If you're one of the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic back pain, you may have tried everything from prescription narcotics to chiropractic therapy to try to get some relief. But the sheer number of nerves and moving parts in the shoulders, spine, and pelvis can make it difficult to find a permanent solution to your pain. Enter prolotherapy, a fairly recent development in the treatment and management of chronic joint and musculoskeletal pain. Learn more about this treatment to determine whether it's a viable option for you.
What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a minimally-invasive treatment in which a physician will repeatedly inject a glucose or dextrose solution into the affected area (joint, tendon, or ligament). This sterile solution, while essentially harmless, acts as an irritant and may prompt the joint to produce more connective tissue and strengthen the existing tissue. Over time, the proliferation of connective tissue may reduce pain and increase stability.
Prolotherapy treatment isn't a "quick fix," and requires the patient to undergo a series of shots in several sessions, usually spread out over a few months. Once the patient reports pain relief in consultation with their doctor or orthopedist, they may elect to end the prolotherapy process altogether or return for follow-up injections on a more intermittent basis.
Because it's a relatively new procedure, prolotherapy hasn't been extensively studied, and some doctors are still reluctant to recommend it because of the dearth of long-term studies on its effectiveness. But many satisfied prolotherapy patients point to this procedure as a path to relief from chronic pain that couldn't be realized through more traditional methods like painkillers or even spinal surgery.
Who Can Be Helped By Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is often used in conjunction with chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or other treatments in which the spine is physically moved or manipulated. Your doctor can determine whether prolotherapy is a good option for you and, if so, whether you should seek it in combination with other treatments.
But prolotherapy may not be right for everyone. If you have a chronic or autoimmune condition like lupus, Type I diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, introducing a foreign substance into the body could aggravate your immune system and actually increase your lower back pain. Additionally, if your back pain is due to a structural issue (like a slipped or ruptured disc), it may be more beneficial to seek surgical repair of this issue before further procedures are explored.
But if you're a good candidate for prolotherapy, you may find it a worthwhile avenue to pursue. Unlike other treatments, which can require major recuperation time, prolotherapy can be performed on an outpatient basis, is relatively painless, and allows patients to resume their ordinary activities quickly. Contact a company like Natural Terrain Natropathic Clinic in order to learn more.