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Prolotherapy for back pain
future40 posted:
Has anyone had good results with Prolotherapy for chronic back pain? Please tell me your experiences (both good and bad) Any feedback is much appreciated.
EsotericalAngel responded:
Yes I have had Prolotherapy for chronic back pain and found it to be the best thing I have ever done to eliminate and reduce the pain. I got rid of 98% of my migraines and headaches with 8 - 9 treatments of Prolotherapy in Palm Harbor FL.

I don't know what you know about Prolotherapy, but you can google it and get good results for information and a search to find a good Prolotherapy Doctor. I would not go to a Doctor who isn't using Hacketts solution, as in my opinion, that would be trigger point injections and not prolotherapy. I had a Doc tell me once that she could do Prolotherapy. She used saline solution for 2 - 3 different treatments and it made "zero" difference.

I had a treatment every 3 weeks. Following each treatment I had a reduction in pain and I felt stronger. Initially the results were minimal, as Prolotherapy doesn't happen over night. An injection takes from 1 to 3 months to do it's full work of growing new tissue and collagen. I had huge amounts of relief from the last 3 treatments, as it was an accumulation of all 8 - 9 treatments over several months.

Every year or two I get a few minor treatments to reinforce things. I had a car accident following the treatments and I could feel that although I was injured, my neck had held up much better because it had been strengthened with Prolotherapy.

I believe that because I have done the Prolotherapy, the the Robotic therapy, I am now able to be off of the Oxycodone, and in the last year Tramadol. I do not take any pain meds this year, except for LDN (low dose Naltrexone) and I feel better than when I was on the pain meds. It wouldn't have been possible.

The other major difference is I am now able to walk often with a fraction of the pain, and occasionally go dancing. That wasn't possible before. I can also go up and down stairs without pain.

I highly recommend Prolotherapy for chronic back pain, neck pain, migraines, headaches, and Fibromyalgia.

Esoterical Angel
cweinbl responded:
There is a dearth of control-group, double-blind research on Prolotherapy. I'm happy for Esoteric Angel's miraculous recovery, but that is nothing more than anecdotal information. It is commonly understood that 80% of all individuals will experience at least one episode of severe back pain. Virtually all of them experience spontaneous recovery within a month. Of course, many of them give that credit to a chiropractor or unsupported procedures (like Prolotherapy). In scientific research we believe. All else is conjecture or anecdote.

Until we have some sound well-controlled research, Prolotherapy remains somewhere between snake oil and sound medical practice. But, here is why I am concerned about it. I have had four spine surgeries. I was evaluated by two spine surgery fellowship programs. I've seen some of the finest Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons in the nation. NONE of them had a kind word to say about Prolotherapy. Remember, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon has up to 6 additional years of training AFTER a residency). If fellowship-trained spine surgeons do not believe in Prolotherapy, then it is not a viable option.

Of course, we could ask our resident angel for some sound Prolotherapy research. Perhaps she can open our minds.
freedom1960 responded:
WOW! I was thinking this has to be a great breakthrough, till you chimed in Charles. LOL

I've never heard of the procedure and I guess there's the reason why, huh Charles? I'm with you on the strictly science thing. I have to be. They've tried to sell me way too much snake oil in the past and if my doctors don't mention it, I ain't-a-doin' it!

Darn! I thought I found something new. Oh well. My back has actually been somewhat bearable lately.

future40 responded:
Charles...thanks for your input. It appears like you have quite a history. I had a two level posterior instrumented fusion at the early age of 29. That was ofcourse, after exhausting a 3 year trial of conservative therapy. I swore to myself that I would only undergo back surgery one time and one time only. I had a successful surgery and was 100% pain free for about seven years. In 2006 I moved from my apt to a house and thought i was "super woman". Thought I had a mere muscle strain ..but here I am 3 years later with chronic back pain again. My Mri showed that the disc above the fusion site is of good height and good hydration. Si joints unremarkable. But doctors are telling me soft tissue/ligamentous in nature. I was wondering what negative comments your neuros/orthos had to say regarding Prolotherapy. The research I have seen thus far are only on knees and it appears promising for this body part. I, myself am a health care professional and am very skeptical at this point. If you dont mind me asking...with all that you have been through what are your levels of pain and functioning? Have you found anything in particular that keeps your symptoms tolerable? I have been looking at spinal cord stim, radiofrequency ablation of nerves and ofcourse, prolotherapy which is the least invasive of them all. I refuse to take any medication except herbs and vitamins. Perhaps you can shed some light because of your extensive history. Thanks
cweinbl responded:
Hi "future." Yes, I have had quite a history. My internist told me years ago that he has never seen a person with as much spine damage as I have.

