Chronic back pain can be incredibly debilitating, to the point that it leaves you unable to work and enjoy the things you used to love. Depending on the cause of your back pain, there are numerous treatments to explore, from acupuncture to surgery. One that you should strongly consider and talk to your doctor about is prolotherapy. It's relatively new, but it's showing good promise as a remedy for back pain due to multiple causes. Here's a more in-depth look at the treatment and what it involves.
What is prolotherapy?
Despite its unclear name, prolotherapy is actually a simple procedure. Your doctor will inject a solution of dextrose — a sugar — into the muscle tissue in your back. This sugar solution will trigger your body's healing mechanisms. In healing the muscle from the injections, your body will also heal the injured tissues that are causing your back pain.
What conditions can prolotherapy be used to treat?
You might assume that prolotherapy can only be used to treat back pain related to muscle soreness and injuries, but actually, it's quite effective in treating back pain due to ligament, tendon, and disc injuries, too. Your doctor will still inject the muscle, and in stimulating blood flow and healing within the muscle, the sugar injections will also stimulate the same in the other injured tissue. This can be incredibly useful since tendons, ligaments, intervertebral disc, and other connective tissues tend to have low blood flow, and that is why they are typically so slow to heal. Increasing the blood flow via prolotherapy prompts them to heal a lot faster.
Does prolotherapy hurt?
It's not the most comfortable feeling, but it's not seriously painful, either. Most doctors will include some anesthetic — often lidocaine or novocaine — in the injections. This helps temporarily numb the area so you do not repeatedly feel the needle going in. Your back will be a little extra sore for a day or two after the treatment, but that soreness will soon fade.
How many treatments do you need?
This depends on the nature and severity of the injury that is leading to your back pain. Less serious, muscular conditions may resolve in just one treatment. More serious injuries, like herniated discs, may require 10 or more treatments. The treatments are usually spaced a weeks apart.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, talk to your doctor about prolotherapy. It's not necessarily for every patient, but it does help many, many people. Visit a back pain management facility to learn more about this and other treatments.