Prolotherapy is an alternative remedy for chronic pain. Although medical doctors as well as naturopaths provide prolotherapy, most insurance companies and Medicare consider the treatment investigational and do not cover it. Prolotherapy involves the injection of sugar solutions into tendons and ligaments. The technique has few side effects, and serious effects are rare.
Injecting sugar solution is designed to strengthen ligaments and tendons and stimulate production of new connective tissue. Prolotherapy combined with spinal manipulation and exercise has been shown to improve chronic low back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Common Side Effects
The most common prolotherapy side effect is muscle soreness around the injection site. Prolotherapy causes inflammation, so there may be bruising, pain, stiffness and swelling.
Inflammation from prolotherapy typically lasts up to a week, but sometimes longer. Lingering pain is not viewed as a worrisome side effect and may be a sign of healing.
Massage therapy and moist heat can relieve pain associated with prolotherapy. Anti-inflammatory medications should be avoided, but others such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) are allowed.
Any patient experiencing severe pain after prolotherapy should contact the health-care practitioner because it may indicate an infection. Other possible serious side effects include spinal headache, hemorrhaging, collapsed lung and disk injury.