The pros of prolotherapy include a substantial lessening of pain if the practitioner is skilled as well as increased strength in the tendon, joint capsule or ligament undergoing treatment, whereas its cons include sever pain an stiffness. Swelling may also result from prolotherapy, according to Spine-health.
Some patients are allergic to the substances used in the prolotherapy, according to Spine-health. This includes irritating agents such as dextrose with glycerin and phenol, or sodium morrhuate, and some patients are also allergic to the anesthesia used during the procedure. It is also normal for the patient to feel pain for a few days after the therapy.
Headache is another risk of prolotherapy, according to Spine-health. More severe complications include a leak of spinal fluid, paralysis and a collapse of all or part of the lung, which is known as pneumothorax, according to Mayo Clinic. Other patients suffer irreversible nerve damage.
However, about 80 to 90 percent of patients who receive prolotherapy report good outcomes, as Spine-health reports. The injury is less likely to recur, and the functioning of the area returns to normal or at least improves. However, these reports are from physicians who performed the procedure, and they are anecdotal. As of 2015, formal studies haven't yet linked the beneficial outcomes for the patients with the prolotherapy that they received.