other injectable medicines. Consulting with a specialist will ensure that each patient’s medical history and specific condition is evaluated to determine the benefits as well as any associated risk involved with the therapy.

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