Prolotherapy and PRP for Faster Healing

Go through life long enough and eventually you will experience some type of joint and muscular pain. Whether it’s an acute injury, chronic use syndrome or arthritis there are options you should be aware of beyond pain relievers, a sedentary lifestyle, and surgery. Prolotherapy and PRP are 2 such treatments that can reduce or eliminate pain, speed healing, and erase most the debilitating symptoms.

illustration of syringe injection into Rotator Cuff


Early forms of this treatment have been around since the 1800’s. Some believe crude forms of prolotherapy were administered hundreds of years before that. Prolo is short for proliferation
because it causes growth or formation of new tissue. Essentially a doctor injects an injury site with most commonly dextrose (sugar water) or in some cases glycerin, cod liver oil or even
alcohol. The solution causes the body to increase inflammation temporarily bringing growth factors that aid the formation of collagen. This collagen can increase the strength of tendons and ligaments by as much as 40%. The formation of new collagen also coats exposed cartilage and nerve tissue decreasing or eliminating arthritis and tendonitis pain. Standard protocol calls for 2-6 injections spaced about 2 weeks apart.

Platelet Rich Plasma

PRP is a more advanced form of prolotherapy. Used in the 1990’s to aid healing after oral  surgery it has now found favor by doctors to aid many musculoskeletal injuries in areas such as  the wrists, elbows, knees, hips, shoulders, and spine. The process requires blood to be drawn  then centrifuged to separate the red blood cells. The red cells are then discarded. The  remaining white cells and plasma are rich in growth factors. Using an ultrasound to pinpoint the  affected area, the PRP is then injected along with a numbing agent. The growth factors cause  the rapid formation of new tissue speeding healing and reducing or eliminating pain. Uses have been documented for wound healing, bone healing, cartilage regeneration, disc regeneration, as well as ligament and tendon mending. Several famous athletes such as Tiger Woods, Hinds Ward, and Troy Polamalu have used PRP to return to the top of their game after serious injuries. Standard protocol is 2-4 injections 4-6 weeks apart.   

Osteopaths, Physiatrists and some Orthopedic doctors (all medical physicians) are most likely to administer these treatments. You should find a doctor who is highly skilled rather than cheap to get the best result. Prolo runs around $125 - $250 per injection and ultrasound administered  PRP runs around $750 - $1500 per injection. Currently neither is covered by insurance.

A couple of weeks after injection you will need to begin strength and range of motion exercises. It your injury was due to chronic use, bad posture or a sports injury it would be recommended to find a trainer with rehabilitation experience. 

If you find yourself needing more information don't hesitate to contact my office. I am a personal trainer in Los Angeles/ Studio City and happen to offer rehabilitation exercise.