The National Institutes of Health considers prolotherapy, a treatment for pain, as a complementary and alternative medicine. “Prolotherapy is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative treatment,” reads the website of the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The treatment involves injections, typically of a dextrose solution, into the injured area.

An article in the February 2011 issue of American Consumer News describes the way that a “mild irritant’ injected into the injured tissue “results in an inflammatory response, and the body automatically increases the blood flow and works to build new ligament and tendon tissue.”

In the U.S., the “father of prolotherapy” is considered to be Dr. George Hackett, of Ohio, who used the technique with success, on thousands of patients, according to the June 1, 2010, issue of the magazine Women’s Health Letter.

Prolotherapy isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but that, said local pain management doctor, Paul Kramm, has much to do with the fact that no patents are involved in a treatment using a dextrose solution and thus no commercial interests are seeking a clinical trial for FDA approval.

“Just because it’s not FDA approved doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate treatment,” Kramm said.