It is now Monday making it four full days since receiving neuro-prolotherapy injections to relieve sciatica in both legs and nerve pain going down the front of both legs as well. By Thursday afternoon most of the nerve pain had subsided and now that intense pain that incapacitated me from Sunday through Thursday morning, I am pleased to say, is but an awful memory.
I had been scheduled for injections in my lower back as i continue to have sensitivity in the lumbar area of the lower spine. Deep injections help to heal the ligament damage at the core of this type of pain, but I needed to postpone those injections last week due to the sciatica. I have had excellent success with Neuro-prolotherapy, or prolo injections just below the surface of the skin into the nerves, for relieving both nerve pain and whiplash. Today we were completing the treatments that I had been getting to my spine for several months.
As usual, the doctor starts by identifying the areas for treatment. He does so by pressing on different points and when I tell him it hurts, he marks the spot for an injection. He presses along all spots on either side of my lower spine into my buttocks. Today the pain is limited to an area of three or so vertebrae and spreads out on either side. All told he will do close to 15-20 shots.
After marking the area, the prolotherapy doctor cleans the area with an antiseptic and then injects the entire area with many shots of lidocain, to numb it. The needles are tiny at this point and the injections while unpleasant are not painful. In 5 minutes the area is numb and the Dr returns to begin the deep prolo shots. The needles are long and not small, as they must be placed all the way in against the bone where the ligament attaches to the bone.
As he injects one spot on my left side, a muscle in my lower right back spasms, but it is mercifully brief. Otherwise the injections are not too painful. While I can feel the needle penetrating, it is most often feeling the liquid being injected that causes discomfort. My doctor moves quickly and completes the shots within about 10 minutes. Other than feeling like a pin cushion, my back does not feel bad and a single vicodin in the evening will alleviate additional pain.
It is late on Saturday night and it has been two and half days since my nuero-prolotherapy injections to alleviate my intense sciatica and nerve pain in my legs. I’m pleased to say that the pain has not returned at anywhere near the levels I was experiencing it before. neither the sciatica nor the nerve pain down the front of my legs has returned intensely and the there has been no pain in the front of the legs at all. The sciatica has returned slightly necessitating taking Vicodin during the day, which eliminates the pain.
Overall, I could not be happier with the success of the prolotherapy treatment to alleviate the sciatica. It pain was intense and unmanageable before the prolotherapy and after it has been very manageable. As my doctor noted, I ahve a fairly high tolerance for pain, so for me to complain it must have been bad. It was. And now I am pleased t say it is not. Let us hope the success continues a few more days.
I woke up on Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. writhing in pain. It had been so long since I had nerve pain I had forgotten how painful it was. I didn’t even recognize it as sciatica at first. I didn’t have the usual spasm on my left or right side in the lower back which in the past had accompanied sciatic pain. Clearly this time something was triggering the nerve without triggering the spasms. Small comfort.
The good news was that the pain was equal on both sides. In fact, the pain started int he lower back and went down both the front and back of both legs. While that meant twice as much pain, it also meant that I was in balance. When I finally got to the doctor this morning, he confirmed that mechanically I wasn’t in bad shape. That of course didn’t help alleviate the pain.
With an important appointment in the afternoon, I told him I need something to alleviate the pain, that the vicodin just wasn’t doing it. He decided that neuro-prolotherapy was the answer. And it was.
Neuro prolo, unlike deep prolotherapy which uses long needles to inject “medicine” right at the bone, uses tiny needles to inject the medicine just below the skin. The “medicine” numbs the nerves which in time help calm the nerves deep below. It had worked on my whiplash months ago and I was looking forward to it working on my lower back and legs. And indeed it did.
The doctor injected my lower back, following the nerve pain right down into my buttocks and down my leg. The pain began to subside almost immediately and within 2 hours I was feeling fine. It is now 11 hours since the injections and the nerve pain is very slight. I’m looking forward to my first decent night sleep all week.
Neuro prolotherapy requires multiple treatments a week or so apart. But this time, it certainly solved my immediate problem. I’m hoping it lasts.
I haven’t posted for several weeks, but that does not mean I haven’t been getting injections. I feel like the bionic man in some ways, with the goal of rebuilding myself to be better than before. I have now had prolotherapy several times each in my lower back, both shoulders, upper back, and now the area that ties it all together, the neck.
Today was my first treatment on the neck, and it will be my last. It is not that it is more painful than the others, but the idea and execution of large needles going into that area is not just not pleasant, it strikes fear into me, and there are few things I fear. But recently I have come to way risks and benefits much more closely than I have in the past, and I am just not in enough pain to justify having that area treated again. The odds of a mistake are very low, but the consequences when poking around the neck just seem too high to justify even the tiny risk. That said, I did do it.
It has been less than an hour and I have not experienced any dizziness or vertigo which the doctor told me I might. This is good. The novacain is starting to wear off and I can feel where the needles went in. I’m sitting on the couch, not lying down, and am not uncomfortable.
The prolotherapy shots themselves where no different than in other areas. Some of them I felt the needle go in and others I felt the fluid being injected. Probably a dozen or fifteen shots in total to stabilize the area, and while the doctor always tells me to leave the dressing on for 2 days, I will take it off as I shower tomorrow.
One thing that I have found, especially from the shots in the lower back, is that the prolotherapy definitely stabilizes and tightens up an area. By tightens up, I don’t mean making it harder to stretch. Before prolo I would lie on my back,lift one leg and move it across my body touching my toe to the floor. That would often “crack” my back and I would feel better as the vertebrae moved back into alignment. Now that rarely happens as the vertebrae don’t move out of alignment and the area feels much better. I expect a similar effect with the prolotherapy on my neck.
Stay tuned. We shall see.
Yesterday afternoon I had another prolotherapy treatment. It was supposed to be a second treatment of Subcutaneous Prolotherapy (smaller needles, injections into the nerves rather than the ligaments) for my left shoulder and the left upper back. But last Friday i overdid the exercise again and my lower back went into spasm again. So, even though it has only been less than 3 weeks since the first lower back prolotherapy into the ligaments, we decided to treat the area again, but this time the nerves instead of the ligaments directly.
The subcutaneous injections hurt much less than the injections into the ligaments. The needles are much smaller and go much less deep. In fact, no lidacain is used to even numb the area. The needles are probably the same size s those that would be used to inject the lidacain. Still, injections into that sensitive an area are not without their pain.
But the great thing about injections into the nerves is that they take away virtually all the pain for a day or two. I went out last night, watched a baseball game and then had a picnic and my back felt better than it had all week. It wasn’t until tonight that the pain started to come back.
So the challenge of the subcutaneous prolotherapy is how long it lasts and how often it needs to be repeated. Right now, I’m leaning toward the ligament shots as being more effective, but have not yet had multiple treatments into the same area of either type of prolotherapy.
Stay tuned for more as my treatments progress.