Shoulder Pain Treatment

This morning I was scheduled for the second treatment on both my left shoulder and left upper back, basically the top four ribs. Although some doctors say the average treatment is between 3 and 6 prolotherapy treatments a month apart, my doctor says he has never had to do more than 3 on any one area. Perhaps, he says, that other doctors have patients with more complicated injuries or perhaps he does more injections each time. He does not know, but I liked hearing it.

Today instead of the standard prolotherapy in which the injections are given into the ligament, right at the bone, we tried a new technique. This form of prolotherapy injects a weaker glucose solution into the nerves in the area. Nerves not only convey pain impulses, but also feed the muscles and ligaments. You can read more about the idea and philosophy behind treating the nerves in this article on Subcutaneous Prolotherapy.

So compared to standard prolotherapy the treatment was vastly less painful. Traditional prolotherapy uses large needles to inject the irritant into the ligament right at the bone. Even with the lidacain to numb the area, the injections themselves can be fairly painful. Definitely worth the pain, but painful nevertheless.

The subcutaneous prolotherapy uses short small needles to inject the nerves which are just under the skin. Also the idea is to take away the pain immediately. By injecting the nerves, he doctor is both numbing and curing the damaged areas. In fact the doctor would not let me leave until we identified any areas of pain and he ahd a chance to treat those areas again. when I left, I was without pain in the shoulder and upper left back, and I ahd about 30-40 tiny bandaids over the needle spots.



Prolotherapy on Lower Back FU

Had prolotherapy on my lower back on Monday, and a follow up visit to the doctor yesterday, Thursday. The doctor took a quick look and was pleased that three days after the treatment, in which I had about 40 shots into the lumbar and sacral areas of my back, that the needle holes had healed and could not even see them. Interesting. As he tells me whenever I ask a question about what I can expect from a particular prolotherapy treatment, “everyone responds differently.”

I have experienced a fascinating sensation this week while working out. One of the exercises I do is to roll on a foam roller. This often leads to a realignment of the spine and sometimes I get the sensation that some people refer to as a cracking of the back. Also I lift one leg and cross it across the body, which also leads to a simiar “cracking” or realignment of the vertabrae in the lower back. when they are misaligned and this adjustment takes place, it usually feels very good.

This week I have noticed the inflammation in the lower back, the area treated on Monday, to the point where it is difficult to put all my weight on the foam roller when it gets down to that area. I had a similar sensation and sensitivity when I had the prolotherapy for my upper back pain a few weeks ago.

Now I have noticed in both areas that there is very little realignment going on as I stretch, roll on the foam, or turn my hips trying to get a crack. In fact, I almost feel as though I can feel how the ligaments have tightened things up so that the misalignments are not happening as much. I’m no doctor, so I can’t say that is what is happening, but it feels that way.

I also feel like I can feel the difference between my muscles and the ligaments. Perhaps I can and perhaps I can’t. Part of this comes with my new knowledge of what each of them does, and part comes with the prolotherapy treatments specifically designed to help the body strengthen and repair the ligaments. I definitely feel the difference in my shoulders and am now starting to differentiate the feelings in my upper and lower back as well.



Prolotherapy on Lower Back

When I first looked into prolotherapy, it was for my lower back. That was more than 5 months ago, and today, aftr having had prolotherapy treatments on both shoulders, my upper back, and my elbow, we finally treated my lower back.

Given that the injections were just two-and-a-half hours ago, and I took a vicodin just before them, I’m not feeling much pain right now. We had been planning on a second round of injections into my shoulder when I made this appointment, but on Friday, my lower back muscles went into spasm.

It was an injury to the lower back in December that had me looking into prolotherapy to treat the lower back pain. At that time I not only had muscle spasms, but pain going down the front of my right leg and intense nerve pain circling my knee. After a few weeks of drugs, acupuncture, and finally massage, the spasms released and I started exercising every day. I started just walking and added strength building exercises slowly but surely. I thought I had really moved beyond the pain and spasms and although still weak, I thought I was healed for now.

I was planning on doing the prolotherapy to the lower back when I finished with the shoulders. Howvever, I learned from the shoulder treatments that prolotherapy was very good for relieving the muscle spams quickly as the body started its natural healing process and strengthened the ligaments.

