Does Prolotherapy Actually Treat Pain?

Prolotherapy was the original form of regenerative medicine.  It typically uses a combination of dextrose and lidocaine as a healing agent for musculoskeletal pain syndromes.  Prolotherapy works by causing a local inflammatory reaction, at the injection site, in order to stimulate the body's own healing mechanism.  Though prolotherapy has been used for over a century, there has not been a whole lot of research to actually support its' use and efficacy.  I have recently been performing more and more prolotherapy in my office, and have been getting great results in the treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal injuries.  I decided to do some further research on my own, to actually quantify the efficacy of prolotherapy.

I found a few articles addressing prolotherapy and knee osteoarthritis.  I was able to use the Starblocks to input the data from the studies on prolotherapy.  As you can see below, the treatment scores for one of the articles is at 55.

This score is based on the type of article, as well as how relevant the study is.  Being that this is an uncontrolled study, the maximum number it could have for the main statistic is 20.  The score went up to 55, as the quality of the study increased due to the fact that they study design was high.  Based on the small number of participants and the short term follow up time, however, the score cannot be any higher.

In reviewing another, similar study on prolotherapy, we came to a different conclusion.  the main statistic below was given a higher score.

This score is higher than the first study for a variety of reasons.  First of all, this was a randomized controlled trial.  This is the highest quality of study, and is therefore given a higher score.  There were also more participants in this study than in the prior study.  Finally, the follow up on this study was 2.5 years, which is a good time for full follow up on any given treatment or condition.

As we continue to have more studies on prolotherapy, we can continue to use Treatment Scores to compare the results of prolotherapy to a variety of main stream treatments for knee osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal issues.  This type of simple, easy comparison is what is needed in medicine in order to better understand how to interpret the vast amount of information there is on the internet and otherwise.  

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