My spine surgeons did not explain in detail why they don't support Prolotherapy. The Internet is rife with complaints about it. Until we see some decent research, it will remain nothing more than a hot topic.

Why won't you take medication? Fentanyl Transdermal (Duragesic) was a godsend for me. Fentanyl allowed me to work 9 years longer than I thought possible, during which time my career blossomed. Prescription medication saved my career and it literally saves lives every day. If you had cancer, heart disease or diabetes, would you expect herbs and supplements to help?

Spinal cord stimulators, intrathecal infusion pumps and spinal nerve root rhyzotomy (radio frequency ablation) should never be taken lightly. These are methods with relatively low success rates and that entail some morbidity. The success rate for the stimulator and the pump is about 60% for patients with prior spine surgery. Moreover, when it fails, more surgery is required to remove it. That being said, some people report limited success. I had a nerve root ablation that increased my pain. These treatments are really for those who obtain no benefit from appropriate medications, or cannot tolerate the side effects. They are last resort options, like surgery.
gailb54 responded:
Future40, I have to say 'Amen' to what Charles noted regarding your refusal to take medications yet considering surgical (and quite serious in my opinion) options of a spinal cord stimulator, radiofrequency ablation of nerves and prolotherapy. I have researched the first two of those options which have been suggested to me and at this time am not willing to have them. I, unlike you, DO take medication, and I thank God in heaven that it is available to me. Like many of us on this site I do not believe I would still be alive if not for medication which at least helps me handle the pain. When someone comes to this site making the point to all that they are not willing to take medication which could obviously help ease their pain I can only deduct that (1) their pain is not really that bad, (2) they like pain, or (3) they are insane. I cannot imagine that someone in severe pain would refuse to take medication that would bring them relief.

Are there any nurses or "health care professionals" on this site who can answer this question for me as I am not in that field and never have been- Have you ever seen someone in severe pain, whether post-op or emergency med (not childbirth) who have refused medication for their pain? I am just curious. I can't imagine that someone would. I really am asking. If the answer is no, then I can only logically conclude that anyone who comes here proudly asserting that they refuse to take pain medication must not be in that much pain.

Take care, gail
annette030 responded:
I looked for evidence based research on prolotherapy a couple of years ago and found none. I won't try anything without sound double blind therapy to back it up.

Take care, Annette
future40 responded:
Hello Gail... I am so happy when I hear someone's pain is relieved, regardless of what the method of treatment is. I certainly don't know your circumstances and/or pain levels so please do not presume to know mine. I am new to this site and did not realize that it was a prerequisite to be on pain medication in order to join in on the conversation. I was not "proudly asserting" that I do not take pain medication. You believe strongly that you found something that works for you and I am on that same path of discovery like everyone else suffering from chronic pain. Your reference to post op pain and trauma pain is quite senseless being that this type of pain is usually normal, expected and self -limited in nature (also referred to as ACUTE pain). Ofcourse, pain medication is warranted in these circumstances. Chronic pain is pain lasting more than six months and in many instances the original injury is healed but pain is ongoing. I don't like this definition either..but it is what it is. I have a very high pain tolerance (not proudly asserting this) ... that does not mean someone likes to be in pain on a daily basis. If God blesses me and I stumble upon a more natural alternative to heal both body and mind ..I am definitely will share it . But thats not to say its for everyone. All of us with chronic pain have the ultimate goal of finding a treatment and/or medication that help us cope with our pain . I believe this site was designed to share information and not be judgemental of others. Not too long ago I heard a story of a young gentleman in his late twentys who had a diagnosis of RSD of his lower extremity (leg). From what I heard, as a professional caregiver....this is one of the worst pain conditions to have. Anyway...He no longer had pain relief from his medications and was seeking a permanent solution. He traveled to Germany for a very controversial treatment. He was induced into a coma for five days. The theory was after being in a coma for five days...he would have a "resetting" of pain pathways. Sorta like when your computer is malfunctioning and you "reboot" and all is well again. On the fifth day when he was extubated he reported being 100% pain free and remains so. I agree that this is an extreme measure and the risks are endless including short/long term memory loss, brain damage or even death. But we cannot judge this guy, we can only appreciate his experience. After all, chronic pain is now considered a disease in itself. It wreaks havoc on all of your body systems. We are a breed that noone else understands and we need to stick together and be on the same team. Wouldn't you agree? Once again, I am glad that you found something that works for you. God Bless

