Safety and Risks
Every medical procedure has risks – but so does living with chronic pain! Let’s look at some of the top risks associated with living with chronic pain:
- Being miserable
- Decreased ability to travel due to pain and restrictions in movement
- Deteriorating relationships with family, spouse, and friends
- Developing additional health problems due to pain
- Financial loss due to inability to work
- Increased weight due to immobility
- Loss of ability to enjoy sports and leisure activities
- Loss of independence
- Poor sleep due to pain or stress caused by pain
- Possible addiction to pain medications
The risks of living with chronic pain are enormous. The ability to enjoy life is being lost every day a person suffers from pain. Chronic pain often leads to host of other medical conditions including depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, hormonal deficiencies and many others. The psychological toll it takes on the person and their family and friends is enormous. So what is the person to do?
The person can opt for a host of treatments including chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, hypnosis, herbs, vitamins, exercise, massage, electrical stimulation, pain pills, surgery, arthroscopy, cortisone shots, trigger point shots, nerve blocks and many others. All medical treatments have potential benefits and potential risks.
Prolotherapy risks may include:
- Bleeding in the area
- Bruising in the area
- Increased pain
- Joint effusion
- Nerve injury
- Puncture of a lung
- Spinal headache
- Tendon/ligament injury
Because Prolotherapy causes inflammation, the person will often note some bruising, pain, stiffness and swelling in the area after receiving Prolotherapy. Typically this lasts 1 to 7 days. On rare occasions it lasts longer. Lasting longer is not necessarily bad, some people just inflame more easily. Since the treatment works by inflammation, lingering pain after Prolotherapy can be a sign of healing. If the pain is severe after Prolotherapy, then call the office where the Prolotherapy was done. Prolotherapy should not cause excessive, severe pain. Severe pain after Prolotherapy, especially accompanied by a fever, could indicate an infection. Infection after Prolotherapy is the most serious risk that we have seen.
The risk of infection after Prolotherapy is between 1 and 1000 to 1 and 10,000 procedures. The most common infection with Prolotherapy is an infection in the skin. This type of infection typically responds to an antibiotic taken by mouth. If a joint or blood infection results, then intravenous antibiotics will typically be needed for six weeks.
Since some of the risks with Prolotherapy relate to the actual technique done, it is important to go to a clinic with a lot of experience. Surely a doctor can stick a needle into a nerve, ligament, or tendon and cause injury. A doctor can stick the needle into the lung when doing the thoracic vertebrae or ribs. A doctor could also stick the needle into the spinal canal when doing any area of the spine and cause a cerebrospinal fluid leak. This is known as a spinal headache (which is a headache when you sit up). The risks of these side effects are rare, but do occur.
Even in the case of a punctured lung or a tickled nerve, it does not mean the technique of Prolotherapy was bad. Everyone’s anatomy is different. Technically, if a lung rides high (above first rib) or if a nerve is in an unusual spot, these structures can be hit even though the Prolotherapy technique was good.
There are risks associated with everything you put into your body.
All one has to do is look up any of the risks for any of the anti-inflammatory medications (even over-the-counter medications) and realize even taking them can cause serious risks. For the Prolotherapists at Caring Medical, we have had numerous Prolotherapy sessions and have treated many family members and friends. While every procedure has risks, we must also understand the risk of not having the procedures or continuing to try and overcome the chronic pain condition. Compared to surgery, Prolotherapy is much safer, and in most instances, a better option, with far less risks. Living with pain carries its own risk. In our experience, the potential benefits of Prolotherapy far outweigh the risks. If you continue to suffer with chronic pain or a painful condition is limiting your ability to do the things you want to do, consider Prolotherapy from an experienced, Comprehensive Prolotherapy specialist.