As Americans get older and grayer, we also have to cope with more joint pain. We swallow large quantities of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen). Many of us take supplements such as boswellia, turmeric or glucosamine, either instead of medication or along with them. Relatively few have tried prolotherapy. Is it a reasonable treatment for joint pain?
Prolotherapy for Knee Osteoarthritis:
Q. What are the pros and cons of prolotherapy for knee osteoarthritis? I am not ready for knee replacement surgery, but my knees make it hard for me to exercise.
A. Prolotherapy has been around for decades. It involves injecting sugar water (dextrose), salt water (saline) or some other substance such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) into or around the joint. The theory is that this process creates localized targeted inflammation that leads to natural repair and joint stabilization.
How Well Does Prolotherapy Work?
A review of ten studies in the British Medical Bulletin (June 1, 2017) concluded,
“Moderate evidence suggests that prolotherapy is safe and can help achieve significant symptomatic control in individuals with OA [osteoarthritis].”
This treatment is not usually covered by insurance, and out-of-pocket costs can be hundreds of dollars. Nonetheless, it is a way of soothing joint pain without surgery.
You can learn about other non-surgical approaches to alleviating knee pain in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource is too long to print or to mail.
You might also want to listen to our interviews with Loren Fishman, MD, and Brian Shiple, DO, in our Show 963: Easing Joint Pain Without Surgery. Dr. Fishman describes the use of yoga, while Dr. Shiple’s expertise is prolotherapy.