When 'itis' equals pain

Any time you hear an expression that ends in ‘itis’, there is discomfort ­ if not actual pain when it relates to any part of your body: chondritis, arthritis, fasciitis, for example, are all different because they affect different parts of your anatomy; different in location, but the same in effect, painful. The suffix ‘Šitis’ simply means inflammation.

I must stress that I am not a medical practitioner, so what I write is personal observation from a procedure recommended to me several years ago ­and one that worked for me.

I had a chronic Achilles problem due to overflexing in our work through the years. A caring doctor used to give me an occasional anti-inflammatory shot. It always brought relief but really only cured the effect, rather than the cause. We had to move to a different town for clinical reasons 10 years ago. Not long after the move I had badly inflamed Achilles, bilaterally, and went to the new doctor in our new town. When I asked for an anti-inflammatory, he asked if I understood why tissue inflamed and what happened when it did. In all truth, I had no idea. This is a brief outline of his explanation. 

Inflammation is the body’s signal to send more white blood cells to the infected or damaged area, providing better means to provide repair. Basically, if the tissue did not inflame, it would not repair. My new doctor felt that using an anti-inflammatory only masked the problem and lessened the body’s ability to heal itself. He could and would offer an anti-inflammatory if that’s what I wished but he went on to explain a possible alternate.

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He told me about prolotherapy. As he explained it, there are no assurances that it will work for every condition, for every patient, and that in some quarters the treatment is still considered speculative. He had applied it to a selected number of patients, with a good level of success. There would be some discomfort, even pain, because the treatment increased the short-term inflammation. It involved injecting a foreign substance into the tissue on a repetitive basis a couple of weeks apart.

Concerned at foreign substances being injected into me, I asked about the specific product. I chuckled when he told me, and agreed to go ahead with the therapy. It was a 25 per cent glucose solution!

Long story, short ending. It worked! Following an x-ray to confirm the condition, I needed something like 17 or 18 shots at different points in the right Achilles and about 12 in the left on the first occasion. Walking was not far short of agonising for a while but improved within a day or so. Two weeks later, about 10 shots to the right and seven or eight to the left with a bit of discomfort this time, rather than pain. On a third occasion, following a few jabs either side, a slight tightening in the Achilles as I walked but nothing dramatic. Two weeks later, on checking my Achilles and my walk, doctor was happy that I was doing well and shouldn’t need further treatment. 

That was nine years ago and I’ve never had a recurrence of what had become a problematical issue over a number of years. I repeat, it may not be for everyone but I certainly swear by the good results I achieved from prolotherapy.

Tell us, would you try this? What ‘itis’ do you have?