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Just got back from my first round of prolotherapy

LA_runner_chickLLA_runner_chick Posts: 91
edited 09/14/2014 - 5:10 AM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
Since I hear a lot of people talking about it, but not much more than, "It worked great!" or "Waste of money", I figured I'd share my experiences for others to read.

(I will preface this all by saying YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY, this is just what I've seen, read and experienced. Now back to the story)

Like a lot of you, I'm dealing with multiple issues -- DDD, spondy, stenosis -- but my SI joint issues are mechanical, in nature, so I figured I might be a good candidate for prolo -- if you read the literature, supposedly, prolotherapy doesn't just stop the pain, it tightens the ligaments that will keep the joint properly in place. I figured I'd give it a try -- a couple of chiros talked about it, in passing, and reading a cautiously enthusiastic report on it from the EDITED to remove link I figured what the hell, why not. Especially since one of their expert sources is here in Southern California (not sure if there are rules on posting names, I know the Powers That Be frown on giving out Dr. names, so PM me if you want it). Called maybe three weeks ago -- the dr. also works at an out-of-state facility, so I had to coordinate her schedule with my own. I had a pretty wide range of choices for appointment times and days.

One thing about prolo: since the idea is to irritate the tissue and ligaments to jump-start the healing process, you can't take Ibuprofin, certain NSAIDs, that kind of thing for about a week before your shot.

I went in, nice enough facility, there was a ream of paperwork to fill out, then I went to the exam room. Some of the equipment seemed a little rinky-dink compared to the what I'm used to (disposable thermometers, a plastic stick-on-your-finger pulsefinder), but what the hell.

Doctor seemed nice and mostly competent, though I had to repeat important details a few times. She looked at my X-rays, MRIs, and nerve conduction studies and told me that for looking at tissue and ligaments, ultrasound can be much more reliable. She scanned my back and my ankle, said some stuff that sounded reasonable -- she sounded more straightforward, less "used car salesman". The exam lasted about an hour, she made a general recommendation -- she thought that three rounds could produce a noticeable difference, did I want to go through with it?

And I'm like, Um, I drove through an hour of traffic, I've already been here for three hours, I'm already in for $450, go ahead and shoot me up.

They wheeled out the flouroscope machine or whatever it was so they could shoot me in the right places -- again, compared to my hospital's ultra-robotic, multi-bazillion dollar system, this thing looked like a toy stethoscope. They inserted it -- oww, oww OWW, but there was a nice nurse there, rubbing my ankle, tapping my leg to try and distract me, and then BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM, a series of maybe 8 or ten injections. No numbing agent of anything. I've got a pretty high pain threshold, but honestly, I was not expecting it, and it had been a rough day, and I started to cry. And then it was done and I drove home.

I am super sore at the injection sites. That residual soreness is at least three times as bad as getting a cortisone epidural.

Some people report results almost immediately. Some people also say the soreness lasts a few days, even a week. I'll post again on Monday, hopefully with good news.

Oh, and now the price: For a complete exam and the first area, the damage rang out to $800. All out of pocket. OUCH. Additional treatment will be $485 per session. By the time I'm done, I guess I will have spent almost $3K. But if you've really suffered with this debilitating pain for long enough, you know that $3,000 to permanently get rid of it is a bargain!

Talk to you guy later

Edited to remove link containing advertising for clinic. 
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  • I`m doing prolo also,

    the first doc gave me 4 injections to the hip,

    I got spondy with pain coming mainly from the hip,

    I didn`t get the inflamation reaction I knew i had to,

    so i switched docs,

    the second time the reaction was little bit better plus the doc injected my lower back after he saw the spondy issue,

    from what i have researched...in order for prolo to work....

    you need to be poked at least 20 to 30 times in the lower back for spondy,

    and the solution has to be strong to get a reaction,

    I got maybe 12 pokes altogether....

    lower back and both gluteos,

    I told the doc By e mail, that I didn`t feel i got the reaction necessary,

    he gave me a medical explanation and that was that,

    I plan on going until the money runs out,

    I pay 300 dollars a pop,

    I got about 1,500 in the bank,

    next time i`m gong to be more persistent on getting a good sore or inflamation....

    cause theoretically that is what makes it work,

    I`m combining it with my own spondy exercises at home,

    the exercise have kept me out of the deep pain area,

    for now,

    so i`m hoping that and the prolo will give me a fighting chance,

    will keep everyone posted on my progress,

    i`ll use this thread to keep things together,

    Live to Pray
  • I had NO IDEA they would give me that many pokes; I thought it was like when I get epidurals.
    Didn't expect that kind of pain. It was a shock to the system -- I held it together and got dressed, but when I went back to my car, I was bawling like a baby.
    For the next couple of days, I felt BAD. That area felt so sore and bruised, which I guess is a good indication that it's working. :/
    I go back for Round 2 on May 25. Curiously enough, I don't have pain from the spondy/DDD/stenosis -- the only symptom is some weakness.

