Has anyone out there had a great deal of success stabilizing their lower back with prolotherapy treatments? I'm a 42yr old teenager who won't give up my games: Avid whitewater kayaker, skier, snowboarder, mt. biker, who also has a work-caused L-5 Parr's fracture, locking SI joint, degenerative disks, and scoliosis of advanced degree. I feel best when moving a lot (mostly paddling and x-c skiing) and worst with no activity at all. But the lower back is very unstable, even with physical therapy and moderate yoga. One orthopod I've seen has recommended fairly aggressive surgery,and there is NO way, not until it's that or a wheelchair. Have been to the www.sportsprolo.com website and had email correspondence with the nice docs there, but of course they are going to tell you it is the ONLY answer, because it's what pays their bills. I am in 24hr discomfort, mostly when sitting still or walking slowly, but am not incapacitated. Would greatly appreciate hearing from folks who have been through the prolotherapy treatments for any part of the spine. Still believe moving and excercising is the best medicine. Thanks.
I went to the site, but not sure what exactly they do.
Since you're new here, I'd first strongly suggest you get a copy of Clair Davies' recent book on Trigger Point Massage Therapy. You sound like a smart guy & could easily learn to do it on yourself to relieve pain & stiffness & save all kinds of time & money. Your library might have a copy; otherwise you can purchase it online for little more than $15.
I'm definitely not a devotee of "Alternative Medicine", but this type of massage therapy makes quite logical sense in the muscle/soft tissue pain arena---trust me, the author doesn't talk about things like "the laying of hands', the "therapeutic touch", the "life force" or even "released energy". All I can do is suggest you try it.
Thanks for the feedback, but I already rely heavily on a chiropractor who uses active release therapy and intense massage prior to adjustments. Those treatments and structured workouts are what keep me mobile, but they are having less and less effectiveness. That is why I'm really researching the prolotherapy.
I still suggest you get the book. You will get much better results doing trigger point therapy on yourself several short sessions a day than you'll get from your chiropractor in maybe once a week visits. Has your chiropractor taught you how to do it yourself between visits? (I admit here to not being at all impressed with chiropractors from personal experience).
As an aside, for my husband's birthday in May I paid for an extended hour's worth of Massage Therapy. Although there were over 20 certified massage therapists on staff, the owner/manager could only recommend one therapist who REALLY knew Trigger Point Therapy inside & out.
Thanks, I will look into the book. My chiro has shown me how to do some of this, but not in depth. I also admit to not being impressed with "most" chiropractors, but the two I have used for the last ten years are truly gifted, in much more than just bone cracking. They really have kept me participating in some very active and high-risk sports at a very high level for a long time. I was able to paddle and bike five to six days a week with once-monthly visits for massage and adjustment for years. It is only now that I'm paying for the miles on the injured joints (shoulder, as well). Thanks again for the assist to the book, will still be looking for feedback from Prolotherapy recipients.
I have had prolotherapy done, and it didn't help me at all, it actually made me worse! I have heard that there has been a lot of great success from this procedure, unfortunatley I wasn't one of them.
My opinion is on the basis that I only did two sessions of it, because it was to painful for me to do. I had spoke with several patients that were having it done, and they all responded positive!
I still don't see or understand, how it works. All I know is it didn't work for me, but it has worked for others.
Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.
~May 2002: Injured at work
~June 2002: Had MRI
~June 2002: ESI's
~July 2002: EMG
~March 2003: Discogram
~April 2003: Transforamital Injection
~May 2003: Intra-Discal Injection
~May 2003: Second opinion Doctor said only ADR is my only option.
~May 2003: Postponed Nucleoplasty.
~June 2003: Went to Doctor for severe Depression.
~June 2003 - Present: Taking one day at a time. Learning to adapt to a new way of life.
You sound a lot like me: Very active but my back "popped" about 14 months ago and it's been slow healing since. I've been through all the regular specialists: chiro, spinal surgeon (not bad enough for surgery), physiatrist, massage, acupuncture, lots of PT, yoga, and now I'm with a pain M.D. who's run out of injection options. It sounds like I may have "popped" (torn" a ligament near my left SI and kept running, biking, etc. which made the situation worse. The pain spread, a disk bulged, etc. I eventually was forced to slow down, the hot, bulging disc receded, the pain retreated to the left SI and sacrum but I am still in constant low-moderate pain yet can function (I'm taking Ultram and some other meds). Standing in place is the worse.
Anyway, I did try prolotherapy on my last visit to the doctor (he did it gratis as part of my office visit). Here's a recent post on another list regarding my experience:
I had my first serious injections of prolotherapy solution three weeks ago. The doctor injected my left SI and sacrum six times with .25% dextrose and .25% marcaine (anesthetic) solution. I puffed up for a day and the first 48 hours my SI felt unstable and I had occassionable stabbing pains but then, the next ten days (through week 2) were WONDERFUL. I was superficially SORE but felt strong, stable and ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Unfortunately, the pain is returning in week 3. They say this is a normal part of the six week healing cycle. Once the inflammation subsides, the initial stabilization is gone and the slower healing process (building of collagen, hopefully) begins. Does this make sense?
