Dextrose Prolotherapy Versus Control Injections in Painful Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Volume 97, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 17–25 Helene Bertrand
To compare the effect of dextrose prolotherapy on pain levels and degenerative changes in painful rotator cuff tendinopathy against 2 potentially active control injection procedures.
Randomized controlled trial, blinded to participants and evaluators.
Outpatient pain medicine practice.
Persons (N=73) with chronic shoulder pain, examination findings of rotator cuff tendinopathy, and ultrasound-confirmed supraspinatus tendinosis/tear.
Three monthly injections either (1) onto painful entheses with dextrose (Enthesis-Dextrose), (2) onto entheses with saline (Enthesis-Saline), or (3) above entheses with saline (Superficial-Saline). All solutions included 0.1% lidocaine. All participants received concurrent programmed physical therapy.
Main Outcome Measures
Primary: participants achieving an improvement in maximal current shoulder pain ≥2.8 (twice the minimal clinically important difference for visual analog scale pain) or not. Secondary: improvement in the Ultrasound Shoulder Pathology Rating Scale (USPRS) and a 0-to-10 satisfaction score (10, completely satisfied).
The 73 participants had moderate to severe shoulder pain (7.0±2.0) for 7.6±9.6 years. There were no baseline differences between groups. Blinding was effective. At 9-month follow-up, 59% of Enthesis-Dextrose participants maintained ≥2.8 improvement in pain compared with Enthesis-Saline (37%; P=.088) and Superficial-Saline (27%; P=.017). Enthesis-Dextrose participants’ satisfaction was 6.7±3.2 compared with Enthesis-Saline (4.7±4.1; P=.079) and Superficial-Saline (3.9±3.1; P=.003). USPRS findings were not different between groups (P=.734).
In participants with painful rotator cuff tendinopathy who receive physical therapy, injection of hypertonic dextrose on painful entheses resulted in superior long-term pain improvement and patient satisfaction compared with blinded saline injection over painful entheses, with intermediate results for entheses injection with saline. These differences could not be attributed to a regenerative effect. Dextrose prolotherapy may improve on the standard care of painful rotator cuff tendinopathy for certain patients.
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