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Inflammatory Prolotherapy

Inflammatory Prolotherapy

Inflammatory prolotherapy (proliferation therapy) usually involves the injection of a sugar or saline solution into a specific tissue within the body. The purpose of this injection is to stimulate healing in the target tissue by creating small amounts of inflammation. Physiotherapists may recommend inflammatory prolotherapy for a variety of reasons. Learn more about prolotherapy below or find a clinic on Physio Roots!

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What is Inflammatory Prolotherapy?

During prolotherapy (proliferation therapy) a substance is injected into a target tissue to promote tissue growth.  Prolotherapy is often recommended in a physiotherapy setting to treat tendon and ligament injuries. Physiotherapists may recommend prolotherapy for a specific joint but in many cases they're targeting the ligamentous tissues surrounding the joint.  

It is important to note that there are 3 different types of prolotherapy.  When prolotherapy is mentioned, it is often referring to "inflammatory prolotherapy" which will be discussed in this article.  Another variation is platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP Injections) which is discussed in another article on Physio Roots.  

Inflammatory prolotherapy uses natural substances such as dextrose (a sugar water solution) or saline to cause inflammation at the target tissue.

Why would you want to create inflammation?

Inflammation is the beginning of and precursor to the healing process.  In some cases the healing process needs to be stimulated; this is more the case for tendons and ligaments as they are less vascular than other tissues and take longer to heal.  By creating mild inflammation the body may be stimulated to produce additional scar tissue which would provide extra stability to the target tissues.  

Prolotherapy is usually not a first line treatment as there are other options that may accomplish the same goal.  The risks and benefits if prolotherapy should be discussed with your healthcare providers prior to treatment.  

This article is not intended to be a literature review. References to scientific evidence may be provided to substantiate some information; however, this may not always be the case. For more information regarding scientific evidence pertaining to a specific treatment or service, speak with your physiotherapist or contact your provincial physiotherapy college.
Last updated Mar 18, 2020