Monday, May 30, 2011
One of the mechanisms of how prolotherapy work 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.
treatment involves injections of a dextrose (a simple sugar) solution
near such areas to promote growth and thickening of the ligaments.
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.
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 double-blind human
trials suggest that prolotherapy may effectively treat osteoarthritis.
Usually a series of injections every few weeks is required to maximize
No serious side effects have been reported in clinical
trials. However, patients usually experience tenderness or stiffness
near the injection site for a few minutes to a few days after treatment.
Prospective, Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Study of Dextrose
Prolotherapy for Osteoarthritic Thumb and Finger (DIP, PIP, and
Trapeziometacarpal) Joints: Evidence of Clinical Efficacy
ABSTRACT OF ARTICLE:
To determine the clinical benefit of dextrose prolotherapy (injection
of growth factors or growth factor stimulators) in osteoarthritic
finger joints. DESIGN: Prospective randomized double-blind
placebo-controlled trial. SETTINGS/LOCATION: Outpatient physical
medicine clinic. SUBJECTS: Six months of pain history was required in
each joint studied as well as one of the following: grade 2 or 3
osteophyte, grade 2 or 3 joint narrowing, or grade 1 osteophyte plus
grade 1 joint narrowing. Distal interphalangeal (DIP), proximal
interphalangeal (PIP), and trapeziometacarpal (thumb CMC) joints were
eligible. Thirteen patients (with seventy-four symptomatic
osteoarthitic joints) received active treatment, and fourteen patients
(with seventy-six symptomatic osteoarthritic joints) served as
controls. INTERVENTION: One half milliliter (0.5 mL) of either 10%
dextrose and 0.075% xylocaine in bacteriostatic water (active solution)
or 0.075% xylocaine in bacteriostatic water (control solution) was
injected on medial and lateral aspects of each affected joint. This was
done at 0, 2, and 4 months with assessment at 6 months after first
injection. OUTCOME MEASURES: One-hundred millimeter (100 mm) Visual
Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain at rest, pain with joint movement and
pain with grip, and goniometrically-measured joint flexion. RESULTS:
Pain at rest and with grip improved more in the dextrose group but not
significantly. Improvement in pain with movement of fingers improved
significantly more in the dextrose group (42% versus 15% with a p value
of .027). Flexion range of motion improved more in the dextrose group
(p = .003). Side effects were minimal. CONCLUSION: Dextrose
prolotherapy was clinically effective and safe in the treatment of pain
with joint movement and range limitation in osteoarthritic finger
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.
For more information about
prolotherapy, you may contact Dr. Lee at 206-319-5322 or via email at