Prolotherapy is a well-established technique to tighten and heal damaged, weak ligaments (attaching bones to bones) and tendons (attaching muscles to bones) in order to eliminate pain and ease movement. It can be especially effective when other remedies as rest, medication, manual treatment as OMT, physical therapy, or surgery fail to provide lasting relief. It works by injecting a mild irritant solution into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints to stimulate the body's repair process.

Common conditions that respond well to prolotherapy
  • back and neck pain

  • sciatica

  • degenerative arthritis

  • torn ligaments and cartilage

  • degenerated disks

  • headache

  • tennis elbow

  • rotator cuff tears

  • knee injuries

  • fibromyalgia

It is important to understand what the word prolotherapy itself means. "Prolo" is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new ligament tissue in areas where it has become weak. 

Ligaments are the structural "rubber bands" that hold bones to bones in joints. Ligaments can become weak or injured and may not heal back to their original strength or endurance. This is largely because the blood supply to ligaments is limited, and therefore healing is slow and not always complete. To further complicate this, ligaments also have many nerve endings and therefore the person will feel pain at the areas where the ligaments are damaged or loose. 

Tendons are the name given to tissue which connects muscles to bones, and in the same manner tendons may also become injured, and cause pain. 

Prolotherapy uses a mild irritant solution as dextrose (sugar water) mixed with an anesthetic as lidocaine which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself. 

One form of this technique was first used by Hippocrates on soldiers with dislocated, torn shoulder joints. He would stick a hot poker into the joint, and it would then miraculously heal normally. Of course, we don’t use hot pokers today, but the principle is similar—get the body to repair and heal itself. 

How long will it take to complete a course of treatments?

The response to treatment varies from individual to individual, and depends upon one's healing ability. Some people may only need a few treatments while others may need 10 or more. The average number of treatments is 4-6 for an area treated. The best thing to do is get an evaluation by a trained physician to see if you are an appropriate candidate. Once you begin treatment, your doctor can tell tell you how you are responding and give you an accurate estimate. 

For More Information about Prololotherapy:
Websites and other links, website of Donna Alderman, MD at Hemwall Family Medical Center in Glandale, CA., website of George Pasquarello, DO in East Greenwich, RI, website of Dean Reeves, MD with excellent articles, information, and research about prolotherapy, a general source of information about prolotherapy with links to many articles and studies., website of Mark Canteri, DO, who provides OMT and prolotherapy at Corrective Care in Mishawaka, IN.., website of Ross Hauser, MD at Caring Medical in Oak Park, IL, American Association of Integrative Pain Management


Prolo Your Pain Away, by Ross A. Hauser, MD, 1998, Beulah Land Press, Oak Park, IL


John Macatee D.O.

Osteopathic Manual Medicine/Cranial Osteopathy, Prolotherapy and Integrative Medicine