Prolotherapy for Low Back Pain

Prolotherapy for Low Back Pain

Topic Overview

Prolotherapy involves injecting a substance into the body to promote the growth of normal cells, tissues, or organs. There are three types of prolotherapy. The type used to treat joint pain is called inflammatory prolotherapy.

In inflammatory prolotherapy, a sugar water solution (dextrose) is injected into a weakened ligament near where the ligament attaches to the bone. The injection is intended to cause inflammation. The body responds to the inflammation by increasing blood flow to the area and stimulating the ligament to repair itself. Usually, a person would have a series of 4 to 6 treatments, each about 2 weeks apart.

A review of several studies suggests that prolotherapy injections alone may not be helpful for chronic low back pain. But they may reduce pain and help you be more active if they are used in addition to other treatment such as exercise and spinal manipulation.footnote 1 A separate review concludes that prolotherapy may not work.footnote 2

The biggest risk in prolotherapy treatment is nerve damage from an injection placed too close to a nerve. There are also no established guidelines for the procedure at this time. Most pain experts do not recommend prolotherapy for low back pain.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Dagenais S, et al. (2007). Prolotherapy injections for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004059.pub3. Accessed September 21, 2016.
  2. Chou R, et al. (2009). Interventional therapies, surgery and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain: An evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society. Spine, 34(10): 1066–1077.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 20, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Nancy E. Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.