When you are researching Prolotherapy, you may be confused by all the different labels doctors use. Labels like Dextrose Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Regenerative Injection Therapy are often used interchangeably. How are you supposed to know what the differences are or which treatment is the one for you? Having the right information is important to be able to make the best decision. In order to eliminate confusion, we are going to highlight each type of Prolotherapy and explain what situation it is best used for.
Prolotherapy is a nonsurgical treatment. It works by stimulating the body to use its own natural healing mechanisms to repair injured and painful joint areas. The weak or injured ligament/tendons are injected with a mild irritant solution. This solution, typically a dextrose-based solution, creates a mild inflammation. The body reacts to the inflammation by activating fibroblasts in the injured area, causing new cell growth and collagen deposition. This controlled inflammation helps stimulate the body to generate new, healthy, and stronger tissue.
Regenerative Injection Therapy encompasses Prolotherapy, PRP Prolotherapy, and Adipose Stem Cells (also known as Biocellular Prolotherapy).
Dextrose Prolotherapy originated in the 1930’s by Dr. Hackett and is practiced by physicians in the U.S. and worldwide. It is considered the original form of Prolotherapy. Concentrated dextrose, (composed of sugar water, salt water, or other natural substances), form the solution that is used for the injection. This solution acts as an irritant and creates a mild inflammation, which “tricks” the body into thinking the area is injured and prompts it to begin the healing process. Dextrose Prolotherapy raises the growth factor levels to promote tissue repair and reduce or eliminate musculoskeletal pain. Dextrose Prolotherapy is effective when treating ligament sprains, joint pain, tennis/golfers elbow, joint laxity and instability, and plantar fasciitis.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Prolotherapy, like Dextrose Prolotherapy, also uses the method of injection to stimulate healing. But instead of using concentrated dextrose, PRP Prolotherapy uses Platelet Rich Plasma. Platelet rich plasma is a patient’s own concentrated platelets and contains several different growth factors that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue. Whereas normal blood contains only 6% platelets, PRP has a concentration of 94% platelets! Platelets contain a number of proteins, cytokines, and other bioactive factors, which initiate and regulate natural healing. When platelet concentration is increased with PRP—enhanced healing is possible. You can think of it this way: Dextrose Prolotherapy is like planting seeds in a garden and PRP Prolotherapy is like feeding those seeds with a fertilizer.
Biocellular Stem Cell Prolotherapy is the most exciting addition to Prolotherapy. In this treatment, a person’s own healing cells are obtained from fat and blood and then injected into the injured area. The goal is to stimulate the repair of injured tissues, just like Dextrose Prolotherapy and PRP. Adipose Stem Cells are used if a joint area has been chronically injured and inflamed over an extended period of time and if the area has been depleted of its own healing cells. In these cases, Adult Stem Cell Prolotherapy is more effective than Dextrose Prolotherapy or PRP because the joint will be replenished with new repair cells, which have the ability to divide or self-renew in the areas we inject them into (joints, face, hair line, etc).
Prolotherapy, Dextrose Prolotherapy, PRP Prolotherapy, and Regenerative Injection Therapy are all designed to stimulate your body’s natural healing process. The technique of each treatment is the same; a solution is injected into the injured joint, but the significant difference is the solution. The solution will also dictate how many treatments an area will need. Dr. Moore estimates that most joints generally need between three-six rounds of Prolotherapy, usually spaced one month apart. However, one treatment of PRP equals about three Prolotherapy treatments, so it’s much more time and cost efficient. Furthermore, one treatment of Adipose stem cells equal about three PRP treatments and is far more potent a treatment.
At Core Wellness PDX, Dr. Tyna Moore uses Regenerative Injection therapy, according to her patient’s needs, to achieve the best long-term result. Dr. Moore’s goal is to treat the whole person—not just the symptoms—and strives to provide the best non-surgical treatment
You likely have questions!
I am legally unable to answer individual health questions for non-patients without an online consultation or in-person visit.
Due to the high volume of requests, I am unable to answer individual requests for specific doctor referrals in your area. To find a doctor in your area who offers these therapies, please refer to my PRP 101 Insiders Cheat Sheet and Free Academy.
There is a tremendous amount of information on my website about these therapies, so please have a look around and see if you can’t find answers to your questions there. We have testimonials on every page and even a Research page with supporting studies. Enjoy!
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