Thursday, February 18, 2010

2 days after prolotherapy

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
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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.
Soapbox:
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.

18 comments:

Dave said...

Hi I just came across this while searching for info on Prolo. Thanks for letting us see a personal account of how it's going. I to have chronic pain problems (pain down arm) and have been trying prolotherapy with a highly qualified doc (had tried several family doctors and 2 physiotherapists before that). So far so good. It's only early days in what seems to be a complex problem but I am already seeing good improvement over the past few weeks.

Keep us updated.

Cheers
Dave

carol said...

I live in Huntsville and have been going to a Dr. in Clarksville, TN for Prolotherapy with much success. I am wondering if you went to the same guy, or if you went to Prolotherapy Nashville.

Crazy J said...

Hey Carol. Glad you've had success with prolo. I see Dr. Johnson from Prolotherapy Nashville. As I've posted in a more recent entry, it's like magic for an acute injury but longstanding pain requires several treatments, preferably about a month apart.

cookspencer said...

I'm recovering SLOWLY from hip subluxation (partial dislocation for about 3 months). My chiropractor has the hip in place but after being on bedrest for 12 weeks the ligaments and tendons still have not completely healed and I'm beginning to think they won't. Does anyone know if this therapy would help in my situation??

Crazy J said...


Cook,
Thanks for the comment. Prolotherapy works by healing damaged tendons and ligaments. Sounds like your case is severe so you may require many treatments. I recommend looking at www.getprolo.com and talk to a doctor in your area. Good luck.

Ev said...

My husband has his first prolotherapy treatment for a bad back and was in pain from the shots for a few days and then now in the third week has had horrible pain. I knew that the pain was suppose to be bad the first week but thought that by week three it would be better. He was suppose to have three treatments but it has been so painful, he doesn't want to do it again. Any thoughts?

Crazy J said...

Ev,
Sorry to hear about that. I've never had post-prolo pain that lasted more than 5 days. Talk to your doctor before your next appointment.

TMB Matisse said...

I'm six months into prolotherapy for hip joint laxity (old water skiing injury), a labral tear, and associated muscle imbalances from years of compensating as well as from sitting way too much. I am also about 100 pounds overweight...not helpful! I still experience pain, but it is different from the pain I started with. I see definite improvements. Two months in, my hip began staying aligned between PT sessions. Four months in, I was able to walk up stairs without leg-buckling pain from the tear. I would likely be further along, but I had to learn the hard way that the stretching and strengthening exercises are critical to progress. I also had to learn the importance of staying hydrated and eating nutritious food. Given that shortly before I discovered prolotherapy an orthopedic doctor told me there was nothing to do but to take NSID's to manage the pain and to plan on having a total hip replacement whenever the pain became too much, I am happy I stumbled across this alternative.

Life Out Loud said...

Did you have any arthritis? I have an arthritic thumb joint and am hoping that this will be an answer vs surgery.

Ling said...

Anybody knows reputable prolotherapy practioners in Atlanta Georgia area? Since relocating, my hubby has seen struggling to find a good practioners. My hubby is a strong believer in prolotherapy unfortunately he has no luck so far! We have searching all over the Internet.....
Please help!

Crazy J said...

Ling,
Try Dr. Shuman in the Marietta area. Not sure if he's still practicing because it's been 5 years since I saw him because Dr. Johnson was booked. Check out this link:
http://www.getprolo.com/

Ling said...

To Crazy J
Thank you so much for your quick response. Yes, I went to that site. My husband tried Dr Shuman, and other 2 doctors, unfortunately it didn't work out. My husband has been receiving treatments before relocating, and his pain has been improving. But he cannot get the same results with the doctors here. It looks like Georgia is not a place for prolotherapy. :(

Melanie0941 said...

I had my own platelets injected into my achilles just last year. The achilles would never seem to heal after many months of traditional treatments. The injection was SOOOOO VERY PAINFUL!!! However, it worked... It slowly resolved and I currently have no issues with it anymore. I didn't know it was even called prolotherapy until just now. Ha. I now have a wrist injury ... TFCC injury... involving a torn cartilage. I wonder if prolotherapy would work for this issue too? If so, do you know any hand specialists in Alabama (Birmingham area) that provide such services for people with TFCC wrist injuries?

Crazy J said...

Melanie,
I see Dr. Mark Johnson in Nashville and believe that he is the best in the South. I'm perfectly willing to travel 3 hours. I think it's a good bet that prolo can fix your hand issues. Just curious, what part of Birmingham are you from? I'm in the Hoover/Vestavia area.

David Parnell said...

There is another specialist in Knoxville, TN named Mike Carlson who is an exceptional practitioner. Dr. Carlson's father was on the leading edge of this treatment modality years ago. I have personally been treated by both Dr. Johnson and Dr. Carlson. However, I have trained with Dr. Carlson (under Dr. Ravin in Denver, CO - widely believed to be one of the best prolotherapists in the country - and Dr. Carlson's father taught Dr. Ravin), and know his level of expertise, willingness to fully engage with his patients, and his desire to produce positive results. I had good results from both Dr. Johnson and Dr. Carlson, but for many reasons (proximity being one of them) I will continue to see Dr. Carlson.

Best wishes to all being treated!



Unknown said...

Old thread, found it searching for help for wrists and elbows via prolothearpy in Atlanta area or Georgia at all. LING, did you ever find good Georgia help? Emory has a couple sports med docs that now do prolo and PRP, not sure how their success compares with the guy in Nashville. LifeOutLoud did you find thumb help? or Melanie0941, did you find wrist help in Birmingham? Thanks for any leads or feedback.

Unknown said...
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Marilyn Chiaramonte said...

I've had tremendous success with prolo many years ago in New York, It was expensive ($190 per shot; I needed 10, so my out of pocket was $1900), but it completely eliminated the need for rotator cuff surgery and subsequent physical therapy. So when my husband's shoulder started bothering him after two bad falls on it, I suggested prolotherapy. We were in Tucson, AZ at the time and it was shortly before we were to leave to come back to Birmingham, but we sought out a doctor there and went for two treatments. My husband was sore for three or four days after the shots, but then felt much better. Now we are back in Birmingham looking for a prolotherapist here. My husband's shoulder is not completely healed yet, but he has much better range of motion and is relatively pain free in certain positions.
We have come across Dr. Eric Beck and were wondering if anyone has gone to him or knows anything about him. Would rather not have to go to Tennessee, but will if necessary. All I can add is that prolotherapy is a fantastic alternative treatment for certain problems, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Ironically, we paid only $150 for the initial (2 hour) visit and $98 for the subsequent visit in Tucson. I guess NY must really be in another category in terms of fees!