Table of Contents > Alternative Modalities > Prolotherapy Print



Also listed as: Reconstructive therapy
Related terms
Author information

Related Terms
  • Ligaments, nonsurgical reconstructive therapy, proliferative therapy, reconstructive therapy, tendons.

  • Prolotherapy is based on the idea that chronic pain is often caused by loose ligaments or tendons. Ligaments connect bone to bone and tendons connect muscles to bone. When ligaments or tendons are lax, the muscles must work extra hard to stabilize the joint. Consequently, muscle pain and muscle spasm occur.
  • Prolotherapy treatment involves injections of a dextrose (a simple sugar) solution near such areas to promote growth and thickening of the ligaments.

Theory / Evidence
  • Human and animal studies have found that prolotherapy injections increase strength and thicken ligaments and tendons. The injections inflame the area causing the blood supply to increase and allowing nutrients to stimulate the tissue.
  • Prolotherapy is used to treat back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), tendinitis and tension headaches. Currently, the best evidence for its use is for osteoarthritis. The results of two double-blind human trials suggest that prolotherapy may effectively treat osteoarthritis.


Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Dagenais S, Haldeman S, Wooley JR. Intraligamentous injection of sclerosing solutions (prolotherapy) for spinal pain: a critical review of the literature. Spine J. 2005 May-Jun;5(3):310-28.
  2. Prolotherapy.Com. 9 May 2006.
  3. Reeves KD, Hassanein K. Randomized prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study of dextrose prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis with or without ACL laxity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2000 Mar;6(2):68-74, 77-80.
  4. Reeves KD, Hassanein K. Randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled double-blind study of dextrose prolotherapy for osteoarthritic thumb and finger (DIP, PIP, and trapeziometacarpal) joints: evidence of clinical efficacy. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):311-20.

  • Usually a series of injections every few weeks is required to maximize results.
  • A medical doctor of doctor of osteopathic medicine generally practices prolotherapy. Physicians specializing in orthopedics or physical medicine and rehabilitation are most likely to practice prolotherapy.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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