My pain M.D. is not a prolotherapist. He hasn't done it much but has run out of options short of sending me to a surgeon and I'm not a good candidate for surgery because I can function despite the pain.
Specialists in prolotherapy recommend 50-75 injections in the lower back every 6 weeks! Or, if only 6 injections, then every two weeks. But my pain MD is much more cautious. If I go to a true prolotherapist, I will have to pay out of pocket (insurance doesn't cover this unconventional treatment)--it's about $500/session, not counting travel costs. They suggest 4-6 sessions.
Anybody gone through prolotherapy??? Advice, please? I can't seem to find any forums on the topic. Help!
Thanks to everyone so far for the responses. BackAttack, I can only go from the substantial online reading I've done so far, but it sounds like your doc who did the prolo on you may not be that well-trained in it. Everything I've read, and all of the correspondence I've had from 3 M.D.s that are on the www.getprolo.com website, indicates that ON AVERAGE, you should expect to be injected 50 to 75 separate times PER TREATENT. Six times for a lower back session seems like a token gesture at best from everything I'm told so far. My ex-chiro from here in Jackson is now in K.C. and he went with a patient of his to watch a treatment session on a right shoulder. The patient was injected 71 times over the course of 90min. I am still waiting to hear how he is doing after his second treatment. Anyway, I guess my gut feeling is that it is that you may not have gotten a full treatment. Creeky, sorry to hear it didn't work for you, and I hope you are able to find relief through other avenues.
I feel a lot like you...don't want to resort to surgery just yet. I have an extremely active job, and am very active myself. I work and play in tennis, as well as water skiing, knee boarding, etc... On my feet a lot, which I have found is the best therapy for me. I had a procedure called Nucleoplasty 4 weeks ago. Am finally beginning to feel a tiny bit of relief, but it's slow healing. However, it's a very non-invasive procedure. Might be worth checking into!! Good Luck! Stay as active as possible without pain!!
I SUSPECT that prolotherapists give so many injections to justify there outrageous fees $500 (plus the travel costs -- so many people have to travel so far and stay overnight). Keep in mind they are injecting SUGAR solution!
Besides, there are two schools of thought: Some prolotherapists believe in fewer injections (6 or so) frequently (every two weeks), while others in the East and Midwest go for 50-75 very 6 weeks. Needless to say, this is not rigorous science. It's more seat-of-the-pants, let-see-what-works by injecting the patient science. I'm willing to try it because nothing else has worked but so far I've read more failure stories than success stories on the Internet. And, of the "success" stories, it's odd that they have to keep going back to the same doctor for YEARS. Obviously, it didn't cure the underlying problem and the patients are using it as a crutch of sorts. IMHO.
I'm not ruling it out. GOD, I HOPE IT WORKS. I was as active (more active) than the 20 year old kids I teach just 14 months ago, now I hobble around and live a rather sedentary life. I go to the gym every day but have to be careful. Basically, life sucks. Whoever wrote "Life begins at 40" ought to be shot. For me (and many others who begin to complain of aches and pains at this age), life ends at 40....
It sounds like your problem has deteriorated much faster than mine. My real problems began when my L-5 transverse process snapped off lifting a raft one day. Sounds kind of like you: just "popped" during an awkward twisting lift. My legs and butt went numb for almost an hour. Since then, it's been a constant battle to maintain mobility, as well as full feeling in my left leg. Had always been able to keep it at bay until recently, which seems to have corresponded largely with truning 40, and taking a job that is 99.9% desk time for the first time in my life. The lack of motion feels worse than anything. Not that I would necessarily go back to any of my previous occupations that were much more physical (offshore oilfield derrickman, log home construction, raft guide), but in some respects the inactivity seems to be more detrimental. Feels like I'm rusting up instead of at least keeping the aging parts oiled ;-) Anyway, I am willing to listen to all theories about the prolotherapy, but it seems like most of the practitioners I've spoken to advocate a rigorous number of injections per session, and spacing the treatments out about a month or so apart, in order to give the ligaments and/or cartillage time to really grow. Today, I can really sympathize with your pain: spent last night twisting and grunting underneath a bathroom vanity that needed replaced, and really paying for it now in the L-5 / S-1 area. Plumbing would be high on my list of professions that have to be bad for the back. Keep the faith, there has to be an answer other than hard drugs and sharp knives out there.
I will probably wait until late Oct. to pursue it further. I have to have shoulder surgery first, in mid-Sept. to remove some bone spurs and try and fix a torn labrum I've had for a while (another old river injury). Arthritis in that joint has become a real problem, as well as overall stability. Going to look at prolo for that, as well, but not until they get this silver-dollar-sized growth ground off the top of the humerus bone, and reshape a couple of surfaces inside the AC joint. I am curious, how did you decide upon Reeves? It's interesting, because that is the doc that worked on the patient of my old chiropractor. How far are you from KC? I am forced to travel at least to the Salt Lake City metro area, which is 4 1/2hrs drive from here. If flights out of here weren't so ridiculously expensive, I might consider going to Hauser near Chicago. They are the ones with the www.sportsprolo website. Ahh, the vagaries of keeping the machine running. :-)