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Old 04-20-2011, 08:30 PM
5,683 posts, read 8,884,211 times
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Went for my annual exam today, and decided to mention the chronic pain I've had in one elbow for close to a decade, since it has gotten a fair bit worse in the past year. The doc did some range-of-movement tests and strength assessments, pinpointed exactly where the pain occurs, and announced that I have classic chronic "tennis elbow." (I put the diagnosis in quotes because I have never played tennis in my life.)

She told me the standard non-invasive treatment is to wear a strap or band around the arm just below the elbow. The drawback is that it ameliorates the pain while it is worn, but according to her does not really address the underlying problem.

The second option is cortisone shots into the affected area. She recommends this only when the patient has a sudden flareup, not for longstanding chronic problems, because the cumulative effect of repeated cortisone shots is to weaken and soften the tissues, which is counterproductive and in time will exacerbate the problem rather than eliminating it.

The third option is something she called prolotherapy. I had never heard of it, but found a description here: Prolotherapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. She said that it is the only treatment of which she is aware that actually reverses or corrects the underlying problem that causes tennis elbow. She doesn't do it herself, but she offered me a referral to an osteopath who she described as being one of the leading researchers in the field. (The clinic where I go is affiliated with a major teaching hospital.)

It sounds intriguing, I'll admit, particularly the part about offering a permanent or at least long-term solution. But it is not covered by most insurance companies, including mine, and the cost is around $200 per treatment. My doctor mentioned "one or two" treatments as being successful in some patients; one article I found online mentions the typical number being four to six treatments; and another talks about four to ten treatments. At $200 a whack, that could get pretty expensive pretty quickly.

So I thought I'd see if anyone here has had this treatment, and if so, whether or not you got any relief or help from it. Would you describe it as worth the money? How many treatments did you need to obtain relief? Is it something you'd do over again?

Thanks for any info you can share.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:01 PM
88 posts, read 346,912 times
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Bump. Did you ever have this done? How was the outcome?
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:16 PM
5,683 posts, read 8,884,211 times
Reputation: 43694
No, I decided against it, at least partially because I never found anyone else who had had the therapy themselves. Funny thing is that my "tennis elbow" resolved itself with time, anyway. I'd probably have assumed it was due to the treatment, had I gone ahead with it, so I'm glad now that I didn't. Apparently even at my age, the body is still capable of healing itself... Which is a reassuring thing, when you think about it!
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