Prolotherapy and Stem Cell Joint Injections

What is Regeneration

Stem cell joint injections help with joint healing and regeneration. Regeneration is a process whereby older or unhealthy cells are replaced by new cells. In this process, diseased tissue is replaced with healthy tissue. As we age, our ability to regenerate new cells declines, because we have fewer stem cells, cytokines, and growth factors. These are needed in the healing and regenerating process.

Along with aging, disease processes and a poor lifestyle affects the body’s ability to repair and renew. For joints, wear and tear results in arthritis and weak ligaments and tendons. This breakdown in cartilage integrity results in chronic inflammation which the patient feels as swelling and pain. The joint will also become more stiff resulting in less range of motion.

Types of Regenerative Joint Injections


Prolotherapy involves a series of joint injections designed to increase the inflammatory process that brings about healing.  Prolotherapy is indicated in joint pain due to laxity of ligaments and tendons. This is when the ligaments and tendons lack the strength and integrity to support the joint. Prolotherapy is not indicated in osteoarthritis however, patients with arthritis experience improvement because the joint is stronger due to the injections.

Ligaments and tendons have a poor blood supply and therefore poor healing response. The inflammatory process is used by the body to transport proteins and enzymes to rebuild the tissue. Prolotherapy increases the blood flow to the area of injury and stimulates inflammation, thereby bringing about the healing process A double blind placebo controlled study published in Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine (March 6, 2000) reported significant reductions in knee pain, swelling and knee buckling frequency after 6 injections.

Stem Cell Joint Injections

Stem cell injections deposit stem cells, cytokines and growth factors into the joints. For joint pain, the injection is done locally into the joint and may contain actual stem cells or amniotic fluid which is rich in cytokines and growth factors. These are utilized by the body to repair damaged tissue. Whether it be stem cells or amniotic fluid, the growth factors and/or stem cells respond to cytokine signaling and go to the area of injury.

For back and neck pain, the stem cells are either injected into the paraspinal muscle or a facet joint injection is done under ultrasound guidance. Results vary but most patients usually feel a significant difference within one month.

Why Stem Cell Therapy instead of surgery and pain medications?

Surgeries involve a lot of downtime and carry risks such as blood clots and poor recovery from the anesthesia. Our stem cell injections are safe and have no risk for complications since they are naive to the immune system and come from a tightly regulated source. Stem cells have the unique ability to divide and differentiate into different tissues. Once injected, they travel to areas of injury to begin the renewal process. Now there is an alternative to surgery and medications, and that is regenerative medicine! This is a powerful treatment that assists the body’s own healing process. No downtime and you can feel less pain within a few weeks. A 3 year follow up study on osteoarthritic knee cartilage showed persistence of the regenerated cartilage following one injection of 5 million umbilical cord derived stem cells. In addition, the patients in this study did not need to get any follow up surgeries after 7 years. This is a significant benefit over a microfracture procedure which is a short term solution, as the cartilage starts deteriorating again after 1-2 years.

Dr. Hendricks! Hello there! I wanted to reach out, first, and let you know that albeit a slow process at first, over the last almost 7 weeks, my herniated cervical neck disc pain has pretty much dropped to ‘none’. I have the occasional discomfort, but it’s fleeting rather than being chronic and unbearable. The other day, for the first time in months, I felt good enough to wash my car, one of my passions and had NO pain.

I’m extremely grateful that I found you, and that you offered a solution that feels like it actually worked.  Now I’m able to do yoga twice a week, for an hour a day, and also do some strength exercises in the shoulder/neck area as well. Thanks again, so much. You’re help and knowledge truly changed my life. Sincerely, Mark – Mesa, AZ

To schedule your initial appointment or a free 10 minute consultation, call 480-334-8278.