Note: This is my my most widely read post on this blog so I want to thank y'all for your interest in the subject. The Achilles was cured within 1 treatment. The groin and hip required several visits because it was long standing low-grade pain but today I declare that to be cured as well. 3 weeks after the initial treatment, I finished the Georgia half marathon in 1:38. As of 2012, my PR is 1:28. I strongly endorse this treatment. My only caution is that hormonal or mineral imbalances may impede the healing process so I encourage testing prior to treatment
Disclaimer: A good doctor can be a great benefit or even a life saver and the prolotherapist that I am seeing is an MD and I trust him.
I posted a message on the subject on RWOL and predictably, it was met with skepticism or no response at all. One person said that it would do as much good as sticking a dry needle into the area. Another said that it is controversial and should only be used as a last resort. I'm sick of all the naysayers and people who are so close-minded regarding any form of alternative medicine.
I once posted a message about neurotransmitter testing to someone who was struggling with depression. Someone with a normal serotonin but low dopamine would not do well on a selective serotonin drug. Another poster replied that what I posted makes no sense. Okay, I suppose that giving a powerful drug to a vulnerable patient without regard his/her brain chemistry makes more sense. Are you kidding me? My friend Noel told me that a mainstream doctor suggested that he take a drug that is intended to boost noradrenaline even though a medical report showed that the level was already too high. He replied:"You guys don't know what you're doing." I'm sure that they really appreciated that. My friend Chase brought his tissue mineral analysis into a doctor's office and was greeted with laughter. Even if you don't agree with that treatment or feel that it is a waste, that type of disrespect really makes my blood boil. It is not only rude and condescending but extremely unprofessional.
As for my decision to go ahead with prolotherapy, I had not exhausted all of my other options with my Achilles. I had seen a podiatrist, who wasted my time and would not listen when I told him repeatedly that his orthotics made the pain worse. I had not tried running with heel seats and had only taken 2 1/2 weeks off before attempting to run again. Shutting it down for another 3-4 weeks may have done the trick but if I could speed the healing and end up less vulnerable to re-injury, I would do it.
As for the groin/hip, I had been to a mainstream doctor who brushed it off as not a big deal. I had taken NSAIDs, amino acids and OTC anti-inflammatories such as boswellian root extract and none were completely effective. Then a medical report showed that inflammation was not a problem for me. So why the heck was it still painful and what else could I do about it? Getting the thyroid/adrenals in balance may help but that's been a difficult battle. Again, the pain was usually mild and could be ignored on the run. Sometimes, it would actually feel better after I got warmed up. However, it was also annoying. Whenever I stretched it, I heard a loud pop or cracking sound and sometimes I would get a brief stabbing pain when I sneezed. Obviously, I wanted to be free from this pain. It probably would never require surgery but could inhibit my running down the road and could progress from merely an annoyance to a lifetime of mild to moderate pain. I could not think of a better option than prolotherapy.
Are there risks involved? No medical procedure is 100% percent guaranteed to be without complications but from what I've read, prolotherapy is among the safest treatments. There is a small risk of hitting a nerve or causing an infection but that happens in about 1 out of 1000 cases and permanent damage is extremely rare. NSAIDs and most other prescriptions have a much higher reported incidence of side effects. If you go to a highly skilled prolotherapist as I did, the risk is almost nill. There were no prolotherapists listed in Alabama but even if there were, I would gladly travel 3 hours to see the best in the field. I've said before that it's over 80% effective but the solution that was used in my case is close to 90% effective and consider that most patients choose prolotherapy only after conservative treatments and even physical therapy has failed. That number would be higher if mild cases were treated.
How am I doing 2 days later?
Pretty good right now. I was limping pretty badly immediately after getting the shots in the groin area but that pain faded within hours. The popping has not stopped but the tissues already feel smoother upon examination and the area seems to be a little stronger overall. More treatments can only mean more improvement. The Achilles felt fine after the shot but the inflammation kicked in and peaked about 12 hours later. I was a bit concerned about that at first but should not have been. Some soreness can persist for up to 5 days. A lack of a strong inflammatory reaction could mean that the body is not able to heal itself. I was limping around the office yesterday but am walking normally now. Tissues that were soft have hardened and thickened nicely. I did some stretching and the injured leg in some ways felt better than the non-injured one. I should not need any more shots in the Achilles. I feel tempted to test it out but will wait as planned until March 6. The first few workouts will be very easy so it will be 4 full weeks since my last semi-quality workout and 7 weeks since the initial injury.
Unfortunately, most insurance plans do not cover this treatment but it is my hope that as it gains popularity, that will change. I read that NFL star Hines Ward had prolotherapy and was very pleased with the result. This blog is just one small attempt to spread the word and I am aware of others with the same purpose. If multiple sessions are required, the cost could be in excess of $1000. It's really a shame that money is preventing some from being free from chronic pain. Fortunately, I am in okay financial shape and my parents would step in if need be and I am grateful. I have offered to help people financially that cannot afford medical treatment and would do it again if the situation presented itself.