Prolotherapy is an injection treatment of tendons and ligaments. Tendons are the connective soft tissue between muscles and bones, and ligaments are the tissues that connect bones to one another at joints. Tendons and ligaments may become weak or injured and may not heal back to their original strength or endurance. Once they are injured, healing is often slow and may not be complete because of a limited blood supply.
Prolotherapy is designed to stimulate healing of chronic ligament and tendon weakness. The painful, weakened areas are injected with a proliferant (such as dextrose or sugar water), to directly stimulate the growth of healthy, strong tissues. This process occurs when the proliferant causes a local inflammatory response in the weakened area that results in increased flow of blood and other nutrients to stimulate the tissue to repair itself. The healing process can be expected to take about four to six weeks after the initial treatment. As the tendons and ligaments grow stronger and more capable of doing their tasks, the pain is alleviated. The total number of injections can vary depending on severity, the condition being treated, and patient response.