Dextrose prolotherapy is a newer alternative therapy that calls for injections of saline or sugar into areas of your body that need healing. Both saline and sugar are believed to be irritants, which leads your body to react by stimulating your natural healing process.
Dextrose prolotherapy isn’t appropriate for every type of pain, but it does often seem to be exceptionally helpful for chronic back pain. Dr. Rachael O'Connell and the team at Nutura Clinic in Portland, Oregon, explain more about how dextrose therapy might help you find relief from your back pain.
How dextrose prolotherapy is believed to work
Experts are continuing to study dextrose prolotherapy, especially as its use becomes more widespread. Although how it works isn’t yet completely understood, it’s clear that this therapy does have some beneficial effects.
Some theories behind why dextrose prolotherapy works include:
- The injection changes the fluid pressure in your back and causes local cells to burst, stimulating the healing process
- The injection attracts immune cells to the area to further promote healing
- The injection causes scarring, which causes the collagen to break down
- The injection irritates your cells, allowing them to dry out
Although it may sound counterintuitive, dextrose prolotherapy injections promote inflammation, which is ultimately a good thing because your body begins to heal.
Does dextrose prolotherapy work?
If you ask a standard doctor if dextrose prolotherapy works, they might say no. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, and several studies support its use. In fact, the American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine does recommend it for chronic lower back pain.
What to expect from dextrose prolotherapy
Your first step toward dextrose prolotherapy treatment is an intake appointment with Dr. O’Connell, where she takes a complete health history and orders any necessary imaging. She also discusses plans for additional healing modalities, including diet, movement, and supplements.
Next, you have an appointment to test how effective this treatment is for you. An ultrasound-guided diagnostic injection is intended to see how well you respond and will require you to keep a pain diary after your injection.
Two to three weeks later, you have a follow-up consultation to determine if you responded well enough to move forward with treatment. If so, Dr. O’Connell puts together a treatment plan.
Once it’s decided that you can proceed, you have appointments about every 4-6 weeks. In addition, you begin a 6-week program of physical therapy, and you may also receive recommendations for chiropractic care with Dr. Max.
The treatment will be repeated 3-8 times, depending on severity, with injections spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
What side effects to expect
Although dextrose prolotherapy usually doesn’t have too many side effects, you may experience some of these common reactions:
- Pain and stiffness
- Bruising and swelling
- Allergic reactions
These reactions are rare, but they’re possible.
Dextrose prolotherapy shows a lot of promise for treating lower back pain. To see if you're a good candidate, contact the providers at Nutura Clinic today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.