What Are Prolotherapy Injections?


Prolotherapy is an alternative treatment option to reduce muscle or joint pain. Prolotherapy injections, also known as regenerative injection therapy, stimulate the body’s tissue to naturally repair itself. It involves a series of injections containing a solution that is administered through a small needle into the painful tendon, ligament, joint or muscle.

How prolotherapy injections work

Controversy exists over how prolotherapy works and its effectiveness as a treatment option. The injections contain an irritant solution, typically sugar or saline. A numbing medication added to the solution helps minimize pain. As the body recognizes the irritant, new inflammation occurs. The body then sends immune cells and other chemicals to the affected area, resulting in the body beginning a natural healing response. Damaged soft tissue, such as nerves, blood vessels, and muscle tissue, is repaired in the joint or muscle.

‌How often are the injections given?

Although the average number of injections is between four and ten, a total of 30 can be given over a three-to-six-month period. Injections are frequently given at two-to-three-week intervals. Prolotherapy injections may not be covered by health insurance.


Prolotherapy injections can increase strength of ligaments or other tissue, reduce pain and stiffness, and improve strength, mobility, and joint functionality. Spinal manipulation combined with prolotherapy injections may prove more effective in treating back pain than the injections alone.

Preparation for prolotherapy injections

Prior to the prolotherapy injection, a health care provider will obtain a medical history, complete a physical examination, and check diagnostic images, including MRI scans and X-rays. Certain medications may need to be stopped a few days prior to the injection.

During prolotherapy injections

The health care provider will cleanse the skin with an antiseptic solution, apply lidocaine cream to the injection site to reduce pain, and inject the solution. The use of ultrasound guidance helps determine the exact location for the injection. Pressure may be felt as the medication is injected. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to complete. A heat or ice pack may be applied for 10 to 15 minutes prior to going home.

After prolotherapy injection care

The injection site may be painful and swollen following the injection. Although soreness and bruising may continue up to a week, normal activities can usually be resumed the following day. A health care professional may recommend the following:

  • Acetaminophen may help with pain. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, which can inhibit the healing response.
  • Apply ice to the injection site three-to-five times per day, for approximately 20 minutes each time, as needed.
  • Keep exercise moderate, such as walking. Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting the day of the injection.

Additional source: Stem Cell Therapy