Pain Pity Party

Not really.

Maybe a little bit.

In either case, I’m starting my first round of Prolotherapy next week. I warn you all now, since I suspect I’m going to be rather grumpy for the next several months as a result.

Essentially my SI joint is continuing to fall out of whack. As soon as I get put back into place, about 15 minutes later it’s out again. It’s driving my PT nuts – every time I come in, it’s in a different location – right side, left side, posterior, anterior, left leg is too short, right leg is too short. Yesterday morning when I went to PT, I was out on the right side. A few hours later when I went to my pain doc, I was out on the left. So…yeah. Ligaments aren’t really holding it in place too well anymore.

So. Prolotherapy will involve a series of injections (about 4 or 5 on each side of the spine/joint). The needles will go all the way down to the bone and will contain some sort of “foreign” substance. Usually sugar water or glycerine or something you’d think of as pretty harmless. The theory here is that small annoyances to the body tend to increase healing (or in this case, the creation of scar tissue along the ligaments). If this works, I’ll end up with newer, stronger ligaments that will keep the SI in place the way it should.

However, the fun part is that during this process I can’t take any pain killers – no ice, no advil, no aspirin, no nothing. In fact, I’m going off all my herbal supplements too. The doc wasn’t entirely sure if they would interfere, but for what this is going to cost me, I can’t take the risk. We want the body to inflame, since that’s what causes the creation of the new tissue.

In the meantime, I’ve been told to increase my intake of animal protein – at least two servings a day (which is a lot for me since I’m mostly vegetarian in my food choices.). If my body doesn’t have enough protein to rebuild the ligaments, then this may not be successful. I also have to take up to 5000 milligrams of Vitamin D3 a day, 3000 milligrams of Omega 3 (yay, that would be *six* of those smelly lemon-fish pills I’ll be burping up), and something called Fucoiden – a supplement that is supposed to stimulate stem cell growth.

Now, each session costs $600. I was told I would need 10 sessions. It’s not covered by insurance. I sorta freaked at that, so they said if I tolerated the first two sessions (about two weeks apart), they would move me into something called PRP – platelet rich plasma therapy. Same sort of deal, except instead of using said substance, I go into the doc’s an hour early, they draw 60 ccs of blood and spin my platelets out of it and then inject *those* into my back.  Bad news? It’s about $800 a session. Good news? I’d only need 3 to 5 of them. They are spaced out longer, but they’re also more intense and more painful.

There’s an 80% chance this will work. If it doesn’t, I’ll be out a lot of time and money and my last option will be fusing the SI, or possibly a spinal cord stimulator, neither of which I want to remotely consider.

And so I continue to trundle on down the path of chronic pain. Alas.

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