Saturday, August 10, 2013

Prolotherapy for my Hamstring Tendon Injury

My Family Practice doctor referred me to a new Sports Injury doctor and now I have embarked on a series of injection treatments to my hamstring tendon injury called Prolotherapy. He explained to me that a tendon does not have a very good blood supply and therefore heals extremely slowly. The thought behind Prolotherapy is to inject a benign substance into the torn tendon site which causes an inflammatory reaction in the area, causing blood and plasma to rush to the area, providing it with the necessary components to facilitate tissue building and faster healing and thereby also helps to reduce pain. This type of treatment is not covered by medical insurance so it is an out of pocket treatment which has not been officially recognized as being effective. However I thought it was worth a try. I was given two options, the first being the more expensive option of having my blood drawn, then having it spinned to separate the plasma from the red blood cells and then having my own plasma re injected into the injury site. This option would run into hundreds of dollars per treatment. The second option was to have a sterile dextrose solution injected into the tendon injury site, which would cause the same type of inflammatory response and would be significantly less expensive, so I opted for this choice.

The procedure consists of finding the tendon insertion site via ultrasound and then doing a guided injection into the injury site. I can say that being injected into the ischial tuberosity area is no picnic. The actual insertion of the needle is not painful but once the solution is being injected into the injury it is extremely painful and just awful and a weird sensation. My Sports Injury Physician told me to expect it to feel worse for a couple of days after the treatment and he was right, it was so painful that it kept me awake at night and I vowed after the first treatment that I would not go back for more but on the third day following the injection I woke up surprised to find that it actually was feeling a bit better. This scenario was played out two more times and I am going for my final treatment next week. I was instructed only to do light exercise during the course of the treatment and this week I have started at the beginning of an 18 week program to train for another marathon, which involves a gradual build up of miles.

In summary so far I feel that there has been some value to having received Prolotherapy as I have noticed a reduction in pain and am able to run again without the extreme discomfort I was experiencing before. After my final injection and once my marathon training program advances I hope to really reap the benefits of it. I would also like to add that it really makes a difference to have a doctor who is interested in helping his patients become well again so that they can resume an active lifestyle.

My final entry on this subject after my 4th treatment ( approximately 2 months after the first injection) is that my injury is significantly improved and I would recommend this as a treatment modality based on my own experience....time to hit the trails!


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  2. i had this done for partial tendon tear of hamstring. my experience was identical to above. injection pain is EXCRUCIATING. in the car on my way home, i was uncomfortable. after 2 weeks, or so, i no longer had ANY pain with sitting. one of god's miracles (from my favorite movie)

  3. Hi, I have the same injury. I'm getting prolotherapy on Monday. I see this blog post is over three years old. How are you now?

    1. Aloha Madelyn, I am much, much better, thank you. The treatment(and time) has helped the injury heal significantly and I am back into running. I still have uncomfortable moments but nothing as bad as the pain experienced after the initial injury. Since this article I have run numerous marathons, hiked across America from Mexico to Canada, hiked across Spain along the northern coastline and I'm training for my next ultra-marathon. I hope the treatment works well for you too.

  4. I think this is good for some perspective on hamstring injury treatment. I liked that you put your own narrative into this, and chose to use your experience as means of helping others make informed choices. Also, great concision here.

  5. Hey, I know this is kind of an old post, but did you have a tear? According to my MRI, I have a "Low-grade partial tear involving the origin of the right hamstring tendon. Underlying edema is present within the adjacent bone." My ortho said the tear is about 8mm. He wants me to give rehab a few more weeks and then do a PRP injection if I'm not improving.

    I'm just curious as to whether you have tendonopathy or a tear, but I'm really glad you had a full recovery and you got to run the marathon!

  6. Hi Amy, so sorry to hear about your tear. I also had a tear and honestly I was in varying degrees of pain and discomfort for a few years following the injury. I did feel that the prolotherapy helped, but time was the big healer...I still have twinges after extreme exertion but I am relatively pain free now.

  7. Prolotherapy is bad ass. I like acupuncture as well and had a lot of success there with hamstring injuries.

    Sports Medicine Acupuncture