Prolotherapy/sclerotherapy has been used successfully as early as 500 B.C. when Roman soldiers with shoulder joint dislocations were treated with hot branding irons to help fuse the torn ligaments in the shoulder joint. Advances in medicines greatly improved on this process, and led to the modern techniques of strengthening the fibrous tissue rather than producing scarring to fuse tissues. In 1926, a group of physicians met with great success using injection therapy to treat hernias and hemorrhoids. Earl Gedney, D.O., a well-known Orthopedist, decreased his surgical practice and began to inject joints with these newer injectible medicines in the 1940s and 1950s. Also, in 1950, George Stuart Hackett, M.D., wrote a book on injection therapy. His work is still used today in training physicians. In the years since this early work, techniques and medications have advanced to move from a scarring or fusing effect to a strengthening effect, which restores the weakened joint to its original level of stability, without loss of flexibility and function.
Hippocrates described vein sclerotherapy around 400 B.C. using “slender instruments of iron” to treat varicose veins causing vein ulcers. Injection sclerotherapy of veins was first reported in 1623, and modern forms of injection sclerotherapy for varicose veins and similar diseases has been performed since the early 1900’s. Refinements and clinical study over the past few decades have dramatically improved our understanding of vein sclerotherapy, and improved the results.
In a Journal of Complimentary Medicine in 2012, Dr Rabago and others published results of benefits of Prolotherapy injections containing Dextrose (concentrated sugar solution) for moderate to advanced osteoarthritis of the knee. The outcomes were compared to saline (sterile water) and physical therapy alone. The results were far superior for Prolotherapy in reduction of pain and improvement of function when compared to the other two interventions.
Dr Yeland and others published a study on benefits of Prolotherapy for chronic low back pain in a 2004 publication of the Spine journal.
Patients had on the average fourteen years of pain. Prolotherapy injections consisted of Dextrose/ Lidocaine and were compared to Saline alone. There was 50% improvement in both pain and function in the Prolotherapy group.
In 2014 at an annual Prolotherapy conference, Dr Young Kim, a Korean orthopedic spine surgeon reported his experience with 24 patients with severe cervical and low back pain and spinal nerve compression. He used a combination of PRP and Prolotherapy. He also reported greater then 50% improvement of pain and function.
In many cases there was a significant reduction of spinal cord compression after treatment: