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 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 on Upper Back Ribs

As I’ve noted, I have already had prolotherapy treatments on both of my shoulders. It has been about 6 weeks since the first injections into my right shoulder and about 4 weeks since the treatment of my left shoulder. I had an appointment for today but had not decided ahead of time which area we would treat.

I could feel that the prolotherapy was working on both shoulders, having relieved the muscle pain in the area, but it was clear that I had still had pain in the joint and elsewhere in the ligaments. I was ready for a second treatment on either shoulder, but assumed it would be the right one given that it had been longer since the first treatment.

Also I had a muscle spasm under the lower part of my left scapula. I think I had pushed myself a bit too hard and done too much o the wrong exercise in the gym. Most of us have had a knot, I think, in that area, so you know that it is not pleasant and is painful. I was surprised that the doctor wanted to treat that area with the injections, but given the resulting subsiding of pain in the shoulder muscles, I was also pleased to hear it and looking forward to the pain relief from the spasm.

The doctor realized that the disclosure form I had signed did not include the ribs and thus the possibility of a punctured lung. He brought in a new form and I signed it. He said we would never do both sides at once, just in the worst case scenario he missed on both sides and punctured both lungs. I found that pretty humorous, given I had faith he wasn’t going to mess up even once, let alone twice.

The doctor told me that we would treat the upper ribs in my back and that that might also help my left shoulder. When we were deciding where to treat, he had pressed each of the shoulders as well as the rib area looking for sensitive spots, and afte the treatment he would do it again.

I was prepared for the pain fo the shots this time, though I was pleasantly surprised. As I had done for my second treatment, I took a vicodin before driving to the doctor’s office, about 15 minutes before treatment. Then, as usual, before giving the prolotherapy shots, the doctor injected lidocain into the area to numb it. Even the small needle for these numbing shots didn’t seems to hurt as much as they had in the shoulders. Perhaps it was relative given the amount of pain the spasm was causing.

And then the prolotherapy injections began. One off the keys to safe prolottherapy is needle on bone. That prevents damage to nerves and other important parts in the area, but you can feel the needle when it touches the bone and you can feel the injection. I was pleased to note that it was nowhere near as painful as the injections in the shoulders had been. The needles were just as long, but they weren’t going deep into a joint. The injections were where the ligament attaches to the ribs, in the area that actually connects the rib cage to your upper body and shoulders.

I heard the the doctor ask the nurse for more needles, that the ones he was using on me were getting dull. He commented that I was very muscular, which made it harder to do the injections. He said that skinny is easy, fat a little harder and muscular the hardest, but I suspect that a muscle in spasm might be even harder to go through.

After the treatment I definitely felt better than before I had walked into the doctor’s office. He pressed on my left shoulder joints and there was less pain than before the shots. And the muscle spasm in my back seemed to be releasing a bit. I definitely felt good, but as I told a friend, i wasn’t sure if that was the Vicodin talking. I’d know more at 8pm, when the powerful drug wore off.

Indeed at 8pm it was clear it had been the drug, but I was not in so much pain that I chose to take another. Instead I remained lying down for few more hours before going to sleep and chose to take another pill then. I slept through the night without pain.