Prolotherapy works by strengthening the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This is the fibro-osseous junction. A small amount of a non-toxic "proliferant" solution is injected by means of a small needle into the tendon or ligament at the fibro-osseous junction, and this stimulates the body to produce collagen, which strengthens the tissue.
When the tissue is strengthened, the many nerves in that area are no longer stretched and irritated, and the pain is relieved.
The pain relieved may also be far removed from the site of injury. This is called "referred pain". The surgeon who developed Prolotherapy, Dr. George Hackett, mapped out all of the referral patterns for the ligaments of the neck, lower back, hip and pelvis. A physician trained in Prolotherapy can recognize these referral patterns when examining a patient and determine which areas need to be treated.