Relieve Back Pain Permanently
Julian Whitaker, MD
Two weeks of hunkering over a computer for hours each day left Laura with severe low back pain shooting into her right leg. Hal had such intense pain in his back after a game of basketball with his sons that he couldn’t get out of bed. Fred had another in a long line of recurring back spasms, this one caused by carrying in the groceries. And Marie has been told she just has to learn to live with the pain in her lower back and legs.
Odds are that you have a back pain horror story of your own. These very common flare-ups are like the villain in a scary movie, lurking about and attacking at random moments (or, in some cases) haunting you continuously.
Usual and Unusual Back Pain Remedies
If you have back pain, you might reach for over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil and aspirin. You might also try chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture, which have been demonstrated in clinical trials to reduce pain and improve range of motion and mobility. Exercises, magnets, herbal anti-inflammatories, MSM, DMSO, magnesium: all of these natural therapies are a big help in getting you through a bout of back pain.
Your ultimate goal, however, should be to avoid recurring attacks in the first place. The therapies listed above, when undertaken on a regular basis, do have the potential to discourage future exacerbations. In this article, however, I want to focus on one sure-fire method for putting an end to back pain: prolotherapy. To best explain it, I want you to understand the primary reason behind back pain.
4″ x 6″ of Vulnerability
Ninety-five percent of low back pain comes from a four-by-six inch area, where the sacrum, or base of the spine, meets the fifth and final lumbar vertebra and the ilia, or hipbones. This small area is quite vulnerable, since it supports the entire weight of the upper body.
The structures in this area are held in place by elastic bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Ligaments are like rubber bands. When they are strong and taut, they keep everything in proper alignment. But when they become weak and slack, the structures they support move out of proper position and put pressure on the discs (the pads of protective cartilage between the vertebrae) and nerves exiting the spinal cord. This results not only in pain in the lower back, but also, depending on which nerves are pinched, pain radiating into the buttocks or legs.
Loose ligaments can cause problems anywhere in the spine. When the ligaments supporting the vertebral segments weaken, all sorts of things start to go wrong. The muscles of the back tense up in an attempt to keep things in line, causing muscle spasms and pain. Bony structures may also get involved in the effort to stabilize the vertebrae, and begin to thicken. (This is an often painful condition called spinal stenosis.) When discs are subjected to continuous pressure, they begin to degenerate, bulge, or rupture (herniate), which can cause even more pain.
Permanent Pain Relief With Prolotherapy
The obvious solution is to strengthen the weakened ligaments, and that is precisely what prolotherapy does. A slightly irritating solution (dextrose is the most common) along with a mild anesthetic is injected into the area where the ligaments attach to the bones. This causes the body to mount a healing response, and inflammatory chemicals and other growth factors begin repairing and reconstructing the affected area.
The end result is strong, tight new connective tissue that restores proper alignment. Pressure is removed from the nerves and discs, and pain resolves. Because prolotherapy tackles the underlying cause of chronic pain, its effects are in most cases permanent. George Hackett, MD, who is considered to be the father of prolotherapy, reported that 82 percent of the hundreds of patients he treated for low back pain considered themselves cured after receiving prolotherapy—and remained pain-free up to 12 years after treatment.
Prolotherapy (also known as sclerotherapy or reconstructive therapy) has even been tested in double-blind studies, including one published in the Lancet. Eighty-one patients who had had chronic low back pain for more than 10 years were divided into two groups. Half received prolotherapy, while the other half received placebo injections. Thirty-five of the 40 who had prolo reported an improvement of at least 50 percent (and many improved substantially more) compared to only 16 of the 41 in the placebo group.
Your Doctor May Not Know About Prolo
This remarkable therapy is the first thing your doctor should tell you about if you have chronic or recurring back pain. Yet conventional doctors inexplicably ignore it. This is a shame, for we’ve been providing prolotherapy at the Whitaker Wellness Institute for years now with astounding results, not only for back pain but for pain in any joint, whether it’s caused by arthritis, whiplash, or other injuries.
I want to share a story about a patient who benefited from prolotherapy. Richard, a 65-year-old from Arizona, suffered with lower back pain for several years. The pain radiated into his legs, making walking difficult, and he was particularly stiff and uncomfortable when he got up during the night. Worst of all, it was interfering with his golf game. During flare-ups, he had days and even weeks when he couldn’t play at all.
This Patient Got His Game Back
Richard finally consulted a doctor, who ordered an MRI. It revealed bulging discs and spinal stenosis. He was sent to a specialist, who told him that he could take drugs to reduce pain, but the only thing that would really help was surgery. Just two weeks later, he heard about prolotherapy and the Whitaker Wellness Institute. It sounded a heck of a lot better than surgery, so he scheduled an appointment. He received injections in his lower back and returned at monthly intervals for three more treatments.
After 18 months, Richard reported that he was 90-95 percent improved. He still has some pain if he walks for long distances, but nothing like he had before. He plays golf every day, and his handicap has fallen to a very respectable eight: half of what it was before prolotherapy.
- If you suffer with recurring back pain, I highly recommend prolotherapy. To learn more about receiving this therapy at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- For additional information on prolotherapy, read Prolo Your Pain Away. Call (800) 810-6655 to order.
- Faber WJ & Walker M. Pain Pain Go Away. Mountain View, CA: ISHI Press International, 1990.
- Hauser RA. Prolo Your Pain Away! Oak Park, IL: Beulah Land Press, 1998.
- Ongley M et al. A new approach to the treatment of chronic low back pain. Lancet. 1987;2:143-6.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.