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Inflammatory Prolotherapy: What is it? How does it work?

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Inflammatory Prolotherapy: What is it? How does it work?

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 (PRP Injections) which is discussed in platelet-rich plasma injectionsanother 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.

Please note

This article is not intended to be a literature review.  While some literature may be cited in some cases, this article should not be used as scientific-evidence of a treatment or service.  Please contact your physiotherapist or other appropriate health care provider to better understand the scientific literature supporting or refuting the use of a particular treatment.

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