If you’re not familiar with prolotherapy, the idea that injecting anything other than a painkiller or steroid into the problematic area could work for pain relief might seem counterintuitive. But when you start to look at what is causing the pain, it all begins to make sense.
4” x 6” of Vulnerability
Let’s take back pain for example. Ninety-five percent of low back pain comes from a four-by-six inch area, where the sacrum, or base of the spine, meets the fifth and final lumbar vertebra and the ilia, or hipbones. This small area is quite vulnerable, since it supports the entire weight of the upper body.
The structures in this area are held in place by elastic bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Ligaments are like rubber bands. When they are strong and taut, they keep everything in proper alignment. But when they become weak and slack, the structures they support move out of proper position and put pressure on the discs (the pads of protective cartilage between the vertebrae) and nerves exiting the spinal cord. This results not only in pain in the lower back, but also, depending on which nerves are pinched, pain radiating into the buttocks or legs.
Loose ligaments can cause problems anywhere in the spine. When the ligaments supporting the vertebral segments weaken, all sorts of things start to go wrong. The muscles of the back tense up in an attempt to keep things in line, causing muscle spasms and pain.
Bony structures may also get involved in the effort to stabilize the vertebrae, and begin to thicken. (This is an often painful condition called spinal stenosis.) When discs are subjected to continuous pressure, they begin to degenerate, bulge, or rupture (herniate), which can cause even more pain.
Prolotherapy Strengthens Ligaments for Lasting Pain Relief
The obvious solution is to strengthen the weakened ligaments, and that is precisely what prolotherapy does. A slightly irritating solution (dextrose is the most common) along with a mild anesthetic is injected into the area where the ligaments attach to the bones. This causes the body to mount a healing response, and inflammatory chemicals and other growth factors begin repairing and reconstructing the affected area.
The end result is strong, tight new connective tissue that restores proper alignment. Pressure is removed from the nerves and discs, and pain relief soon follows. Because prolotherapy tackles the underlying cause of chronic pain, its effects are, in most cases, permanent.
Don’t Just Take My Word for It
I can tell you how well prolotherapy works for pain relief until I’m blue in the face, but hearing real-life stories from real-life patients is even more helpful. Here are two powerful prolotherapy testimonials.
No More Lower Back Pain
“I am 66 years old and have suffered with lower back problems most of my adult life. In September 2004, I spent four weeks flat on my back. After chiropractic care, I slowly recovered only to repeat the whole miserable business the following July. My self-confidence left me and I was afraid to move! I read an article about prolotherapy and, through the Internet, I located a doctor in my area who would perform the treatment. After six sessions, I was like a new person! I would advise anyone with low back problems to look into this. It worked for me!” — B.K.S.
Pain-Free…Without Drugs or Surgery
“After I learned about prolotherapy, I asked my orthopedic surgeon about it. He said it was ‘nuts’ and that we should continue with cortisone treatment or surgery, as both are well proven. On further review, I found the University of Wisconsin’s Osteopathic Medical School had done scientific tests showing very good success. I finally found an osteopath who was trained in prolotherapy, and after four treatments I am pain free and able to play tennis, golf, and ski again. Gone are the cortisone, back surgery, and pain. In fact, a couple of my friends who gave in to surgery say it was the dumbest thing they did. I should add that my insurance would not pay anything for the treatments that were so successful, but they paid 100 percent for the useless cortisone and 80 percent of the equally useless prospective back operation.” — T.C.
If you can’t find a physician in your area trained to administer prolotherapy, consider coming to see us at the Whitaker Wellness Institute. Call (800) 488-1500 for a free consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Patient Services Representatives to learn if you are a good candidate for this remarkable therapy.
Now it’s your turn: Would you consider prolotherapy for pain relief? Why or why not?