The primary ingredient in Prolotherapy injections used in many offices is dextrose, a corn extract. How does a corn extract accelerate healing?
When a joint becomes injured, the cells in that area burst and release dextrose and trigger an influx of inflammatory cells, initiating the wound-healing system to the specific area.
In this basic Prolotherapy injection solutions we also use an alkaline extract of the pitcher plant called Sarapin. Almost all pain issues have some kind of nerve component, which Sarapin helps to relieve. In our experience, Sarapin enhances the healing effects of injection treatments and has an excellent safety profile. It is one of the few materials found in the Physicians’ Desk Reference that has no known side effect. Also in the basic solution, to help ease the pain of the injection procedure, as well as provide pain relief to the area, procaine or lidocaine is added in very small quantities. Often, this helps to ease the pain right away after the procedure, but is used in such a small amount to not cause any adverse effect to the joint repair/wound healing cascade.
When a stronger inflammatory reaction is desired, additional natural ingredients can be used in the dextrose-based injections. These can include mineral additives, such as zinc or manganese. Another common Prolotherapy additive includes fatty acids, which increase the inflammatory effect. Lastly, certain hormones may be helpful for triggering localized repair of damaged tissue in difficult long-standing osteoarthritis patients.
In research, histologic studies of ligaments and tendons following Prolotherapy injections have shown an enhanced inflammatory healing reaction involving fibroblastic and capillary proliferation, along with growth factor stimulation.4-6
Animal research has documented that Prolotherapy-injected ligaments have an increased ligament mass, extracellular matrix, thickness and junction strength with bone.7-11
Prolotherapy is given to the articular ligaments of the entire spine, pelvis and peripheral joints to tighten unstable joints. Case series have documented the efficacy of Prolotherapy for ligament injuries of the sacroiliac joint 12-14, low back 15-16, neck 17-18, shoulder 19, elbow 20, knee 21-22 temporomandibular joint 23,24 and other articulations 25.
Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
As regenerative medicine advances, Prolotherapy practitioners are taking notice of which methods can be incorporated into dextrose Prolotherapy treatments to help direct a person’s own stem cells and/or growth factors into the exact places where healing needs to take place within a joint. This is called Autologous (From your own cells) Prolotherapy, or Cellular Prolotherapy. Many offices utilize Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Prolotherapy, which involves concentrating platelets/growth factors found in the blood and injecting them directly into the joint.
Many offices offer Stem Cell Therapy or Stem Cell Prolotherapy using a person’s own bone marrow and/or fat cells, which are collected and injected during the same day procedure. With any Cellular Prolotherapy procedure done in our office, patients also receive dextrose Prolotherapy to the surrounding joint attachments, in order to ensure the area of pain and instability is comprehensively treated.
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6. Kim HJ, Kim SH, Yun DH. The effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on histologic findings of the experimental prolotherapy model. Journal of the Korean Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2006;30:378-384.
7. Liu Y. An in situ of the influence of a sclerosing solution in rabbit medial collateral ligaments and its junction strength. Connective Tissue Research. 1983;2:95-102. [PubMed]
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