The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Prolotherapy and low-back pain

    When combined with spinal manipulation, exercise, and other co-interventions, prolotherapy may improve chronic low-back pain and disability.

    Think of it as complementary therapy for complementary therapy.

    Researchers from Ontario, Canada identified 5 studies that examined prolotherapy injections in 366 patients with chronic low-back.

    Here’s what they found.

    When prolotherapy injections were used alone.

    • 3 studies (206 participants)
    • No more effective than placebo injections for chronic low-back pain and disability.

    Prolotherapy plus spinal manipulation, exercise, and other therapies

    • 2 studies (160 participants)
    • More effective than placebo injections for chronic low-back pain and disability.
    • Both studies reported a significant difference in the proportion of individuals who reported over 50% reduction in disability or pain.
    • Only one study reported a significant difference between groups in pain and disability at 6 months after treatment.

    The bottom line?
    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, which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself.

    Hippocrates first used a version of this technique on soldiers with dislocated, torn shoulder joints.

    Maybe so, but 5 studies over two millennia don’t tell us much. On the other hand, maybe it tells us all we need to know.

    7/14/07 21:50 JR

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