What is Prolotherapy/Reconstructive Therapy?

Prolotherapy(prolo)/Reconstructive Therapy (RT) is a series of injections of a natural solution around the joints to try to strengthen the ligaments. It might then improve stability and strength of the joints. If successful, pain and swelling decrease or resolve completely.

The natural solution (prolifering agent) which is injected can be glucose, glycerine, phenol, and other agents such as sodium morrhuate. Injected at the fibro-osseous junction under local anesthesia, the proliferating agent stimulates prostaglandins, the messengers of inflammation. The injected solutions irritate or proliferate the tissue, permanently strengthening the weakened area and providing more joint endurance and less chronic pain. It is a natural way of the body healing itself.

Prolo/RT relieves, pain and involves no down time or time off work and activities. It usually has no side effects, it doesn't involve surgery, and is one-tenth to one-third the cost of orthopedic and physical therapy. The injections are administered by slender needles.


What should I expect when I receive my first injections? At your visits, you will be provided with ice packs to be applied to the area for a period of time. This numbs the area, and right before the injections the physician might use a local anesthetic spray to numb the area even more. He then quickly injects a small amount of solution in many areas around the treatment area (knee, back, etc.).

 How many treatments will I need? You will need around 13-18 weekly or semi-monthly injections around the joints to strengthen the ligaments. Treatment can be stopped at any time if you are not getting the results you want.


Have there been studies on prolo/RT and is it safe? Yes, there have been several studies proving the treatment is effective. Two double-blind (only half of the patients received the solution) studies demonstrate the effectiveness of this therapy. One double-blind study is A New Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain, by Milne J. Ongley, Robert G. Klein, Thomas A. Dorman, Bjorn C. Eek, and Lawrence J. Hubert. The other double-blind study is A Randomized Double-Blind Trial of Dextrose-Glycerine-Phenol Injections for Chronic, Low Back Pain, by Robert G. Klein, Bjorn C. Eek, W. Bradford DeLong, and Vert Mooney. Another 12-year study was done by George Hackett, M.D., and is detailed in his book Ligament and Tendon Relaxation Treated by Prolotherapy, published in 1958.

The American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine states that "prolotherapy is a safe efficacious therapy for the treatment of selected cases of low back pain and other chronic myofascial pain syndromes." They go on to state that "there have now been five randomized clinical trials of prolotherapy for chronic low back pain, and that even if prolotherapy is not supported by multiple, high-quality, randomized clinical trials using multiple validated outcome measures and an appropriate follow-up period...the same is true for all other low back treatment approaches (including surgery), many of which are commonly utilized and covered by insurers with less documentation than prolotherapy." In its membership directory, the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine lists hundreds of physicians in the U.S. who currently administer prolotherapy in their practices. Furthermore, as outlined in documents and articles, many well-respected, prominent physicians (including C. Everett Koop, M.D. former Surgeon General of the U.S.) either recommend this therapy or practice it, and educational institutions such as the Medical Colleges of Wisconsin and hospitals and university medical centers such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center either practice prolotherapy or train physicians in its administration.

How long has the physician in the clinic been using prolo/RT? Dr. Chappell has been giving prolo/RT treatments for amost 20 years. He studied under William Faber, D.O. of the Milwaukee Pain Clinic. Dr. Faber co-wrote Pain, Pain Go Away, which describes how RT can eliminate chronic joint pain. (refer to page on books)



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The information on this website is only the opinion of COHA. It is not meant to be medical advice. Before you do anything, you should seek the advice of your personal physician. This is information only. No treatment is proposed, no cure is implied, and no claim is made for the effectiveness of any treatment or test.

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