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Anyone ever heard of Prolotherapy?

Vicky ODonnellVVicky ODonnell Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Chronic Pain
I was recently recently was reseaching the web for ways to try and relieve the Chronic Pain I am in daily. It has gotten completely out of control.
I am now not able to function until about 11am ( takes me that long to get moving, waking up about 7:30-8:00am ). It is absolutely killing me. I am a business owner and mother of 4 children. I do not have the luxury of staying home and feel sorry for myself but the past 4 months, it has escalated to 24 hr a day/7 days a week pain.

Anyway, happen to come across this site by a doctor in Oak Park, Illinois that practices Prolotherapy. It looks rather interesting as well as painful at the same time but after reading his website and investigating further, it actually makes sense.

I am very anxious to find out if anyone on Spine-Health has ever had these procedures before? I am willing to try anything to get some relief. It is certainly not the way I intended my life to be. Along with 3 failed back surgeries, this has most definitely taken the cake.. This pain is by far the worst I have ever had. Anyone out there?

Thanks ahead of time!


  • Hi,

    I also considered prolotherapy and have discussed it with several doctors to make the decision. Ultimately, I chose not to have it based on what I found out, but maybe the info I've gathered will help you make a decision. I'm not a doctor, but I did do a fair amount of research on it and spoke to doctors on both sides, one that does the procedure and one that does not.

    1) Insurance most likely won't cover it. The shots range from $200-$800 or more depending on your location, doctor, etc... and you can expect to require multiple treatments. When I was looking at it I was told probably 8-12 sessions in all. It can take many months before you know whether it will work, so it's not a "quick fix" and you will likely have to go through the entire series of injections before you can say for sure whether it will work for you or not. This was a big thing for me because I did not want to spend another 3-6 months on a treatment that was so questionable because that would represent 6 months lost in trying to find an answer for this chronic pain.

    2) It is pretty painful and will cause an increase in your pain symptoms at first, followed by a decrease

    3) It is believed to be most effective when used at the beginning of an injury. I was told that as time goes on and the ligaments get more and more stretched your chances of success with the procedure decrease.

    If you search the forums you will find some older posts about it, and my impression was that while a few people had success, the majority did not seem to. I've searched and searched the medical literature and I never could find anything to convince me that it was a good idea, and both doctors that I spoke to said that the research just isn't there to support the use of prolotherapy. But, I'm with you and the theory of it seems to make sense. It's a tough call, but I would think it would definitely be worthwhile to consult with a physician in your area that does it just to see if he can give you a better picture of if prolotherapy is even appropriate for your condition and what the odds are for success.
  • I also looked into prolotherapy in 2006 before my first surgery, and then again in 2008 after my revision surgery.
    Lala is correct in saying that most insurance companies will not pay for it, because it is not a proven, effective treatment. It is considered experimental still. There are no studies that I was able to find that showed any great successes with it. I found lots of papers discussing it's ineffectiveness though. :(
    It's purported basis is injecting a sugar or similar based dilution into the muscles and ligaments, thus irritating them, to make them make scar tissue, which is in large part a problem for many of us already. It doesn't make sense to me to create more of the same stuff that already creates much pain for so many of us. :O
    I asked both surgeons that I saw that did my surgery, along with the others that I saw for consults and a few PM doctors and not one of them recommended it as a viable therapy. Most of them hadn't even heard of it, let alone felt it was worthwhile persuing.
    When the insurance companies won't cover it, there is usually a good reason behind it. I wish you success in finding something to reduce your pain levels but I would probably think twice about using this as one of the modalities that you use.
    Have you thought about accupuncture? I have read that some patients have gotten a good response from that and most insurance companies will pay for that.
  • I just wanted to mention that there is an informative book called "Prolo Your Back Pain Away" subtitled Curing Chronic Back Pain with Prolotherapy. It is, of course, written by a guy who does this therapy! His name is Ross Hauser, who is a MD of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

    It is actually an interesting book. It has lots of good illustrations that explain what the procedure does and goes into detail about when a patient needs to have surgery. He is one of those guys who became interested in his specialty through his own medical problems. And after his residency, he became interested in natural healing and natural medicine.

    This doctor's clinic is about one hundred miles from my house and I was seriously thinking of giving it a try, but so far, I am still letting my team of surgeons play trial and error games with me.

    This book is available on the online booksellers, if anyone is interested.

  • Most doctors do not recommend prolotherapy because it goes against the principles that their type of medicine is based on. And if it became popular, they would have far fewer people to operate on.

    Alternate medicine is beginning to get a foothold in the "real world" but still it is considered a stepchild. I have been using acupuncture for various ailments for about the last eight years and my insurance company does not cover the cost. I guess they might if the acupuncturist was also a MD and it was in a "medical" clinic, but they will not cover a single practioner that is not also an MD.
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