For three years, Hessa Alqassimi struggled with excruciating pain in her back, sacrum and neck. She tried many different treatments from physicians in her home country of United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as in Germany and the United States, but those treatments only reduced some of her symptoms.

On a referral from her dentist, she first received prolotherapy from a physician in San Diego to see if it would decrease her back pain. Prolotherapy involves injecting small amounts of therapeutic solution at painful ligaments and tendon and in joint spaces to stimulate healing and relieve pain.

After just a few sessions, Alqassimi says she is pain free, and has stopped all pain medications.

Through conversations with a prolotherapist in the UAE, Alqassimi learned about Dr. David Rabago, an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) and an international expert on prolotherapy treatment, research and education.

According to Dr. Rabago, prolotherapy has been practiced for over a century, and although evidence suggests that it’s effective for chronic musculoskeletal pain due to osteoarthritis, overuse tendon disorders and back problems, more research is needed.

Alqassimi’s desire to support that research—and to raise awareness of prolotherapy’s promise as a treatment for chronic pain—led her to make a generous donation to the University of Wisconsin Prolotherapy Research and Education Laboratory (UW PEARL).

“I believe [prolotherapy] should be available everywhere and in every hospital, and not a rare specialty treatment that patients find about by luck,” Alqassimi says. “Research is a great way to explore its  effectiveness. I wish someone told me about prolotherapy when the pain started…hopefully doctors and patients will become more aware of the benefits of prolotherapy and consider it in their treatment plan.”

Dr. Rabago and the DFMCH are deeply grateful to Alqassimi for her generous support of prolotherapy research and education.

To learn more about UW PEARL or to make a gift to the program, visit

Development Update

The DFMCH is also grateful to Alan Schwartzstein for his June 2017 donation to the DFMCH’s
Caring for Wisconsin – Today and Tomorrow” fund.

Thank you for your support!

Published: July 2017