Prolotherapy For Arthritis

Prolotherapy is an injection of a concentrated dextrose solution which triggers a regenerative response at the site of degeneration or injury.

Pain Relief

Sixteen studies have investigated prolotherapy for osteoarthritis. Fifteen of these 16 studies concluded that prolotherapy helped people suffering from osteoarthritis to significantly reduce their pain, stiffness and and improve their range of motion1-16

High Success Rate

The majority of people with osteoarthritis who receive prolotherapy see improvement. The research has shown success rates at or near 80%1,9. We have seen rates of success at 80-85%.

Lasting Results

The improvements achieved with prolotherapy are typically long lasting. In the longest of all of the studies on prolotherapy, which lasted 2.5 years, the improvement in pain progressively improved up until the end of the study9.


$ 150 .00

Regenerative injection treatment

  • Pain relief
  • Improved range of motion
  • Improved stiffness
  • Tissue repair

Getting Started With Prolotherapy

To ensure that prolotherapy will be a safe and effective treatment for you an initial naturopathic consultation is required prior to starting treatment. The initial prolotherapy treatment is offered at a lesser cost if it is on the same day as the initial consultation.

Initial consultation: $180
Subsequent prolotherapy treatment: $150
Initial consultation with prolotherapy treatment: $230 ($100 savings)

Conditions Treated By Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy helps arthritis and many other painful conditions

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Back pain
  • Chondromalacia
  • Ligament injuries
  • Osgood–Schlatter disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sacroiliac pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Whiplash

Evidence has shown that prolotherapy is an effective treatment for many painful conditions including osteoarthritis17, chondromalacia18, low back pain19, sacroiliac pain20, tennis elbow21, ligament injuries22, rotator cuff tendinitis23, Achilles tendinitis24, whiplash25 and Osgood–Schlatter disease26. In my experience prolotherapy can significantly improve the pain, stiffness and poor range of motion associated with osteoarthritis.

How Does Prolotherapy Work?

When the concentrated dextrose solution used in prolotherapy is injected, the local cells responds by releasing a burst of growth factors27-30. This response from our cells is rapid, with growth factor production rising within minutes to hours of cells being exposed to a concentrated dextrose solution31. This surge in local growth factor production is believed to be the cause of the improvement seen in osteoarthritic joints, as well as in other painful, degenerative conditions.

Growth Factors Promote Repair

The main “repair factors” naturally present within joint cartilage, bone and synovial fluid are insulin-like growth factor (IGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF). These growth factors encourage the repair process within the joint and surrounding bone32,33.

Conversely, interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are considered “disrepair factors” within the joint cartilage, bone and synovial fluid. These disrepair factors lead to the breakdown of tissue and limit the effects of the repairing growth factors. IL-1 and TNF have been shown to increase collagenase (which breaks down cartilage) as much as 110-fold and cause a rise in binding proteins (proteins that bind to and inhibit growth factors) in synovial fluid by as much as 24-fold34-38. Thankfully, research has shown that dextrose has a down-regulating effect on IL-1 and collagenase39.

Animal and in vitro studies have investigated the effects of growth factors on the health of joint cartilage and bone. These studies have found that elevated levels of growth factors within a joint led to chondrogenesis (formation of cartilage cells)40, thickening of cartilage41 and even repair of full thickness cartilage defects42.

How Long Do Results Last?

Prolotherapy treatment of knee arthritis

The improvements achieved with prolotherapy are typically long lasting. In the longest of all of the studies on prolotherapy, which lasted 2.5 years, the improvement in pain progressively improved up until the end of the study.

The authors of this study stated that “prolotherapy resulted in safe, significant, progressive improvement of knee pain, function and stiffness scores among most participants through a mean follow-up of 2.5 years and may be an appropriate therapy for patients with knee [osteoarthritis] refractory to other conservative care.”9 In this study improvement increased most rapidly within 10 weeks of the first treatment. Following this initial improvement, a continual progressive improvement was seen up until the end of the study, 2.5 years later.

Prolotherapy Vs. Hyaluronic Acid & Cortisone

Hyaluronic acid is another medicine which can be injected into an arthritic joint to help treat the associated pain and disability. Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of our skin, eyes and joints. It is an important component of healthy and strong cartilage. For these reasons, hyaluronic acid has been studied and is used clinically as an intra-articular injection for osteoarthritis.

Three studies have compared the effectiveness of prolotherapy and hyaluronic acid injections for osteoarthritic joints. All three of these studies found that prolotherapy was a superior treatment for the management of pain and disability associated with an arthritic joint12-14.

One study has investigated the effectiveness of prolotherapy compared to an intra-articular injection of a corticosteroid (cortisone) and found both treatments to be effective in the short term but that prolotherapy yielded superior results over the long term (6 months)8.

Safety Of Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy is a very safe treatment. The most common issue that can occur is mild discomfort in the joint for 1-7 days after injection. In my clinical experience, discomfort lasts for 24 hours in the vast majority of cases. As with any injection there is a small chance of infection. There is also a small chance of allergic reaction to the local anesthetic (numbing agent) which is used at the site of the injection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Prolotherapy Hurt?

There can be some discomfort associated with prolotherapy but it is typically short-lived. The needle size used in a prolotherapy treatment is smaller than a needle that is used for drawing blood or for giving a cortisone injection. Additionally, a local anesthetic agent is incorporated into the prolotherapy treatment in order to minimize any discomfort experienced.

How Many Injections Will I Need?

Six treatment sessions at a rate of one injection every 1-2 weeks yields optimal results for osteoarthritis. If there is pain in the region of ligaments or tendons surrounding the joint these can also be treated effectively with prolotherapy.

What Do I Do After Prolotherapy?

After a prolotherapy treatment it is best to limit exercise to less intense activities for 1-2 days to allow the treated region to complete the repair process unhindered.

Who Should Not Have Prolotherapy?

You may not be a candidate for prolotherapy if you are pregnant, have had a knee replacement, or have post-infectious arthritis.

Is Prolotherapy Ok For Diabetics?

Yes. The amount of sugar present in a prolotherapy injection, 1-2 grams, is very small compared to the amount in many sweet foods. For example, an apple has 19g, a Snickers bar has 22g and a 12-oz glass of orange juice has 33g of sugar.


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  2. 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.
  3. Rabago D, Zgierska A, Fortney L, Kijowski R, Mundt M, Ryan M, Grettie J, Patterson JJ. Hypertonic dextrose injections (prolotherapy) for knee osteoarthritis: results of a single-arm uncontrolled study with 1-year follow-up. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Apr;18(4):408-14.
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