Future 40
annette030 responded:
I totally understand what you are saying. It is hard to imagine someone refusing pain meds if they are truly in pain. However, I have not only met such people, I used to be one.

Some people are misinformed about addiction and are so afraid of becoming addicted, they simply will not use opiates.

Some elderly people have grown up in an era where they believed that pain was part of growing older, and assume it is just part of life.

Some of us are just plain stubborn, lol. This would include me and my husband. I used to work 12 hour shifts in the ER and cry all the way home in the car because my legs hurt so bad, then wash my face and try to sleep. I would not cry in front of my husband or child. I would occasionally take a vicodin on my days off, but hated myself for giving in. When I finally could no longer work, my best RN friend at work told me that she hoped I would now start taking pain meds the way I taught my patients to. I always told my patients to take their meds before the pain got bad, not to "chase the pain". But I never did it myself, until after I stopped working. Now, I do take them properly.

My husband had AVN of the hip for a couple of years, undiagnosed at the time. He was not only walking, albeit with a cane, he was still working full time as a big truck mechanic. He took nothing but ibuprofen. He would holler out in pain when he turned over in bed, waking me up. I finally insisted his doctor xray and evaluate his hip. The xrays showed the ball of his femur (thigh bone) was completely collapsed. The doctor said he had never seen anyone who could even walk on a hip like that. My husband described his pain as a 2 on the 0-10 scale when the doctor explained it to him. I had to explain my husband's Zen attitude about pain to the doctor, he felt if he admitted it was a 9-10 then he would have to really feel it that way. But, as long as he could minimize it verbally, it didn't feel as bad. My hubby went onto endocet and later to methadone and endocet until he had surgery to fix the hip. Then he tapered off without any withdrawal symptoms.

Whether or not to take pain meds is a very personal decision. I respect anyone's decision as long as they have all the information to make an informed one. For me, heck yes, I am going to take pain meds, but if someone else doesn't want to, that is their decision. I will try and find them other options and information.

For me, it is frustrating when someone refuses to try anything and just complains all the time. I try and ignore those posts. But, refusing to try opiates does not get the same kind of rise out of me.

Take care, Annette
JesseJames0811 responded:
Hi, I am really happy to hear about your success in this treatment. If it works for you then you are blessed with a gift through PROLOTHERAPY. I was going to a physiotherapist at one point for chronic back pain and he was involved in getting individuals to go for this treatment with a doctor friend of his. I had no knowledge of this treatment, but was informed that it was very good. However, my GP had heard about this but seemed to be against it. I was at a point I didn't care if they amputated my trunk above the pain area and send my lower body walking to the other side of the country to distance me from the pain. I was connected to a lady that had these treatments done, about 3 hours away from where I live. She was informing me how much it really helped her out over the past couple years, previous to my connection with her. As our communication continued on, she was making statements about all the pain she was still going through. I started to get curious and suspicious of this treatment, because of her highly recommendations of this treatment, her pain was still no better after 21/2 years of this treatment she has had. I started to ask questions that were of the nature to get deeper into the research with this lady. Consequently, she started to cut me off of any form of discussion with her, and when this happened I felt they were hiding something, or it wasn't all it was hyped up to be by this therapist, and this connection. I became suspect of this after she was stating she walks into this clinic like it was her home, and I started to think that maybe she worked there and wasn't someone other than to reel pain victims in to this treatment for financial gain or something. However, I didn't go through with it as it was quite expensive, plus the cost of hotel rooms I would of had to endure. After each injection, I was informed that I had to take physio more frequently as it was to work in conjunction with each other. Being on a fixed income I couldn't afford all this, and without any sound positive recommendations for this treatment ,other than those connected to this doctor who done it, I refused to go through with it. The reasons I refused to procede in this, in summary, was the lack of information of it's success, the financial burden, and how they were pushing this to quickly in my way of thinking. I also found that the physiotherapist was trying to be to forceful with it, and he stated that he could get me into this doctor quite quickly since they had a close relationship, but anyone else would have to wait a while since this doctor was so busy. This was the first time I ever experienced this speedy service in the medical field regardless of who was involved in setting up appointments with a specialist. I spoke to others to get their opinions about the whole thing, and including my doctor and friends they all had the same suspicions about this treatment. I listened to them, and since this time I have spoken to others who had it and they wished they never did. So anyone thinking about this, please seek out information on it, get the statistical results of it's effectiveness, and really do the research before deciding to pursue this. Your health is too important to put it at any further risk of further pain. I am in so much pain that I would jump at anything, but I thank God this was one thing I didn't follow through with.
cweinbl responded:
More than 90% of all people with back pain experience a spontaneous remission. The fact that they attribute this wonderful remission to whatever treatment they were having at that time is an attribute of wishful thinking, not sound scientific analysis. A woman whose back pain would have gone away on its own over time attributes this as efficacy of Prolotherapy. Had she been using accupuncture at the time of spontaneous remission, she would no doubt attribute the cure to accupuncture.