    The pain I have comes from my SI joint, and mechanical issues. So I'm hoping the prolotherapy stabilizes the joint and relieves a lot of the pain.

    Yes, keep us posted on your progress.
  • I started with lumbar pain 12 years ago,

    through trial and error and reseacrh I finally landed on decompression,

    things started going well for my lumbar when i bought an inversion table,

    if i had pain in my lumabr area i would get on the table and it was gone instantly,

    but now my pain is in my left hip,

    and the inversion table doesn`t help it,

    but i pulled real hard one day (five yeasr ago) on my hip and felt something rip....

    three months ago the fluctuating pain in hip came back to stay....

    I use heat and deep massage to keep it at bay,

    but can not walk long distances without pain.

    Live to Pray
  • Hey guys, first off thanks for starting this post runner girl. I'm at a complete loss no and I just wanna break down but I can't. I have a job and a wife with two kids who depend on me. I've just finished my series of epidural injections with almost 15 physical therapy session under my belt and it hasn't helped at all. The pain is still there. I'm considering prolotherapy seriously as well as spinal decompression on a special table at my chiros office. Any suggestions b/w the two? Thank you.
    Herniation at L3, L4, L5. DDD, facet disease, foraminal narrowing and mis-aligned pelvis.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 05/12/2013 - 11:47 AM
    Have you found out exactally what they are injecting you with?? O2?? Ozone?? Free radicals?? Voodoo juice?? Placebo?? Other??

    Very curious and skeptical .... What kind/licensure did the provider have?? MD? DO?? DC?? Other??

    Two simple questions.

    With Concern and curiousity,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • It's actually a dextrose based injection, some use cod liver oil, but it's designed to cause an inflammation to trigger the body to send nutrients and blood to repair it. There are actually both MD's and DO's that perform this procedure, but it's important that they be specially trained in the therapy.
    Herniation at L3, L4, L5. DDD, facet disease, foraminal narrowing and mis-aligned pelvis.
  • Good news for me, bad news for anyone who was hoping to get some some hard and fast answers about prolotherapy:

    When I first started doing the prolotherapy for my SI joint pain last year, I was also managing a bunch of other back problems -- spondy, DDD, stenosis, pinched nerves. All of those problems kept getting worse and finally, I decided to have surgery. On November 29. I got a 360 degree fusion, from L4 - S1.

    It turns out that all the pain that I thought was coming from my right SI joint was really just disc pain, and the surgery totally took care of it. It felt like nothing short of a miracle to be free of that pain, after suffering for years.

    Even though the pain is gone, i am still having issues with a rotated pelvis. On one side, I am slightly "knock kneed" -- because the ilium is slipped forward, it causes a subtle rotation in my hip and knee. It doesn't really give me problems -- I'm back to walking and hiking and even doing the stairmaster and the elliptical at the gym. I definitely notice it when I try to ride a bike -- it feels a bit crooked, like if you try to screw something in that isn't threaded correctly, if that makes any sense. Ehh, so I will never ride in the Tour de France, but I seem to be able to partake in the rest of the things I enjoy.

    All this being said: after researching it exhaustively and talking to a lot of people who've done it, and medical professionals whose patients have tried it, I really do believe prolotherapy can help with SI joint problems.

    I know we're not allowed to recommend doctors on this site -- if you're in California and want a recommendation, PM me and I will be glad to pass along the info of the doc I went to. Agree with Brandon Ross -- make sure whoever you see is an MD or a DO, google the hell out of them. If they are a DO or MD, most likely they or their practice will have been reviewed on someplace like Vitals or Health Grades -- you may not be able to find out specific reviews for prolotherapy, but you can at least figure out if the doctor is a quack or not.

    If you still want help: The doc I went to is considered a pioneer in the field, writes tons of journal articles and even a few books. She has an excellent reputation as a DO and is really active in the prolo field. Hit me up, I can give you her info and I am sure she can refer you to a good prolo doc.

