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Prolotherapy tightness, sprain injury and joint jamming dysfunction

Pheidippides45PPheidippides45 Posts: 3
edited 11/13/2015 - 9:24 PM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi there, thanks for the time and advice your readers provide here it is very useful.

My running for fitness has unfortunately been curtailed for the past four months as I try to recover from a T6/7 thoracic sprain.

My condition is somewhat unusual. I had prolotherapy 20 years ago using Phenol that was unfortunately injected into a healthy T6/7. I spent the next year having cortisone shots to loosen it and although I'd had 5 into it and it was still too tight I walked away and dealt with the chronic pain for 20 years as I'd had enough of injections and wanted to get on with living.

After a while I was able to run freely for fitness but exercise types (e.g. no squash/racquet ball) were limited due to the tightness. I had chronic pain all the time and locking up particularly in the mornings but I could still work and get on with life.

Unfortunately through it being too tight I tore it in an accident 4 months ago despite having guarded it for 20 years to try to minimise the chances of this happening and now I've gone back to square one.

The doctor said that if I was ever in a car accident it would just slice through it and that's exactly what it did although it was just due to me slipping in the backyard in the wet.

For the sprain, I have had some cortisone into the lower part of the T6/7 facet joint 7 weeks ago and it gave me some reduction in tightness and increased movement but I will need to go back and expect to need more shots like the past, to hopefully loosen things. I have worked throughout the sprain but the tightness with a sitting job was tough before and is pretty depressing now that it's about 3 times tighter.

I have had an MRI (lying down - that I understand is not as good diagnostically as a standing up MRI) and an X -Ray. I have mild scoliosis (10%) which I put down to trying to twist away from the tightness for the past 20 years. Nothing else shows on the MRI or X -Ray.

I'm pretty sure I have picked up more scar tissue with the sprain. Feels like a high tension wire. My ribs on either side go out from time to time and T6/7 just stays jammed, it can't move or hyper-extend 100% without pain/dysfunction. Probably moves about 80% and then when muscle tone goes down at night it's even more tiring and dysfunctional. Before the injury even with the tightness, I could hyper-extend to get range of motion, but now it is just jammed.

I have secondary things in terms of frozen shoulder in the mornings, cramping in the joint overnight at times, difficulty breathing in at night and I eat as little as possible to give my ribs/lungs as much space to expand as possible, excessive thirst, and bowel difficulties. I'm not sleeping with a pillow as that seems to help and am using a firm mattress.

My excellent doctor who first helped me 20 years ago to get things functional again by loosening rather than tightening is still practising and is waiting to see whether the sprain will come right on its own. He feels the brain may be guarding the injured part by not allowing me full range of motion. I wish that was the case but I really cannot see this happening particularly as it was over-tight before the injury, but I'm no doctor.

I also had the Phenol in C6/7 and T3/4 and the doctor I see now, had to use the cortisone to loosen those, but they seem to be okay now. The tough thing was that as soon as one was loosened and had range of motion, the others that had been injected came on line I guess through the brain only allowing one pain source at once.

Prior to the sprain, I spent the 20 years trying to loosen the joint with gentle stretching and exercise, swimming etc. but no luck. The tightness would never get better.

Anyway, I wonder what the maximum time is generally for a sprain to improve for those who have complications with scar tissue ?

I also wonder whether anyone else has had this long-term over-tightness of a joint before after prolotherapy with Phenol?

Any thoughts much appreciated. Thanks for reading.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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  • Pheidippides45PPheidippides45 Posts: 3
    edited 01/12/2016 - 7:45 PM
    Hi there, just a follow up to my post above that may prove useful to someone else.
    I saw a rhuematologist and it looks like I've had AS (Ankylosing Spondilitis) for the last 20 years.
    This may have been related to the prolotherapy but there's no way to know.
    Anyway, good to know what I have and how to deal with it from now on although I have more pain unfortunately since the sprain as I've lost that extra bit of range of motion.
    Anyway, I hope this helps someone solve something similar further down the line.
    All the best.
  • Can I ask how they tested for Ankylosing Spondylitis? Is it a blood test?
    Were you referred to a rheumatologist by your GP?
    Kirsti x
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I sent you a message regarding Ankylosing-spondylitis
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi, my apologies to kirstij79 and dilauro - I haven't been looking at posts until now.

    Yes, for the AS diagnosis they did the HLB-A blood test which was positive and also when it was at its worst there was systemic inflammation & it seemed to tick enough of the rhuematologist's boxes.

    I asked my GP to refer me to a rhuematologist as researching things, it seemed consistent with what I was experiencing that until then was seen as just frustratingly mechanical. Before that I asked for tests for rheumatoid arthritis but they came back negative.

    Since then I've had another MRI & they think I have the non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis version of it as it's not showing on the MRI of my SI joints. Still painful though at night etc. but I'm a lot better than I was with the passage of time. Now aged 47 years.

    The interesting part that I would be interested in, is the use of Phenol as a sclerosant (for prolotherapy) and the possibility as to whether or not this may be related to the onset of AS? But no-one seems to know and Phenol isn't used anymore because there were side-effects for some people.

    Anyway, I hope my experience helps someone else with a diagnosis if they have had something similar happen to them.

    All the best to people.

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