The History of Prolotherapy | Proliferation therapy | Regenerative Medicine

Joint Repair Clinic of Montana offers regenerative medicine in Bozeman, MT including umbilical cord tissue allograft injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, and prolotherapy for joint pain. View our patient case studies featuring resolved joint pain videos.

Prolotherapy, a pain therapy that involves the stimulation of the inflammatory healing/regenerative cascade through the injection of stimulant solutions, has a long history dating back to ancient times.
The earliest form of prolotherapy was used by the Egyptians to treat lame animals by “branding” or hot iron cautery in the 18th dynasty of Amenhotep III circa 1350 BC.

Hippocrates’s first recorded use of prolotherapy in humans was circa 400 BC, he used a hot poker in the axilla to repair a dislocated shoulder.

In 1835, Alfred A.L.M. Velpeau, MD, considered the father of prolotherapy, injected a patient with an iodine solution to treat a hernia.

From the 1830s to the early 1920s, hernias were the primary condition treated via prolotherapy. Then, in 1926, the first organization for injection therapy was born.

In 1937, Dr. Gedney published “The hypermobile joint,” the first known article about injection therapy (then called “sclerotherapy”) in the medical literature.⁶The 1937 article gave a preliminary protocol and 2 case reports—one of a patient with knee pain and another with low back pain—both successfully treated with this method.

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Hackett observed that following injection therapy “…the junction of ligament and bone resulted in the profuse proliferation of new tissue at this union.” Hence, Dr. Hackett termed the injection procedure, proliferation, which he later renamed prolotherapy, with ‘prolo’ referring to proliferation, or growth, of tissue.

Prolotherapy Today:
Prolotherapy is fundamentally the same as it has always been, the stimulation of the inflammatory healing/regenerative cascade through the placement of stimulant solutions via injection at the enthesis and/or disrupted tissue junction. By any other name, it is still prolotherapy.

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