(Health Secrets) Are you one of the millions who suffer from chronic back pain? If so you may have ligament laxity a term that refers to ligaments in the body moving more than what is considered normal. Doctors usually call these looser than normal ligaments hyper mobile. Chiropractors tend to use the lax ligaments term to describe a potential cause of chronic joint pain or sprains. Prolotherapy can help.
For many, exercise does not improve ligament or tendon laxity and therefore does not improve chronic back pain. There is a point of diminishing returns. As muscle strength increases there is a corresponding tendency to develop tendonitis and ligament strain. Physical trainers and physical therapists who have the boot camp mentality may encourage you to work through pain, and this can be frustrating. Pain is a symptom of something wrong, not something good.
Yes, weight-bearing exercises are healthy, and running faster and longer builds muscle and a stronger heart and lungs. But this does one little good for chronic back pain if the end result is a sprained ankle or injured ligament. For people with lax ligaments, swimming may be the best exercise to keep up muscle strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health.
Lax ligaments and hyper mobility are genetic. An estimated 5% to 12% of the adult population has some degree of generalized joint hyper mobility associated with ligament laxity. Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos are recognized rare syndromes, characterized by ligament laxity and other determinants. Hyper mobility syndrome appears to be familial with a clear-cut female predominance.
Typically symptoms first appear in children or young adults. Although hyper mobile individuals have a potentially heightened aptitude for activities such as gymnastics, dancing, and playing musical instruments, they also have an increased susceptibility to dislocations, traumatic joint pain, tendonitis, and overuse injuries. These problems may present as a fibromyalgia-like syndrome triggered by exercise.
Chronic back pain can be a symptom of underlying structural problems, or it may be a symptom of underlying conditions. It is essential to have an appropriate physical exam to rule out kidney stones or kidney infection, prostatitis, chronic diverticulitis, cancer of the pelvis, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors, shingles and circulatory deficiency from hardening of the arteries.
Your back supports your entire body, using a complex interconnecting network of nerves, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. All these components are capable of producing chronic back pain, pain in the low back and surrounding areas.
Large nerves that originate in the spine and go to the legs and arms can make chronic back pain radiate to the extremities. The pain may be felt in the neck (and might radiate into the arm and hand), in the upper or lower back, (and might radiate into the leg or foot), and may include symptoms other than pain, such as weakness, numbness or tingling. If left untreated, most back problems only worsen as time and gravity take their toll on our bodies.
Prolotherapy is an injection technique that stimulates growth of cells and tissue to stabilize and strengthen weakened joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
The injected solution during prolotherapy intentionally causes controlled irritation in the tissue. This irritation is an inflammatory response, which increases the blood supply and thereby stimulates the tissue to heal and regrow.
Typically prolotherapy involves the injection of natural substances such as dextrose into the tissue to initiate the healing process. Dextrose is a sugar that has been studied worldwide and is extremely safe.
Dr. Norm Shealy describes sacral shear as the cause of low back pain. This happens when the sacrum becomes hyper mobile and presses on the sciatic nerve. The sacrum is a small triangular bone located at the bottom of the spine and between the hips. Prolotherapy to strength the ligament laxity around the sacrum can help with this condition.
Prolotherapy was the innovation of Dr. Earl Gedney, an osteopathic physician and surgeon. In the early 1930s, Dr. Gedney caught his thumb in a door thereby stretching the joint and causing severe pain and instability. He was told that nothing could be done for his condition and his surgical career was over.
Gedney knew of a group of doctors that used irritating solutions to stimulate the repair of the distended connective tissue ring as treatment for hernias. He extrapolated this knowledge and utilized it to inject his injured thumb. He was able to fully rehabilitate the thumb.
In 1937, Gedney published The Hyper mobile Joint, the first known article about prolotherapy. The article gave a preliminary protocol and discussed two case reports, one of a patient with knee pain and another with low back pain who were successfully treated with this method.
Today, prolotherapy is practiced by physicians in the U.S. and worldwide. It is effective in treating many musculoskeletal conditions such as tendonopathies, ligament sprains, back and neck pain, tennis/golfers elbow, ankle pain, joint laxity and instability, plantar fasciitis, shoulder, knee pain and other joint pain. C. Everett Koop, the former US Surgeon General has endorsed prolotherapy, was helped by it, and practices it.
For more information: