I'm no DR and I know only a little about Prolotherapy. I know there have been many success stories and that there are also some risks.
The only way your going to know if it is safe for your wife or if the benefits outweigh the risks is to talk with the DR.
There are a few good books out there about prolotherapy. Besides speaking the the DR you and your wife may want to look into it and get all the information you can before making the decision.
I hope your wife finds some relief soon.
I hope this helps, it seems the symptoms here are related and the treatment of prolotherapy is fine after fusion. I would talk to your Dr though as I am not a physician and you need medical advice from a Dr.
I wish you and your wife good luck.
When Patient R was 50 years old, he was a pretty active guy. One summer, he was doing his regular Saturday yard work when he lifted a bale of pine straw from the bed of his new pick-up truck. As he straightened up, he felt a pop in his lower back and immediate pain. Being a tough fellow, he used some heat on it that night and tried to get some rest. The pain would not go away. It was agonizing and it radiated down his leg. He was a little worried about it, but he thought that after a couple of days the pain would go away, just like it had done in the past. But it did not go away. He saw his doctor, and his doctor started him with physical therapy. Patient R was the perfect patient. He attended all of his physical therapy visits and did his exercises at home. But despite this, the pain continued. In fact, according to Patient R, the pain just got worse and worse.
After a month of this, his doctor told Patient R that an MRI needed to be obtained. To his dismay, it showed degenerated discs at two levels with a disc bulge at one of these levels. His family doctor then sent him to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon suggested he continue physical therapy and get epidural steroid injections. Once again the model patient, Patient R continued the physical therapy, never missing a session, and had a series of three epidural steroid injections. The pain was still there. It was less intense in the leg, but the low back pain was miserable. When he saw his neurosurgeon the next month, he was informed that surgery would be needed. Patient R was reluctant to undergo an operative procedure, he felt that it must be necessary since his neurosurgeon recommended it. Actually, Patient R was looking forward to something that would relieve his back pain. The pain had been with him day after day, night after night, for several months now. He was beginning to get tired of this and his patience was wearing thin.
On the morning of surgery, he just knew he would wake up pain-free, since he was told that this surgery would cure him of this dreaded disc disease. Patient R underwent a fusion of his lower back, and to his delight when he awakened from surgery, other than the pain of the incision, the rest of his pain was almost gone. This was the break he had been praying for. He was discharged from the hospital and sent home with complete instructions. Patient R, the good patient, once again followed these instructions to the letter, but three weeks after surgery his pain began to return. When he went for his post-operative check with his doctor, he was told that this pain would go away, since the surgery had gone well and Patient R's x-rays looked good.
Patient R began again with physical therapy, and at this point he was taking pain medication. Two months after surgery, he was still religiously doing the proper exercises but the pain was worse than ever. Patient R was desperate and depressed at this point. Not only could he no longer work in the yard, but he could not even comfortably sit and watch TV or sleep more than two hours at a time. The activities that used to bring him so much joy were now only a distant memory, resulting in increased depression. Patient R did not know what to do. He had followed all of his doctor's orders to the "T," but yet nothing was helping.
Patient R did some research and came across Prolotherapy. Curious as to what this therapy might entail, he discussed this option with his neurosurgeon on the next office visit. His neurosurgeon attempted to dissuade him from doing this treatment (Prolotherapy), because he told Patient R it was an unproven method of pain reduction. I hear this fairly frequently from patients. The neurosurgeon felt Patient R would be wasting his time. By this point, however, Patient R was frustrated! He was somewhat desperate and beginning to decide that he wanted to be more in charge of his treatment, since all of the previous recommendations had not worked.
When I saw him, a thorough examination was performed, and I answered Patient R's questions concerning Prolotherapy. I told Patient R that most likely it would take between seven and eight sessions to help decrease his back pain. I also felt it was essential for him to continue with his exercise routine. There were certain exercises that I changed in Patient R's program, and he also began certain back manipulation techniques. The first Prolo session came, and although Patient R was nervous, he did great because I gave him a light sedative and pain medication, and Patient R felt very little discomfort from the injections. By the third visit, Patient R no longer needed any pain medication or sedative for the injections. He found that they were so helpful that the slight discomfort that he went through for the injections was greatly made up by the wonderful pain relief he was now obtaining.
Through the weeks, Patient R's pain began to decrease, so he was instructed to increase his activities. He was walking at his local indoor mall three times per week, doing a water exercise program two times per week, and doing his home exercises 15 minutes per day. A year later, although Patient R still has some pain, he is able to sleep at night, play with his grandchildren, and enjoy the vacations that he and his wife had always dreamed of.
Ross Hauser, M.D.