Prolotherapy for chronic low back pain: a review of literature

Br Med Bull. 2021 Jun 10;138(1):96-111. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldab004.


Introduction: Low back pain is common and imposes major societal burdens for patient suffering and costs. Prolotherapy injections are used for musculoskeletal conditions including tendinopathies, osteoarthritis and low back pain to enhance soft-tissue healing. This review aims to clarify the place of prolotherapy in chronic low back pain (CLBP).

Sources of data: Using multiple databases, a systematic search was performed to identify studies detailing the use of prolotherapy to manage CLBP. A total of 12 articles was included in the present work.

Areas of agreement: Considering the level of evidence and the quality of the studies assessed using the modified Coleman Score, prolotherapy is an effective management modality for CLBP patients in whom conservative therapies failed.

Areas of controversy: The presence of co-interventions and the clinical heterogeneity of the work contributes to confound the overall conclusions.

Growing points and areas for research: The analysis of the studies included in the review, using appropriate tools, showed how their quality has decreased over the years, reflecting the need for appropriately powered well planned and performed randomized control trials.

Keywords: CLBP, proliferative, injection; hypertonic dextrose; prolotherapy; sclerotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Low Back Pain* / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Prolotherapy*
  • Tendinopathy*