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Published on January 12, 2016

person with knee pain

Harnessing the Body’s Natural Healing Process

Imagine sitting at a red light, and your car is suddenly rear-ended at full speed by a driver who isn’t paying attention. Your head moves forcefully back and forth — causing a real pain in the neck.

“In a scenario like this, ligaments can be stretched and tendons can be torn from their attachments to bone which can sometimes be beyond the body’s ability to heal itself,” said Michael Stotz, DO, Family Medicine Physician at Avera Medical Group McGreevy Dawley Farm. “Occasionally, this can leave long-lasting pain that is difficult to treat.”

When physical therapy and medication aren’t effective in treating the discomfort, Stotz recommends prolotherapy, a cutting-edge minimally invasive procedure that treats musculoskeletal pain.


Prolotherapy recruits your body’s natural healing process to repair injuries and relieve ongoing pain.

In each session, multiple shots of dextrose are injected into the painful joint and surrounding ligaments and tendons. The dextrose causes a mild irritation, stimulating the blood to naturally heal the injured site.

Prolotherapy can be used to treat a number of common conditions, including:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow or tendinitis
  • Arthritic pain
  • Ligament or tendon sprains, strains and tears
  • Chronic low back pain

Stotz says about 80 percent of patients may see at least some improvement from their discomfort.

“Prolotherapy challenges common treatment methods used to manage pain,” said Stotz. “While ibuprofen and icing minimize the inflammation and therefore halt the body’s natural healing process, prolotherapy harnesses the blood flow caused by inflammation to treat your pain.”

That’s not saying you should stop taking pain medicine or using a cold pack; however, sometimes swelling from an injury may not be all that bad.

“Because prolotherapy encourages irritation and inflammation in the affected area, it’s not unusual for the pain to worsen before it improves,” explained Stotz. “However, this will be more beneficial in the long run: you’ll be fixing the problem and not just masking the pain.”

Considered a nontraditional treatment method, prolotherapy is not a covered procedure by most insurance companies at this time. You may still check with your insurance provider to see if all or part of treatment is covered.

A single session typically ranges from $175 to $350. Treatment may include two to six sessions over the course of a few months, depending on your needs and the location of your pain.

To learn more or request a consultation, call 605-322-2925.

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