Prolotherapy and LLLT

Anesth Pain Med. 2017 Oct 15;7(5):e14470. doi: 10.5812/aapm.14470. eCollection 2017 Oct.

Prolotherapy and Low Level Laser Therapy: A Synergistic Approach to Pain Management in Chronic Osteoarthritis.

Tieppo Francio V1,2,3, Dima RS4, Towery C1, Davani S1.

Author information

University of Science, Arts and Technology – USAT College of Medicine, Olveston, Montserrat, BWI.
Essential Integrative Health – Spine, Orthopaedics and Pain Management, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
Variety Care – Community Health Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
School of Interdisciplinary Sciences – McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


Regenerative injection therapy and low level laser therapy are alternative remedies known for their success in the treatment and symptomatic management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions. In response to the growing demand for alternative therapies in the face of the opioid epidemic, the authors conduct a literature review to investigate the potential for prolotherapy and LLLT to be used adjunctively to manage chronic osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative chronic musculoskeletal condition on the rise in North America, and is frequently treated with opioid medications. The regenerative action of prolotherapy and pain-modulating effects of LLLT may make these two therapies well-suited to synergistically provide improved outcomes for osteoarthritis patients without the side effects associated with opioid use. A narrative descriptive review through multiple medical databases (Google Scholar, PubMed, and MedLine) is conducted, restricted by the use of medical subject headings. 71 articles were selected for reading in full, and 40 articles were selected for use in the study after reading in full. A review of the literature revealed good clinical results in the use of prolotherapy and LLLT separately to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain due to osteoarthritis and other chronic conditions. It is also recognized in the literature that prolotherapy works most effectively when used adjunctively with other treatments. Downsides to the use of prolotherapy include mild side effects of pain, stiffness and bruising and potential adverse events as a result of injection. This study is limited by the lack of clinical trials available involving both LLLT and prolotherapy injections used adjunctively, and by the low number of high impact literature concerning the treatment of (specifically) osteoarthritis by alternative methods. The authors suggest that practicing health care providers consider utilizing LLLT and prolotherapy together as a supplementary method in the management of chronic pain due to osteoarthritis, to minimize the long-term prescription of opioids and emphasize a less invasive treatment for this debilitating condition.

Hand (N Y). 2014 Dec;9(4):419-46. doi: 10.1007/s11552-014-9642-x.

Non-surgical treatment of lateral epicondylitis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Sims SE1, Miller K2, Elfar JC1, Hammert WC1.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 665, Rochester, NY 14642 USA.
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 601, Rochester, NY 14642 USA.



Non-surgical approaches to treatment of lateral epicondylitis are numerous. The aim of this systematic review is to examine randomized, controlled trials of these treatments.


Numerous databases were systematically searched from earliest records to February 2013. Search terms included “lateral epicondylitis,” “lateral elbow pain,” “tennis elbow,” “lateral epicondylalgia,” and “elbow tendinopathy” combined with “randomized controlled trial.” Two reviewers examined the literature for eligibility via article abstract and full text.


Fifty-eight articles met eligibility criteria: (1) a target population of patients with symptoms of lateral epicondylitis; (2) evaluation of treatment of lateral epicondylitis with the following non-surgical techniques: corticosteroid injection, injection technique, iontophoresis, botulinum toxin A injection, prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma or autologous blood injection, bracing, physical therapy, shockwave therapy, or laser therapy; and (3) a randomized controlled trial design. Lateral epicondylitis is a condition that is usually self-limited. There may be a short-term pain relief advantage found with the application of corticosteroids, but no demonstrable long-term pain relief. Injection of botulinum toxin A and prolotherapy are superior to placebo but not to corticosteroids, and botulinum toxin A is likely to produce concomitant extensor weakness. Platelet-rich plasma or autologous blood injections have been found to be both more and less effective than corticosteroid injections. Non-invasive treatment methods such as bracing, physical therapy, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy do not appear to provide definitive benefit regarding pain relief. Some studies of lowlevel laser therapy show superiority to placebo whereas others do not.


There are multiple randomized controlled trials for non-surgical management of lateral epicondylitis, but the existing literature does not provide conclusive evidence that there is one preferred method of non-surgical treatment for this condition. Lateral epicondylitis is a condition that is usually self-limited, resolving over a 12- to 18-month period without treatment.


Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of level of evidence.


Elbow tendinopathy; Extensor tendinopathy; Lateral elbow pain; Lateral epicondylalgia; Lateral epicondylitis; Tennis elbow

Am Fam Physician. 2013 Apr 1;87(7):486-90.

Management of chronic tendon injuries.

Childress MA1, Beutler A.

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Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060, USA.


Chronic tendon injuries present unique management challenges. The assumption that these injuries result from ongoing inflammation has caused physicians to rely on treatments demonstrated to be ineffective in the long term. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be limited in the treatment of these injuries. Corticosteroid injections should be considered for temporizing pain relief only for rotator cuff tendinopathy. For chronic Achilles tendinopathy (symptoms lasting longer than six weeks), an intense eccentric strengthening program of the gastrocnemius/ soleus complex improved pain and function between 60 and 90 percent in randomized trials. Evidence also supports eccentric exercise as a first-line option for chronic patellar tendon injuries. Other modalities such as prolotherapy, topical nitroglycerin, iontophoresis, phonophoresis, therapeutic ultrasound, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and lowlevel laser therapy have less evidence of effectiveness but are reasonable second-line alternatives to surgery for patients who have persistent pain despite appropriate rehabilitative exercise.