Nothing is more important than your health. Many treatments for chronic pain are not well researched. Prolotherapy fall into that category. Many treatment options are not FDA approved. Injections might seem to have no morbidity. But, that is not always true.

Caveat Emptor!
_swank_ responded:
"If God blesses me and I stumble upon a more natural alternative to heal both body and mind ..I am definitely will share it "

God has blessed us with natural ways to treat pain in the from of opium, marijuana and a various assortment of other things. He also blessed us with chemists and scientists who have found ways to make these synthetically so it is easier for us to have them. If you believe God created all things for a purpose then you must believe he put these things here so we could have relief from physical pain. I'm certain he did not mean for us to suffer needlessly.

I used to avoid taking opiates as well but once I became educated about their use I concluded that my fears were unfounded. After all, I had no problem taking meds for other chronic conditions. I'm glad I smartened up as now I can lead a relatively normal life. Certainly not pain free but at least tolerable.
crazytexan01 responded:
Hello future40, i have to agree with charles and everyone else on the medication deal. either your pain isn't severe or you are one tough cookie. I refused to take narcotic meds for years. I went through knee surgery with only the pain meds they gave me while in recovery room, i only took tylenol the entire time i was going thru physical therapy and rehab for my knee. i have broken many bones in my life, from collar bones to hands ribs, you name it i probably broke it as a child.never took anything for pain, just toughed it out. had a near fatal car accident, well it did kill the man in the back seat of my car, spent two weeks in the hospital only took tylenol. but the last time i hurt my back all the toughness went out the window and i begged for pain meds, that was ten years ago. i've been through every kind of therapy imaginable with no relief. Now i am considering disc replacement surgery as i will not have a fusion due to the low success rates. But even with a successful surgery i will still be dependant on pain meds due to djd ddd and several other things that they have yet to find a way to fix. My point is that if your pain is bad enough there is nothing wrong with taking a medication that is fda approved for pain relief as long as it is taken correctly and not abused. either way you go i wish you the best of luck..................
tchrist57 responded:
I honestly have not heard of Prolotherapy. I have suffered from Chronic pain for almost 20 yrs. I have had 10 back surgeries, numerous procedures and injections and also suffer from fibromyalgia. My pain management team has tried it all, but has never mentioned this as something we could do. They are pushing Prialt at me right now, which is venom from a snail......I don't think I like the sound of it, although they say they have had great success with other patients. I do have an appt. this afternoon and am going to ask my Dr. about this and see what she has to say. I am currently on oral medication, 3 different types and have an implanted pain pump. I still have pain that is debilitating, most days no less than a 7, with the past 3-4 weeks hovering around a 9. There is no specific reason for it to have gotten worse, it just has. No matter what anyone else has to say, the decision is yours. What works for one doesn't work for another. That is evident in all the different answers that you have gotten. I would hate to see you miss out on "the miracle" that is going to make your life better. Then again, it is so hard to get your hopes up and get let down again. I wish for you only the best.......good luck

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