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Prolotherapy snark 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

“Prolotherapy” was invented by a charismatic doctor (decades ago) to treat back pain by toughening up ligaments with injection of an irritant. These days we know that “weak ligaments” are not why people get back pain, and so it’s not surprising that the direct evidence for prolotherapy is inconsistent and unimpressive at best. Prolotherapy’s earnest founder got great results in his own clinic, but those results have never been reproduced in a good quality controlled trial. The method is so notoriously sketchy that it’s an easy target for satire like this (the motive for this post):

The patient who was randomized to the prolotherapy had a 0.4 improvement in their pain on the Wong-Baker scale after taking motrin. The Kool-Aid recipients had worse pain scores after the injections, so clearly we proved that prolotherapy works. No point doing any more research!

Sports Med Doc Performs RCT Comparing Koolaid vs Prolotherapy,” GomerBlog.com

😜 That’s some good quality snarking. GomerBlog is basically The Onion for medicine. I should visit more often.

For more about therapies that try to make an omelette by breaking some eggs, see:

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