The Difference Between Prolotherapy Vs PRP Injections

Prolotherapy vs PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma injections, is a question we’re often asked.

To simplify the differences in a quick analogy, image a ten story building. You want to have full function and mobility like you used to.  In other words, you want to reach the 10th floor.

With regards to pain relief and healing, Prolotherapy can take you the 2nd or 3rd floor, while PRP can take to to the 6th or 7th floor.

Both therapies encourage the body to use  its “self” healing properties to combat injury. However the potential healing properties of Prolotherapy vs PRP does vary.

Function of Prolotherapy Vs PRP

Prolotherapy injections are used on “trigger” points in tendons and ligaments. Prolotherapy injections cannot be injected into a joint, and therefore can only have an effect on the joints’ supporting tissue.

Tendons and ligaments have different functions.  Tendons transfer the action of muscles to the skeleton, while ligaments lash bone to bone and keep joints from wobbling.

But both are made up mostly of organized networks of dense, elastic connective tissue, rich in a tough protein called collagen. And tendons and ligaments basically heal in the same way, that is to say slowly and often poorly, with disorganized scar tissue in place of organized collagen fibers.  This poor healing process often makes you prone to re-injury.

PRP injections can be injected into the joint and have the potential to regenerate cartilage.  If a joint is injured, simply treating the surrounding tendons and ligaments may help in some pain relief, but ultimately the joint, which now lacks mobility and function, will still be the underlying cause of pain.

Prolotherapy VS PRP Cost

Prolotherapy uses a substance, primarily glucose, that is intended to cause a mild irritant to the damaged tendon or ligament. While the substance formula may vary, it is not derived from the patient.  Therefore it is the most cost effective of Regenerative Medicine therapies.

PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is derived from the patient’s own blood.  It is then processed accordingly to obtain a plasma high in healing platelets.  The processing takes place in our on-site lab under sterile conditions and is then injected into the damaged tendon, ligament or joint.  Because this process is more intensive and requires precision in processing for the treatment to be maximally effective, the cost of PRP is higher than Prolotherapy.

In spite of published research, Prolotherapy and PRP are considered investigational/experimental by insurance companies at this time.  Therefore insurance coverage for both procedures is not available, and is an out-of-pocket expense.

Healing occurs slowly but surely, and naturally in both treatments.  Prolotherapy, and in some cases PRP, require multiple treatments to achieve maximum joint stability and lasting relief from pain.