Upper Back
Low Back

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Case Studies


Mr DC — age 69

Chronic back and neck pain. His back pain began when he jumped from 30 feet at age 11. He had x-rays at age 25 and was told to have surgery but refused. He “worked all his life and coped”. He was not able to do any lifting, and had stopped manual work when I first saw him in 1998. His lumbosacral pain radiated into the buttock and lateral thigh. For the last 2 months right “groin strain” occurred at the same time as the low back pain. On examination he was tender at the right sacroiliac joint and iliolumbar ligament. George Hackett, while treating thousands of patients in the USA, showed that groin pain was often referred from the ilio-lumbar ligament.

Mr DCs neck pain was related to computer work. Constant forward posture stresses the supraspinous ligament that connects the tips of the vertebrae. This results in lengthening due to a property of ligaments called “creep”, which means that the paraspinal muscles must do more work to maintain posture – work they are not designed for, resulting in spasm and pain.

Prolotherapy was begun. He had to drive 5 hours each way for treatment in Adelaide as he lives in the Riverland in NSW.
After the second treatment he was sleeping better, and his groin pain had gone.
After the third treatment, there was a big improvement. He was building a patio.
After the sixth treatment – “Wonderful”. He was then pain free until he used a jackhammer – and needed manipulation and one “top up” treatment in 1999. He has had no trouble since.


Mr LB — age 77

Severe pain in the TMJ (jaw joint) for many years – and was only able to eat very soft pureed food because chewing was so painful. After 6 prolotherapy treatments in 1994 he had total relief for 3 years. Then he needed another 5 treatments and he was fine again until his death from unrelated causes in 2009. This illustrates a common finding in older folk, that prolotherapy is often not as permanent as in the young or middle aged – a finding that I suspect is due to their poorer nutrition and poorer absorption of nutrients from the food they do eat.


Mrs KE retired chiropractor and nurse — age 83

4 treatments to her neck: No neck pains at all (after 50 years of trouble!) – rang to thank me.


Mr SA horticulturalist — age 36

In January 1999 his back had been unstable since “nine months of agony” 5 years before, after a manipulation. CT scan showed an annular bulge of the L5/S1 disc pressing on the right sciatic nerve. He was tender at both sacro-iliac joints.

He had four treatments to the SI joints then told me he “Hadn’t felt this good for years” and he was able to move house and lift furniture. Then he lifted a huge log and came for one more treatment in May 1999. He remains well since then.

This case illustrates the fact that pain does not necessarily come from the lesions demonstrated on Xrays. Tenderness to palpation is a much more accurate guide to the site of the painful lesion.


Ms MG student — age 35

Her low back pain began with nursing age 19, when she strained her right sacro-iliac joint – which was always weak after that. The sacro-iliac joint contributes to the stability of the pelvic ring. Once strained (stretched) torsional forces are greatly increased in the lumbar spine and strain occurs at the ligaments of the facet joints and around the disc, greatly increasing the risk of disc prolapse.

At age 26 she developed a prolapsed disc and had severe sciatic pain and weakness. She had a discectomy, which stopped weakness of her leg by removing the pressure on the sciatic nerve, but she still had back pain as she still had the ligamentous weakness and instability.

A year ago she developed sciatica again, due to another disc prolapse and was hospitalised due to severe pain.

When I saw her she was still in chronic severe pain, needing pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs, heat, massage, physiotherapy, Valium and daily home help to survive. She was suicidally depressed, and her parents flew over from NSW to help as she was convinced that her life was unbearable and she was determined to end it.

With the first treatment she improved a lot, then it varied. Her despair remained and she didn’t dare to hope that her pain was coming to an end. But by the fifth treatment she had stopped valium, and by the ninth treatment she was very much better and was fully active by the eleventh treatment. She told me she “has a life again.”


Comment in 2019

You'll notice the dates in these case studies! 20 years ago! Two lessons here - Firstly, even when I hadn't been doing prolotherapy for long, I was getting good results. The technique of palpation and treating the tender points with a simple safe glucose solution is not hard to learn and incredibly rewarding. Secondly, new research has verified these results but hasn't changed much. Unlike the rest of medicine - think how much has changed in the management of say, heart disease in 20 years.

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