LOW BACK PAIN/BACKACHE TREATED BY PROLOTHERAPY – The first step in Regenerative Medicine
The lower back carries a great deal of a human being’s body weight, and helps support your entire body whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down. Lower back pain is the second most popular reason to call in “sick” to work, only behind the common cold.
Not only is back pain debilitating, but also extremely common. People who suffer from lower back pain chronically understand what it’s like to lose days and weeks on end while lying in bed with no ability to move because of excruciating pain. It really can be a life changing event for a patient and his/her family.
There are many reasons why people suffer from lower back pain, including slipped discs and strained muscles. Taking medicine might dull the pain, but it won’t solve the problems. Pain is what tells us that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, and if you are a sufferer of chronic lower back pain, prolotherapy might be the answer that you seek.
Prolotherapy is a surgery free, pill-free way of managing your back pain, and it can even help your lower back heal to the point where you no longer need any sort of medical therapy, be it pills or anything else.
Prolotherapy for the lower back involves injecting small amounts of medicine between the bones and muscles where your pain is occurring. Prolotherapy helps alleviate pain immediately in the injected area, while beginning the process of ligament and tendon strengthening and healing, allowing the muscles to strengthen themselves again too.
The first step in determining ligament laxity or instability in the lower back is by physical examination. The examination involves maneuvering the patient into various stretched positions. If weak ligaments exist, these stressor movements will cause pain.
Lie flat on your back and lift your legs together as straight and as high as you can then lower your legs. If it is more painful to lower your legs than to raise them, laxity in the lumbosacral ligaments is likely. During physical examination, laxity can be “tested” by palpitating various ligaments with our thumb to elicit tenderness. A positive “jump sign” indicates ligament laxity and this is exactly what is treated by prolotherapy.
The diagnosis of ligament laxity in the lower back can be made relatively easily. Typical referral pain patterns are elicited-the sacroiliac ligaments refer pain down the posterior thigh and the lateral foot, the sacrotuberous and sacrospinous ligaments refer pain to the heel. The iliolumbar ligament refers pain into the groin or vagina. Iliolumbar ligament sprain should be considered for any unexplained vaginal, testicular, or groin pain.
The most common cause of unresolved chronic low back pain is injury to the sacroiliac ligaments which typically occurs from bending over and twisting with the knees in a locked, extended position. This maneuver stretches the sacroiliac ligaments, placing them in a vulnerable position.
Surgery to relieve back pain is often unnecessary and unsuccessful. Some 200 million Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives; every year almost half a million of them undergo surgery to relieve the pain. Yet several recent medical studies have concluded that many patients who elect back surgeries don’t need them.
For example, an article in the medical journal Spine stated that as many as 70% of those who underwent back surgery still suffered from back pain for up to 17 years after the surgery.
Ligaments hold the disc in place and as the ligaments weaken, the disc moves which can cause pain, stiffness and muscle spasm.
Ninety percent of low back pain is mechanical, the result of straining, spraining, bending, or lifting resulting in ligament sprains, muscle pulls and disc herniations. We now know that ligament sprains and injury have a very prominent role in causing low back pain and there have been studies showing that disc herniations are responsible only for a very small percentage (4%) of the causes of low back pain.
The most frequent reason for back surgery is a ruptured, or herniated, disk. A disk is an oval-shaped shock absorber that’s situated between the bones that make up the vertebrae. The disk has a nucleus made of a thick, jelly-like substance; ligaments wrap around and contain the nucleus. But when these ligaments tear, part of the nucleus bursts out and flows into the spine, putting pressure on the nerves in the spinal column and causing pain.
The disk may rupture simply as a function of age. But disks can also be ruptured by a sudden trauma or movement.
Of the half million back surgeries performed every year in the U.S., over 300,000 are to remove parts of ruptured disks or whole disks. But as many as 90% of people who suffer herniated disks would be treated equally well with physical exercise or medication.
Why then do so many elect surgery? Because the exercise and medication relief take weeks or months, and people with back pain want immediate relief.
Much less straightforward than ruptured, or herniated, disk problems are cases where patients suffer chronic back pain caused by degenerative disk disease. In such cases the patient may not feel any pain in his or her legs, but may experience excruciating pain in the back.
What happens is that as the disk degenerates–that is, grows old–it releases a substance that irritates the nerve roots, causing pain. Surgeons can correct the problem by fusing two or more vertebral bones together; the joint doesn’t move, the disk becomes inactive and stops producing the irritating substance that was causing pain.
However, of the 150,000 operations performed every year in the U.S. to fuse vertebrae, fully one-third will fail to ease the patients’ pain. The problem with degenerative disks is that doctors cannot be sure what is actually causing the pain.
We know now that with prolotherapy, and regenerative medicine stem cell treatments to the ligaments in the lower back, we can reduce the low back pain and even eliminate the pain by strengthening these ligaments and tendons and eliminating the acompanying muscle spasm too.