What is prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is a non-surgical joint repair procedure that activates the body’s own healing response to repair and strengthen tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. It consists as a series of injections at the site of injury that create localized microtrauma, to stimulate the healing response. Healing to the local area of microtrauma occurs as stimulated growth factors and local stem cells come to the area to repair. The inflammation from the microtrauma activates fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen), and attracts platelets and stem cells to the area. Platelets deliver numerous types of growth factors that have been shown to bring in new blood vessels, activate more fibroblasts, and bring more stem cells to the area to further heal the injection site.  The result is a tightening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments repeat this process, allowing a gradual restoration and strength to the tissue. It can be used years after the initial pain or problem began, as long as the person is healthy. It is the body’s response to the microtrauma that does the healing, not the injection itself. It is a series of regenerative injections to re-start the local microtrauma that continues the healing process forward.  Two types of prolothearpy are offered at the Naturopathic Wellness Center: Dextrose and platelet (Stem Cell may be added in the future).

For Athletes, prolotherapy can be the difference between retiring from a sport due to pain, instability or a dysfunctional joint and being able to get back into action with confidence in your body. More conventional approaches such as surgery or anti-inflammatories often fail to stabilize the joint and thus don’t offer lasting pain relief or healing. Prolotherapy, however, with its unique ability to directly address the cause of the instability, can repair the weakened sites and produce new fibrous tissues. This results in permanent stabilization of the joint. For athletes this can mean more stable ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, backs, etc.  This translates to more jumping capacity for the hurdlers, more stable shoulders for baseball players, stronger low backs for lifters, etc.

What are the different types of prolotherapy?

Dextrose Prolotherapy is a series of on average 4-6 treatment sessions. It is a mixture of dextrose and local anesthesia.

Dextrose Prolotherapy is a great treatment if you have an acute injury that just won’t heal in a timely fashion or long term degenerated joints that ache and feel unstable.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Prolotherapy uses your very own platelets, re-injected to the site of injury, and averages about 2-4 treatments per injury. Each injection of PRP is 3 times more effective than dextrose prolotherapy because of the healing properties of platelets. Platelet injections have a larger healing response due to concentrated growth factors. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing: bone, tendon and ligament regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels and stimulate the wound healing process resulting in new collagen formation. Conventional treatments for pain are focused on the symptom of pain and turning it off, whereas PRP is aimed at the root cause: damage to joints and connective tissue, and healing that damage. Platelet rich plasma has over 8,000 peer-reviewed journal studies showing promise across the medical field.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections is a great for the repair of chronic degenerative joints, ligaments and tendon injuries. 


Am I a candidate for Regenerative Injections?

Patients who have chronic joint pain, worn cartilage, ligaments, tendon and joints are potential candidates for regenerative injection therapy. People who are considering joint replacements should absolutely get a second opinion before surgery. Some severe cases of advanced osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease may no longer be able to receive the benefits as the progression has gone too far. For people who are looking to potentially postpone for 5 years or more, we will perform a complete exam, review imaging studies, and evaluate you to see if you are a candidate.


Is prolotherapy effective?

The research literature shows variance in efficacy. This is due to the fact that patients have various healing responses, which cannot be standardized. A patient with a stronger healing response will have more success as the procedure stimulates your body’s own healing response to repair the damaged tissue. Because general health such as stress, sleep, nutrition, hormonal balance, activity level, and nutrient deficiencies affect the effectiveness of treatment, an individualized plan of nutritional and supplemental recommendations are given at the initial consultation to maximize your healing response, increasing effectiveness of the treatment.

Minimal down time

In comparison to surgery, prolotherapy offers a minimal down time alternative. On average there is localized soreness for 2-4 days after the injection. You want to stay mobile but limit the intensity of exercise, and slowly increase the intensity over 1-2 weeks.

Common conditions treated


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Tendonitis
  • Sports injuries
  • Sprains & ligament injuries
  • Ligament laxity, joint instability & hyper mobility
  • Over-Manipulation Syndrome
  • Low back pain & sciatica
  • Hip Pain – arthritis, bursitis, labrum lesions
  • Knee pain – meniscal, ACL, MCL, LCL tears
  • Chondromalacia patella
  • Foot & ankle pain – plantar fasciitis, sprains, Morton’s neuroma
  • Neck pain – whiplash, headache, migraines
  • Shoulder pain – rotator cuff, glenoid labrum tears
  • Elbow pain – golfer’s & tennis elbow
  • Wrist pain – carpal tunnel, weak or sore wrists
  • Hand – thumb & finger pain
  • TMJ


Conditions that do not respond favorably to Prolotherapy:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic myofascial pain syndromes
  • Severely herniated discs
  • Central Spinal Stenosis
  • Complete Rotator Cuff Tears
  • Frank Surgical Conditions
  • Pain from Cancer
  • Pain from Autoimmune Conditions