Hesitantly returning


I haven’t written anything for months, mostly because of the nasty shoulder injuries that were keeping me from doing anything at all. I think I’m ready to write again, but I’m nervous and shy, have regained my blogging virginity, and have been wondering if I have a damn thing to say.

So, since it’s all about me and all, I thought I’d write about prolotherapy, which is the treatment I chose for my shoulders (yes, both of them).

Prolo therapy is a non-surgical intervention for torn ligaments and tendons. According to the prolo pros over at prolotherapy.com,

Prolotherapy uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself.

Let me just say that, after I spent a couple of years skirting around the issue of living vs. dying and being repeatedly slit from my guzzle to my zatch, I came finally through that experience weaker and more wobbly than I knew was possible. Everything I did hurt, everything I did caused a new injury. In about 18 months, I sprained my ankles twice, got a hernia while on a tiny little super easy bike ride, and tore ligaments in both my shoulders. This sucked beyond my ability to convey, but was at least better than actually being dead.

I stopped sleeping, due to pain, started taking vicodin, due to pain, and slid into a vague, extended and tiresome period of being afraid to do anything. Let me say, this did not seem to be an actual depression, although it was depressing. More, it seemed like my body wasn’t willing to carry me anymore, and I was tired, and tired of pain. From some angles, I look like Frankenstein, a constructed being, scars shooting out in all directions, lit more by lightning than by nature.

So. That did sound a bit depressed, eh?

I am a bit driven, by temperament, and this sloshing around in a half stupid hydrocodone fog, alternating with bright and angry pain, did not suit me overmuch. Hence the prolotherapy, after assorted other modalities did not do the trick.

Here’s what they do, and let me tell you it hurts like holy hell:


The needles feel huge, no, enormous, and for about 30 days after the injections the pain was worse, massively and unbearably worse, which made me feel like a complete idjit. Pass the vicodin, please.

Then one day about a month after, it stopped. Not 100%, but about 80%, not bad, not bad at all. I stopped taking vicodin, and switched to ibuprofen with a very mild pain pill on the side. Stopped taking anything in the daytime, and now I’m taking the pain pill at night just two or three times a week.

As soon as the pain stopped, I started lifting weights and going to the gym (still working on frequency, but really I’ve always liked weights, so it feels good to be able to do it at all). I’m starting to sleep again, intermittently. My brain and body are starting to feel better, not well, quite, but better.

I’ve been driving my wife crazy with my bad sleep, chronic pain and forgetfulness (goes with the other two). And I’ve been driving myself crazy with the sensation that my body is the enemy, and that my brain has gone utterly to mush, never to be its own vigorous, adventurous and imaginative self ever again.

 I will let you know how this goes. It’s the old body-mind connection, can’t have the one without the other. I knew that. Wish me luck.

I’ll be back.



2 Responses to “Hesitantly returning”

  1. debating on prolotherapy for ruptured ulnar ligament in elbow along with two torn tendons and two tore muscles. All injuries were spontaneous and at the same time from a stong sudden pull and jerk of the arm which spun my body around amidst the jerking pull. I also fractured my elbow after it went back in place after it dislocated when i fell on my hand after the jerking pull. Injury was may 3, 2009. Doctor has had me doing physical therapy since may 26th. Now he is talking surgery, don’t really want to do that. I have been doing a lot of research on prolotherapy and came across your blog. Any input would be appreciated. April

    • Hi April,
      I’ve done prolotherapy on both shoulders now and would say that the results are mixed. The shots are very painful and you can’t take any anti-inflammatories for 30 days after the shots, so I ended up taking hydrocodone for a couple of months. Then all of a sudden the pain was gone and the shoulders felt completely different, more stable and very little pain. That lasted about three months, and now they are quite painful again. That’s about the same length of time that a cortisone shot lasts, and the results with the cortisone are instantaneous.
      I would say, on balance, that prolo did not do what I needed it to do in any lasting way, although I really felt for awhile that it had – seemed like my shoulders had regained some stability. But now I’m all torn up again, so I don’t know what to think, except that I definitely don’t want to go through the pain of prolo again.
      My understanding is that prolo is especially helpful for knees, with lots of well documented success. The ulnar ligament seems like it would be awfully painful – you may want to go talk to a prolo provider and ask them specifically about the results on that particular ligament. Prolo is a difficult intervention, so I would ask a lot of questions about the practitioner’s specific experience with the ulnar ligament and with prolo overall.
      Best of luck to you – these injuries really take the fun out of things, don’t they?

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