Marc Darrow MD,JD

Prolotherapy is the injection technique that we still but rarely utilize to help a patient with their back pain. The reason that we rarely use or recommend the treatment to our patients is that of the three regenerative medicine techniques that we use, including Platelet Rich Plasma therapy and stem cell therapy, Prolotherapy or dextrose injections is the weakest of the three proliferants (regenerative injections techniques), and takes many more treatments to create enough tissue regeneration to advance healing.

Prolotherapy is still a successful method of treating pain and injury. For those researching the technique you may have come across different names describing this technique. The term Prolotherapy itself is a term derived from proliferation (prolo for proliferation) therapy. The treatment is also referred to as regenerative injection technique or therapy (RIT). This name is derived from the details of this procedure. As the name implies, the treatment is designed to regenerate soft tissue, requires injections, and is therapeutic.

Prolotherapy begins with an initial series of injections. These injections tend to contain two compounds. The first is an anesthetic that works to numb the area, decreasing pain during injection. The other is an irritant, which can be dextrose (sugar water), or a chemical agent. The idea in this treatment is to irritate the area that is being treated so that the immune system will bring healing cells to the area and repair the old damage.

The difference between Prolotherapy and PRP treatments is that PRP has has growth factors and natural irritants. The difference between Prolotherapy and Stem Cell Therapy is that stem cell therapy has irritants, growth factors, and the actual stem cells that divide and morph into new tissue.

What goes into your specific injections will depend on different factors, including your condition, medical history, and severity of the patient’s pathology.

All three of these regenerative injection technique or therapy injections are designed to create a series of inflammations in the injured area. This stimulates the body’s natural healing processes, using your own immune system to heal the damage. When an inflammation occurs in the body there is slight swelling although this is rarely seen. This is representative of the extra blood that is being brought to that area, and the extra nutrients that are being carried with it.

The injections work to create collagen and cartilage, strengthening the soft tissues of the body. As the injured area grows stronger and more tissue regenerates, the pain typically is
reduced or eliminated.

The regenerative injection technique has been successfully used to treat many conditions. The most common issues that respond to RIT are sprains and strains, tendon and ligament tears, loose joints and arthritis, tendonitis, and other types of musculoskeletal pain.

Typical treatment regimens require anywhere from three to six visits, but will vary on a case-by-case basis. Some people feel results after their first injection, while others may never heal. Most patients that don’t heal quit too soon. Since the medical profession is locked into surgery as the answer, patients are told by their doctors that Prolotherapy in any of its forms cannot possibly work.


Side effects of the regenerative injection technique are limited, making it a popular alternative to invasive surgery. The success rate of regenerative injection technique or therapy is estimated at 80 to 90 percent. After receiving injections some patients complain of stiffness or soreness, but that is typically for one to three or four days with the injection techniques we use. More serious side effects include infection, and per a study, back and neck procedures contain the same risks associated with other spinal injection procedures.

Prolotherapy for back pain

Many people have questions when it comes to Prolotherapy. In fact, lots of patients who end up being Prolotherapy advocates had never even heard of the procedure before they took the plunge and gave it a try for themselves. Many of these individuals were people who had exhausted all other options—and once they found out how effective and safe Prolotherapy actually is were astounded it had never been suggested to them earlier. But this doesn’t necessarily answer the single biggest question that most people have when it comes to Prolotherapy—namely, what is it, and why is it effective?

Prolotherapy is a way of alleviating or even eliminating muscle, ligament, bone, joint, and tendon pain without the use of pills or surgery. Many people who have these sorts of injuries or ailments like arthritis, feel that they’re limited either to going under the scalpel, taking medication for the rest of their lives, or simply living with oftentimes debilitating pain.

Ask Dr. Darrow


A leading provider of stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma and prolotherapy

PHONE: (800) 300-9300 or 310-231-7000

Stem cell and PRP injections for musculoskeletal conditions are not FDA approved. We do not treat disease. We do not offer IV treatments. There are no guarantees that this treatment will help you. Prior to our treatment, seek advice from your medical physician. Neither Dr. Darrow, nor any associate, offer medical advice from this transmission. This information is offered for educational purposes only. The transmission of this information does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Darrow or any associate. We do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, usefulness or adequacy of any resource, information, product, or process available from this transmission. We cannot be responsible for the receipt of your email since spam filters and servers often block their receipt. If you have a medical issue, please call our office. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911.

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