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What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spine is narrowed in some way, putting pressure on the spinal cord and area nerves. The narrowing can occur at the center of the spine, at branches of bone and nerve around the spine, or from the growth of bone spurs. The resulting pressure can be very painful, especially during any type of physical activity.
Spinal stenosis is primarily known as a degenerative disease, as aging is usually the main cause. Spinal injury, arthritis, and scoliosis can also lead to this condition. Warning signs include numbness, neck and back pain, a weakening, and even pain in the arms and legs, and in serious cases, problems with bladder and bowel functioning. It is possible to have spinal stenosis without pain at all, especially if the narrowing is located in the neck area.
Conventional medicine approaches this disease as a problem of too much bone, and not enough space. WIth this viewpoint, the final solution is a surgical procedure, designed to widen the area where nerves are being affected. Before surgery is recommended, doctors usually offer milder treatment options, such as physical therapy, wearing a back brace, and anti-inflammatory and pain medication.
It is possible even after surgery, for the pain to persist. Medication does not heal, it only reduces the spinal stenosis pain. Physical therapy can certainly be beneficial without negative side effects, but only in milder cases. Prolotherapy is one of several alternative treatment options for this condition. It is potentially a very effective option, but, how does prolotherapy affect spinal stenosis? How can injections work, where conventional treatment falls short?
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What Can Prolotherapy Do?
Prolotherapy takes a different approach to healing than conventional medicine. The basic principle is that the body's own natural healing process is the most efficient solution. With prolotherapy, solutions are injected into tissue, which cause acute inflammation, and trigger the healing response. New collagen is formed, leading to stronger, more durable ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissue.
In the case of spinal stenosis, a prolotherapist would be treating the vertebral ligament laxity, rather than the structure of the actual bone. In other words, in prolotherapy, it is believed that many cases of spinal stenosis are due to weak, unstable ligaments around the spine. This instability is the root cause of the narrowing passageways and bone spurs. By treating the foundational reason for the disease, rather than the result of the disease, true healing is possible. According to leading prolotherapist, Dr. Ross A. Hauser, of the spinal stenosis cases treated at his firm, prolotherapy has proved to be about ninety percent effective. Because tissue is genuinely healed after treatment, it is possible for prolotherapy to eliminate chronic pain completely.
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Understanding how prolotherapy can affect spinal stenosis is important when evaluating all potential treatment options. This alternative form of medicine may be ideal in cases where the condition is specifically due to unstable ligaments in the back. Although treatment does take several sessions, over a period of months, the potential for not only eliminating spinal stenosis pain, but also for complete healing, is great.
While prolotherapy is one viable option, it is not the only one, nor is it meant to cure without the help of other forms of treatment. Nutritional therapy is essential for healing, no matter what course of action is taken. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care are other natural, holistic options. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, especially if the spinal cord is at risk. Talk to your physician about all possible options, and the risks and effectiveness of each one. Learn about what is available, and choose only the method of treatment that is right for you.
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"Spinal Stenosis." (Prolotherapy.org) <http://www.prolotherapy.org/prolotherapy-articles/SPINAL_STENOSIS.htm>
Medicine Plus (National Institute of Health) <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spinalstenosis.html>
Mayo Clinic <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/spinal-stenosis/DS00515>
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photo by Jurvetson (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/3387445/>
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