    My heart goes out to all you who are having pain. Hang in there, you never know what's around the corner!
  • Dont they mix it with a little lidocaine?. This sounds barbarcic and torturous.
  • summitgirlssummitgirl Posts: 1
    edited 06/22/2013 - 9:46 AM
    We're in Oregon and my daughter (20) has suffered from SI Joint Dysfunction for 3+ years. Debilitating. Tried, PT, pharmaceuticals (pain, steroids & anti inflammatories), Chiro, massage, SI-belts, acupuncture, Steroid injections, etc. Everything short of getting surgically fused (last resort). She is now on her sixth round of Prolo in 1.5 years and it is working! Not covered by insurance, we pay $150 per session which is crazy reasonable in my book. They give her lidocaine before to easy site injections. Doctor BL### is smart, experienced, to the point and a strong lecturer for PT to strengthen her core as her joints adjust to the tightening and affect other areas. The dextrose/irritant combo is working. Our story.
  • Sorry for the long post but having spent months looking on forums I always said I would tell people if I found anything that really helped. Well I did find something and never commented. Now I have injured myself again it reminded me to post.

    Like most people on here I have suffered with pain for years. I am 35 now and had a motorcycle accident at 29. SInce then I have found it very hard to function with life. My neck was injured and I had a range of symptoms from neck pain, vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus and other aches and pains. I went through my own doctor, PT's, chiropractors, pain specialists, neurologists and lots more. THe general idea was they could not see anything that was going to kill me so they had no real interest. I knew I could not go on and knew what feeling I had. I eventually found a you tube video for prolotherapy that described all my symptoms.

    I spent a bit of time deciding what to do but in the end I was at a particularly bad pain time so I went and took a loan for the treatment. One thing I found was that there is a number of methods for doing this but the one I had was Hackett Hemwall type. My neck obstacle was I am living in Ireland and you cant get it here. I had a choice to go to Europe or to the US. I decided to go to the US for 2 reasons. The first and main one is the doc I went to in Chicago does nothing only prolotherapy so he has to be experienced. They don't use ultrasound so if anyone is to be giving me injections into my neck they needed to know what they were doing. (Reason two was I love America :-) )

    I made 4 trips with 4 to 6 weeks between them. My first trip was in September 2013 and last was in January 2014. The treatment involved an examination on the first visit followed be treatment. They rub a cream on the area and drew blood as I also had PRP done on the neck joints. I then received +/- 10 syringes of injections which was around 70 - 90 injections all around my upper neck. To be fair the pain was not the issue. The sound was what got me and I had to stop them as I nearly fainted. I found what happened was I started holding my breath so I never had this issue after the first trip. I also played videos of my little girl on my phone during the treatment so I could not hear the needle going in.

    The stiffness after the first treatment was unreal. I would have to roll sideways to lift my head off of the bed. The next three treatments were a lot easier as I knew what to expect.

    To be honest I knew the treatment and healing continues for months after the last set of injections but as I only had four treatments and had a bad injury I did not feel fully cured. However it was not until 3 weeks ago that I realised how good it was. I reinjured my neck following another accident and when the pain returned I realised how well I had been doing.

    I am now trying to save so as I can have more treatment done. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone in pain. I have no tie to the doc I went to see but I would recommend them to anyone. I flew a round trip of nearly 12,000km to have this and will be going again soon.

    I am not sure if you are allowed mention docs names so you can PM me if you want to know who it was.

    I would recommend looking up a video on youtube called 'C1 and C2 Atlantoaxial Instability'. This clip mentioned most of my symptoms as well as others that other people may have. Today I am back on tramadol and struggling but looking forward to getting help again. I hope this helps someone.

