The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that of the 26% percent of the population that experiences a disability, over 13% of those are mobility-related. Treatments like prolotherapy target the regenerative capability of the body in order to improve mobility and relieve symptoms.
Understanding How Prolotherapy Works
This treatment may be known under other names, such as proliferation therapy or regenerative injection therapy. Prolotherapy is believed to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself by using a natural substance that acts as an irritant and stimulates regenerative processes.
Joints and ligaments in the knees, hips and shoulders are all common targets for prolotherapy treatment. Practitioners also recommend prolotherapy as a treatment for lower back pain.
Administered as a liquid injection, a prolotherapy session may involve several shots in the specific area of the body being treated. Patients usually repeat these sessions every few weeks for several months, but the exact dosage and schedule depends on which part of the body is being treated.
Your health care professional may take an X-ray to assess the viability of this treatment for your condition, and they may ask you to refrain from taking any anti-inflammatory medication before receiving the treatment. Other common suggestions include eating a meal rich in proteins prior to receiving a treatment or simply eating well before an appointment.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Prolotherapy
Although there are few known incidences of severe side effects with prolotherapy, patients should be aware that this treatment is still being studied for efficacy and safety. It is possible that there are side effects that have not yet been discovered or connected to this treatment.
Side effects common with any injection can include pain at the site of the injection. Patients may also experience redness or itching, and they may notice swelling due to the increase of fluid from the injection itself. If they suspect signs of infection at the injection site, they should seek medical attention immediately.
This treatment is not usually recommended for people who may have wounds or skin infections near the part of the body targeted for treatment. Patients with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medication may also be advised against receiving prolotherapy treatment.
Medicare Coverage for Prolotherapy
Because prolotherapy is considered alternative or complementary medicine, Medicare benefits do not provide coverage for its costs. Although many Medicare Advantage plans will provide additional coverage for procedures not normally included in Original Medicare benefits, these terms are set by the private insurers and prolotherapy may not be included.
Medicare recipients who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare benefits often have access to more services through Medicaid, but prolotherapy does not qualify for coverage under current Medicaid policy. Medicare recipients who pay out of pocket for prolotherapy may not be able to apply those costs to yearly limits for medical expenses, either.
Policies regarding coverage for qualifying treatment can change each year, so patients interested in prolotherapy coverage should continue to check with their Medicare or Medicaid providers in case coverage for this treatment becomes available.