PROLOTHERAPY is an injection technique used to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain. It works by stimulating the body's own healing process to repair injured and/or weakened tissues. New fibrous tissue is created with the intention of strengthening the affected area(s) and alleviating associated pain.
In most cases, the procedure involves the infusion of a combination of dextrose solution, vitamin B12 solution and local anesthetic. Steroids are NOT used during prolotherapeutic treatment, as their purpose would counteract the desired effect.
The infusion results in local tissue irritation and inflammation. As a natural response to the presence of prolotherapeutic solution, the horse's body mounts a repair process which enhances both integrity and strength of the resulting anatomy. Multiple treatments may be used in an attempt to cumulatively build tissue strength and function.
Success of prolotherapy depends on factors such as the extent of trauma, the nature of the injury and the horse's overall health and ability to heal.
In most cases, 4-6 treatments are administered two to six weeks apart from each other. Antiinflammatory medication (such as Phenylbutazone, Banamine, or Ketofen) is usually discouraged during the treatment period as these drugs suppress the desired inflammatory process produced by the infusion.
Some bruising, swelling and/or soreness may accompany the injection site but typically dissipates within 48 hours.
There are no inherent risks associated with prolotherapy. However, as with any injection, slight risk of infection, hemorrhage, and nerve injury exist. At The ATLANTA Equine Clinic, we take every precaution to minimize these risks to your horse.
Prolotherapy most often involves the treatment of tendons, ligaments and muscle. Because ligaments and tendons generally have a poor blood supply, incomplete healing is common after injury. Incomplete healing results in the formation of taut, strong bands of fibrous or connective tissue which eventually becomes relaxed and weak. The relaxed and inefficient ligament or tendon then becomes a source of chronic pain and weakness.
The infusion of a proliferant (a mild irritant solution) into affected tissue causes an inflammatory response that "turns on" the healing process. The growth of new tissue is then stimulated.