Herniated disc prolotherapy is a very controversial therapy modality used most recently to treat some types of diagnosed disc pain. Prolotherapy is an alternative to drug therapies and is used to elicit a natural healing reaction from the body, which may or may not do anything to help a structural disc injury.
Many instances of prolotherapy for disc pain are used to treat chemical radiculitis, as it seems that some care providers subscribe to the notion that the anatomical response to the irritating injection may help to absorb the spilled proteins which escaped from the nucleus pulposus. While conclusive research statistics are limited, many patients do report good results from prolo treatment. What remains to be seen is whether these results are due to actual anatomical benefit, pure placebo reaction or a combination of both factors.
This investigational essay delves into the use of prolotherapy for intervertebral disc problems.
What is Herniated Disc Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is a form of injection therapy for herniated discs which uses natural substances to generate an organic healing reaction in the body. The injections can be rather painful for several days to several weeks, since the substances used are organic irritants.
Prolotherapy will not heal a bulging disc, but it might help the body to reabsorb spilled irritating nucleus proteins from a ruptured disc. Critics of the therapy say that these shots may simply be akin to epidurals, in that they might actually flush away the irritating proteins and the injected irritants are not needed at all. Of course, exponents of the treatment disagree, stating that prolo is one of the most effective and innovative methods of back care in decades.
Prolotherapy for Herniated Discs
Prolotherapy is statistically far more promising for treating some other types of back pain, such as piriformis syndrome and muscular issues. For virtually every other diagnosis, the treatment seems at least slightly illogical from a scientific viewpoint.
I am not a fan of this option for herniated disc patients and concur with the idea of epidurals being preferred for chemical radiculitis sufferers. Although prolotherapy is all natural and presents no drug risks, when used so close to the spinal structures, all the usual complications of any injection therapy become very real. Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor prior to even considering the treatment.
Of course, there are obvious benefits to the treatment, as well, which soften my stance on it. First are the positive experiences of many patients. These can not be discounted. Next, there are no chemicals or drugs used, minimizing side effects and systemic risks. I definitely like the idea of prolo, but just need to see more evidence of its effectual possibilities.
Herniated Disc Prolotherapy Verdict
In order to maximize the potential effectiveness of this option for disc pain patients, the injections should always be administered by a surgeon and should be performed under live x-ray. Make sure that your doctor has extensive experience with injection therapies to reduce the very serious risks of nerve damage, spinal fluid leaks and infection.
For those who truly want to find the latest, but not necessarily the greatest, disc therapy option, this may just be the thing for you. Just be sure to do your own diligent research before acquiescing to treatment.