Do Prolotherapy Injections Hurt That Much?

Ross Hauser, MDRoss Hauser, MD

As the saying goes with body builders, it also goes with Prolotherapy, “no pain, no gain.” Shots are shots. “Do they hurt?” every new patient asks, as sweat begins to form on the patient’s forehead and palms as the needle approaches its target. All doctors were probably taught the appropriate answer to this question in medical school. “It hurts a little.” Does anything the doctor sticks you with really hurt just a little?

Some people have many Prolotherapy injections and do not flinch, while others receive a few shots and have a rough time.

The amount of pain experienced during the Prolotherapy treatment is insignificant compared to the pain the chronic pain patient experiences every day. Many say after the Prolotherapy treatment, “It wasn’t that bad.” There are a few people, however, who need help in receiving Prolotherapy.

In order to assist those patients who find Prolotherapy painful, some physicians may use lidocaine cream prior to treatment to help lessen the pain. This takes about 30 minutes to work, so there is a little wait-time involved. Other physicians may give the patient a prescription for a pain medication to be taken prior to prolotherapy treatments. This is not necessarily optimal, because the patient’s pain is minimized during the physical examination due to the pain medications.

For those requiring injections in many areas at one time, or for those who are extremely anxious about receiving shots, intravenous conscious sedation such as Demerol may be used. T

The conscious sedation is the most dangerous part of the procedure. The sedation does make a person “woozy” and occasionally someone gets nauseous.

In reality, however, most patients require nothing for pain and the procedure is completed in a matter of minutes. A majority of our patients receive the treatments without pain killers and do just fine. We have lots of things to help you during the procedures too – such as stress balls to squeeze, soothing music to listen to with headphones, hot packs, and of course, kind medical assistants in the room with you to offer you a hand to hold. Most people prefer this to receiving drugs. This way you can drive yourself home and feel fine immediately following the procedure. So in summary – yes, the injections hurt. But remember, the treatment will be completed very quickly, and the result will be elimination of pain in the future! Prolotherapy is worth it! No pain, no gain!