Update: An alternative view on prolotherapy

Hi everyone!  Here is a different type of post… one where I have to slightly amend information I’ve given you in the past.

I am totally grateful to longtime reader Julie, who emailed me yesterday about her own experience consulting a doctor for prolotherapy.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, prolotherapy is a relatively new form of treatment in which a special solution consisting mainly of sugar is injected into the ligaments of an injured joint.  This solution isn’t toxic, but it is irritating, which in turn provokes the body’s healing response, and can help encourage the body to tighten sprained ligaments back up.

I have previously written about my own experience consulting a highly-regarded doctor in my area about prolotherapy.  (I don’t want to name her here, because it’s awkward naming someone who might have let you down, but you can find it in the previous post).

This doctor– let’s call her Dr. B. for short– is known as somewhat of a pioneer of prolotherapy in the Boston area.  However, when I met with her, I did get the sense that her area of expertise had more to do with other areas of the body, such as the wrist and elbow.  She did tell me she wasn’t terribly familiar with using it for the SI joints, although I think I’m only know realizing how unfamiliar she is…

Dr. B. ultimately decided I wasn’t a good candidate for prolotherapy, once I explained to her exactly how hypermobile my SI joints are.  She said many of her patients purposely scheduled their prolotherapy injections right after visits to the chiropractor, so they could be sure their joints were in alignment.

According to Dr. B., this is because it was important for the ligaments to be in the right position, before receiving the injection which would cause them to tighten up.  In her philosophy, it could make things worse to have the ligaments tighten up with the joint misaligned.  Because she was concerned that my joints wouldn’t stay in place for very long after receiving prolotherapy, she told me I probably shouldn’t receive it.

However, it turns out this may not be true. 

Our fellow SIJD sufferer Julie consulted a different prolotherapy doctor out in Worcester, one who seems to be more familiar with the SI joint, and specifically asked him about this issue.

This doctor, who she says has been offering prolotherapy for over 20 years, said not to worry– since prolotherapy causes ligaments to tighten up, this naturally helps pull the joint back into its optimal positioning anyway.  He said the original starting position of the joint wasn’t really a concern, in terms of whether or not someone should receive prolotherapy.

It’s too early to know if Julie’s injections will help her or not, however, I am SO grateful to her for sharing the reasoning behind her decision to have them.

I had actually been wondering why, in all of the online forums I’ve read about prolotherapy, I had never heard of any other patients being told quite the same thing.  (Here’s the prolotherapy Facebook group I follow, which I find to be really informative).

And now I wonder if maybe what Dr. B. said wasn’t quite right.  Now I realize that, while she does seem to be fairly knowledgeable on prolotherapy for the upper extremity, it probably would have been a good idea to consult someone with more experience on the SI joint.

So… I hope I haven’t steered anyone wrong.

I do my best to provide you all with accurate information, but I am only one person going off of my own experience.

On top of that, the sacroiliac joint is such a complex topic that different physical therapists, chiropractors, and doctors will all give you different opinions– that’s why I always say the main purpose of my blog is to give you ideas, and help get you pointed in the right direction.  It can be so hard to figure out how to chart your own course, as a patient– that’s why I hope to help by showing you how I charted mine.

But what works for one person won’t necessarily work another- especially in terms of a complex joint like the SI joint.  So just because prolotherapy wasn’t a part of my journey doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of yours.

The important thing is to keep going, and explore all your options.  If one thing doesn’t work, don’t give up.  Try the next thing.

So anyway… thank you again, Julie!  I know I’m not the only one who will appreciate your input!

For more information, here’s the website for the doctor Julie saw.

4 thoughts on “Update: An alternative view on prolotherapy

  1. Invisibly Me says:

    It’s frustrating when ‘specialists’ differ in their ideas and suggestions, so it’s good to always keep an open mind when it comes to alternative opinions. So great that Julie messaged you (wishing her all the best for her treatment!) xx

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    • sunlight in winter says:

      Yes definitely! If there’s anything I’ve learned in all of my health struggles, it’s to ALWAYS keep searching for the next answer or solution that makes sense, even if one isn’t immediately apparent. One person may make you think you’ve hit a dead end, but their answer might not be the be-all, end-all.

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  2. Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! I’ve been dealing with SI joint issues consistently the last several months and on and off for several years. Just found your blog a couple months ago once someone finally identified what my problem actually was! After reading several of your posts it now makes sense to me why chiropractic adjustments have put me in excruciating pain in the past. One of the chiropractors acted like I was nuts when I told her the adjustment increased my pain. Ugh.
    Needless to say I no longer go to a chiropractor and luckily found a PT familiar with SI dysfunction and MET techniques, which has helped a lot! I’m super interested in aquatic therapy and need to read your posts on that! I’m also considering prolotherapy, but still undecided. Anyway, thank you for sharing your journey and the knowledge youve gained along the way! Much appreciated!

    Like

    • Sunlight in Winter says:

      Hi Kristen! I’m so glad to hear my blog has been able to provide some answers for you! It definitely sounds like you’re on the right track with the new PT! Wishing you the best of luck moving forward 🙂

      Like

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