    Eoin O' Connor. Ireland
  • LeejoLLeejo Posts: 1
    edited 01/08/2016 - 5:26 PM
    Hi, my name is Jo. I am 55 and began having SI issues when pregnant with my son 17 years ago. My SI started "jumping track" & my PT (who was treating me for face/neck/shoulder muscle pain related to TMJ) would manually adjust and pop it back "in place". My problem is that IT WON'T STAY THERE. By the time I get off the table it's out again. It causes other biomechanical issues (right side of pelvis rotates back and left rotates forward) . This causes a corkscrew effect up my spine literally to my right jaw and to top of my head. My muscles tighten so badly that I feel very "twisted" like everything is out of place. My PT stretches muscles all over my body and gets alignment back closer to where it should be. I cannot walk for exercise, lift more than 10 lbs, vacuum, mop, climb stairs and many more things. It feels like I was kicked in lower right back/glute area when SI goes out. PT says the SI or pelvic ligament expanded during pregnancy as it was supposed to but for some unknown reason it never went back. So now I have a very hypermobile SI and cannot find anyone who can tell me how to fix the problem. I did a PRP injection a month ago. It did nothing. Site was sore for 1 day then I didn't even know I had it. Was told if it was working that my pain would be worse. Paid $450 out of pocket. Not going back for another injection. Have had steroid injections before in SI joint. Helped pain for a month or two but not the overstretched ligament. I just want to find out if it can be fixed and get my life back. Been off work 7 months and can't get on my long-term disability insurance because pain is subjective and my PT is now semi-retired and won't do the stupid write up my doctor needs to explain medically what the problem is. I am desperate to get the ligament to tighten up and hold the pelvis/SI in bounds. If anyone has any suggestions, please share with me. I have done chiropractors, PT, accupuncture, and been prescribed every medicine imaginable. HELP PLEASE!!!!! Thx.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    edited 01/08/2016 - 11:56 PM
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    I'm curious what kind of doctor you are working with?
    Is it your primary that ordered PT? And did your primary do the injection? Or refer you to someone else?

    Your description of "corkscrew effect" is a visual that seems quite painful.

    I may have missed it, but have you had any testing done? MRI or other?

    My primary tried to work with my pain about two years before referring me to pain management.
    Best thing for me!
    PM Doctor did variety of testing..many I never even heard mentioned before...and he found several areas of my spine effected.
    Then he had a more proper plans for me with more effective treatments.

    Re your need for paper work from your semi retired PT.
    I would think someone has taken over and could just look up your records and your PT's notes and write a summary.
    I would think??

    Not sure where you live, but I'm in the States and we can use a Disability attorney, free of charge to us.
    He would be able to guide and help you to get all the paperwork needed...and whatever else needed for your Disability approval.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I have seen that Video from that clinic and they have a clinic near me and I am thinking about it
  • I've had severe S-I pain since September 1984. I had prolotherapy in 1995 , done by a Physiatrist at the University of Washington Pain Center. I had a great deal of pain during a and afterwards (of course I had horrible pain before). To get to the gist of it, no help what so ever. I've come to believe that it never works. Here I am, still with horrible S-Ib pain, Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, etc. Now, my new Pain doc is planning on taking me completely off all opiate meds (which I've been on since 12/96 and which finally gave me a functioning life) because apparently opiates don't help Fibromyalgia. I'm terrified.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,794
    edited 02/26/2016 - 7:55 PM

    Opiates don't help fibromyalgia ?  I am skeptical, if you have ever been on a fibromyalgia website their are many that swear its the only thing that helps.  Is it this doctors belief its the best treatment for it? Maybe not, but a general statement like that is usually wrong when dealing with human beings.  Could the doctor believe you developed a hypersensitivity due to long term use? Maybe we just don't know from the information given, but  I heard for years nerve pain is not helped with pain meds, well go to a neuropathic forum and read it and make your own decision that it does not help anyone.  While it may not be the best treatment first go round, for many it becomes what works.  Central pain which is a nervous system damage issue is often treated with morphine or high dose morphine, but of course its not the first step in treatment.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • dougie14ddougie14 Dallas txPosts: 2
    my PRP injection in my si joint was done by a doctor by himself with a ultra sound. i was so scared, but it ended up not being bad at all. actually felt better than a flu shot to me. I'm sorry you had a bad experience. lol mine didn't help much. the soreness actually felt great to me cause it wasn't pain. then my back started feeling good for about a week then back to normal.
  • Hi to anyone and everyone in this thread! I've read a lot of the posts, sorry to know so many people have suffered these same problems that I have! I'm wondering if anyone - particularly from waaay back at the start of the thread can update on their experience with prolotherapy?

    im really desperate, my (undiagnosed) sacroiliac pain and laxity is ruining my life, I need to move forward and prolo seems like the most beckoning option. There's so much controversy over it (or even over SI joint issues, for that matter) that I can't get to the bottom of what I need to do. Any help appreciated!

    best wishes to all  :)
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    Hello Bmack !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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