And so instead of shoulder treatments, today we injected the lower back. The whole area. The lumbar and sacral areas of the lower back are already pretty sensitive areas, so I was not looking forward to feeling the injections. The needles used for the lidacaine, the numbing agent, are pretty small and just feel like little pin pricks. But when you do a dozen or more of them in sensitive areas, it is not pleasant. After 5 minutes or so of waiting for that numbing agent to take effect, we started the prolotherapy shots.

For teh most part, I did not feel the needles going in, but occasionally the doctor hit a spot that hadn’t been numbed as much as the others. Not pleasant, but not too painful. If it works, it will certainly have been worth all the pain experienced from the shots, as the ultimate goal is to eliminate the chronic pain.

What you do feel is the actual injection itself. Not the needle going in, but the solution itself being injected into your ligaments right at the bone. For the most part, it is just uncomfortable, but given that there were about 40 shots today, the fact that 2 or 3 were painful is not bad at all. And right now, there is not much pain, just some weakness and discomfort. But of course, that might be the vicodin talking.

Remember, when i went in for the prolotherapy treatment today, my lower back muscles were already weak and in and out of spasms. Walking, stretching, and the whirlpool helped this morning, but still, I was in pain before the treatment. So the next two to three days will be very telling. Stay tuned as I post follow ups on my lower back prolotherapy treatments.

Prolotherapy Upper Back Ribs 2nd Follow Up

It has been almost 2 weeks since my treatment on my upper four ribs on my back left side.In my first update I thought that the pain in the area was a result of the muscle spasms that I had before the treatments. I thought that either it had not healed or that I re-injured the area by either doing the wrong exercises or over doing the right ones. The past week and a half having given me a different perspective.

I now believe the pain in the area is a result of the prolotherapy shots. In fact, the purpose of prolotherapy is to cause inflammation and to spur the body to renew the healing process. Often when ligaments have been injured the healing process gets interrupted and chronic pain ensures. Prolotherapy inspires the body, using all natural injections, to renew the healing process. Inflammation first, then healing.

What I learned from my initial prolotherapy treatments on my shoulders was that muscle pain tends to sunside pretty quickly after the shots. Thus I now conclude that the pain in my upper back is not a muscle spasm but related to the inflammation caused by the shots. When I do certain exercises, or if I find myself standing all day as when I helped a friend in her florist shop for Mother’s Day, the treated area hurts. However, although the pain feels similar to a muscle spasm, it is not. In fact, the pain subsides much quicker than if it were a result of a spasm as well.

Prolotherapy Upper Back Ribs Follow Up

Saturday morning I woke, knowing that my back had been treated, but not in a great deal of pain. After each treatment the doctor cleans the area and puts gauze on top, holding it all in place with special medical tape. On the back and shoulders the tape tends to peal and as it comes off bit by bit, it is uncomfortable. So I just ripped it off.

The doctor had told me to leave the bandages on for 2-3 days to ensure healing from the puncture wounds in the skin and prevent infection. He also shared that when he does the treatments in Honduras, they don’t even put bandages on afterward and he has never had an infection. So I’m fine with leaving them on for a day and then removing them.

For both Saturday and Sunday, the pain was no worse than it had been before the treatments, meaning that all I really felt was the same pain I had had from the muscle spasm. even that pain seemed to subside a bit over those two days. In fact, on Saturday I went for a long walk and spent a couple of hours sitting on a rock on the banks of a reservoir talking with a friend.

On Sunday morning I played an hour of basketball. Sure it ached a little, but not so much I could not play! That pretty much sums it up right there. It still hurts a bit, but less from the shots themselves and more from the spasm. Monday morning I went to the gym and might have strained it a bit again doing situps. I need to abck off a bit, something I hate to do. But the important thing to note is that I’m feeling well enough to push myself.

I saw the doctor and again we confirmed that the shots had helped my left shoulder as well.  Still waiting for all the pain to leave my scapula area alone, but again, that is more from the spasm than the prolotherapy injections.

Next treatment will be in 2 weeks after the doctor gets back from a trip. We’re doing the right shoulder again. Looking forward to a little tennis before then, though not sure how the current level of pain will be with tennis. I think i should be able to hit though.