Prolotherapy with PRP
Prolotherapy is a regenerative injection technique. What that means is that, as a treatment, prolotherapy is designed to stimulate the body's natural growth and healing factors to repair damaged tissue from the cellular level. This means that prolotherapy can be used as a means to heal affected joints or tissues instead of having to mask the pain with opioids or steroids. It is a prescription-only technique, so a physician will have to discuss whether the therapy would be useful in your case.
Prolotherapy with PRP is generally done in the following steps:
- The physician examines the area in question and takes into account the history, cause, and severity of the injury. If necessary, further tests and imaging may be indicated to assess the extent of the damage, and determine how effective the therapy may be.
- At the start of the visit, on the day of the treatment, the doctor will draw some blood from the patient and place it into a centrifuge to separate the blood and concentrate the PRP (platelet rich plasma). The PRP is then drawn into syringes to be used as part of the therapy. Prolotherapy can be done without PRP being used; but when it is used, it's termed prolotherapy with PRP.
- Note: Different physicians may use different injections in addition to, or beside PRP. These differences can be due to training, how effective the physician at hand believes the injections could be, and of course, the individual needs of the patient. You may find it useful to ask our physicians what techniques or injections they use in their practice, and why.
- Once ready to begin the therapy, the physician will ensure a sterile environment, numb the area, and inject the prolotherapy solution, and the PRP.
Commonly Asked Questions
What is the recovery time from prolotherapy with PRP?
Prolotherapy with PRP is an in-office, procedure that doesn't require any 'downtime'. Depending on how many sites are being treated, the procedure can sometimes be done in under an hour, and the patient can return to their daily routine; though you should ask your physician what would be appropriate in your case.
Are there any side-effects to prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy does not generally have any side effects. Depending on the volume of solution that is injected, and the location, some mention that they can feel a 'pressure'. This pressure is due to the volume of injected material. Additionally, prolotherapy is designed to trigger an inflammatory response, which is one of the body's first signals that an injury has taken place. This inflammation 'tricks' the body to send additional healing factors to the area and is part of the intended effects of the therapy. The pressure, if there is any, should subside in the matter of a few hours.* Additional possible side effects may be: a mild burning sensation at the site of injection, soreness or stiffness as the body manages the injected volume, and the possibility of nerve damage; though seeing a doctor with experience in administering this therapy is helpful in minimizing such a risk.
How many injections will I need?
That will depend on your circumstances and would be an excellent question to ask your physician as you discuss the possibility of using prolotherapy. Your doctor will most likely have a recommendation and will have an explanation tailored to your situation.
How long does prolotherapy take to reach its full effect?
The general guideline is that it will take between four to six weeks for the body to repair itself at the site of the injections. Obviously, if there are more injections required, the time for the therapy to reach its full effect will be longer. The key thing to remember is that prolotherapy isn't intended to hide pain. Opioids or steroids are employed by many to hide pain, but if they stop taking them, the pain comes back with a vengeance. That's because pain is the body's signal that something is wrong, that damage has taken place. Hiding pain is a quicker-fix because it stops you from feeling it, but as long as the damage is there, the pain is just waiting to come back.
If prolotherapy takes longer than opioids or steroids to work, why not just stick to them?
With the opioid epidemic taking a stronghold in America, people are looking for a better solution than reliance on drugs. Additionally, though steroids have been used for years, studies are finding that prolonged steroid use actually contributes to cartilage damage. Many people are asking their doctors if prolotherapy could be a better alternative than relying on solutions that only mask the pain.
* The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, advise, or call to action to receive any medical treatment. Please seek the advice of a trained medical professional, either one of the doctors in our clinic, or your own if you are curious about prolotherapy with PRP, or would like further information about options, techniques, side-effects, and contraindications of the therapy.