TENS Unit For Ankles: 5 Reasons It Is Not Always Recommended

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is a popular pain relief treatment therapy. It uses a low-pulse electrical current (typically between 0 and 400 pulses per second) sent through the skin and into the muscles, creating a massaging effect that provides warmth and relief. 

TENS therapy is both drug-free and non-invasive and can provide temporary relief from acute pain. However, that doesn’t mean TENS therapy suits every type of pain. For example, it won’t be enough to manage chronic ankle pain.

The TENS Unit On Ankle Pain

TENS therapy involves placing electric pads on specific areas of the body experiencing pain. When activated, these pads send out small electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation. 

These electrical pulses stimulate the nerve endings and block pain signals from being sent to the brain, thereby reducing pain and relaxing the muscles. The vibrations can also help to relax tight muscles and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. All of this helps to provide immediate pain relief.

Ankle Conditions That Can Be Treated With TENS

The following are a few examples of ankle conditions that can benefit from TENS therapy to provide temporary relief:

  • Ankle Sprains: An ankle sprain occurs when you twist or roll your ankle too far, overstretching and tearing the ligaments in the joint. This can be very painful and can cause swelling, bruising, and limited mobility. Ankle sprains typically heal on their own, but TENS therapy can help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that connect muscles to bones. It can be caused by overuse, trauma, or various other conditions. TENS therapy can help reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with the condition.
  • Chronic Pain Conditions: Although TENS therapy won’t heal chronic pain conditions, it can provide pain relief. Because chronic pain isn’t consistent, TENS therapy can be useful for providing temporary relief when you’re experiencing a flare-up.

5 Reasons Targeting Ankle Pain With TENS Isn’t A Guaranteed Solution

Electrical stimulation is proven to be effective at pain relief. Despite being one of the more popular forms of non-invasive treatments, there are certain limitations that come with using TENS treatment for ankle pain; whether you’re receiving TENS treatment at a doctor’s office or using a commercially-available TENS unit at home. 

The following are the five main reasons why TENS therapy can’t be relied upon for long-term ankle pain relief:

1. Electrode Placement Must Be Specific

TENS therapy works best when the electrodes are placed directly over the area of pain. For example, in the case of ankle tendonitis, the electrodes must be positioned around the tendon and bone to provide adequate relief. 

However, this isn’t always easy to do with TENS because it relies on basic guidelines for electrode placement that may not be universal for all causes of ankle pain. 

Furthermore, it’s possible that the placement will vary depending on the individual and their specific condition. As a result, if you don’t place the electrodes in the right place, you may not get the desired result. This can be especially tricky if you’re using an at-home TENS unit since a medical professional isn’t there to guide you.

2. The Therapeutic Wavelength Is Limited

Commercially available TENS units for home use typically only have a limited range of therapeutic wavelengths, which means that they can’t deliver as many electrical pulses to the affected area as is necessary for long-term pain relief. TENS therapy, in general, can only deliver up to 400 pulses a second. 

At-home TENS units are even more limited and can only deliver up to 200 pulses a second. The reason it’s so limited is that more wattage is required to deliver an increased range of pulses, and at-home TENS units don’t have the capacity to do that. 

Although this may be enough to provide short-term relief from acute pain, higher-pulse currents are required to bring about long-term relief from chronic pain. This is because high-pulse currents can stimulate deeper layers of tissue that might be the cause of chronic pain. 

As a result, even with continued use, a TENS unit may not be able to penetrate deep enough to address the root cause of your ankle pain.

3. Therapy With Home Units Takes Too Long To See Results

Using a TENS unit for pain relief can take more than 20-30 minutes per session to see results. This is because the electrical pulses delivered by the TENS unit have to stimulate the nerve endings and muscles for pain relief. 

Unfortunately, because TENS units operate on limited wavelengths, it can take a while just to get temporary pain relief. If you’re experiencing multiple pain flare-ups every day, finding the time to undergo TENS therapy for that long isn’t very feasible, especially since relief generally only lasts for a few hours.

4. Long-Term Pain Relief With TENS And Medication Isn’t Guaranteed

Additionally, the primary effect of TENS therapy is that the low-pulse currents help relax the area being treated, having a massaging effect that can improve blood flow, thereby temporarily reducing pain. On top of that, these currents can help block pain signals; however, the moment you remove the electrodes, the pain signals start to return. 

TENS can also help stimulate the release of endorphins, but this is temporary as well. As such, TENS is similar to pain medication in that they do not address the root cause of the problem, they simply mask the symptoms. As such, they are not effective for long-term pain relief.

5. There Is Not Enough Proof That TENS Units Work In The Long Run

Although TENS therapy has been shown to provide short-term pain relief, there is no guarantee that it will be effective for long-term pain management. Countless studies have been done on the efficacy of TENS therapy on chronic pain conditions, and no consensus has yet been found. A few studies have found that there is some benefit, while others have found that there is none or that there is insufficient evidence to make a determination either way.

As such, it’s difficult to determine whether TENS therapy is effective in the long run or not. While many people claim to have seen positive results from TENS therapy, more research must be done to make a definitive conclusion. 

However, due to the limited wavelength at which TENS units operate (especially at-home units), it’s unlikely that TENS can dramatically impact chronic pain relief over the long term.

There’s A Better Way Of Managing Ankle Pain

Our Neuragenex protocol involves a Neurofunctional Pain Management approach, which means that we combine multiple whole-person treatment modalities to treat the root cause of your ankle pain. Like TENS therapy, our pain management solutions are drug-free, non-chiropractic, non-surgical, and non-invasive. 

However, unlike TENS therapy, our treatment solutions, which include electroanalgesia, nutritional hydration therapy, and lifestyle counseling, help provide long-term relief from chronic pain caused by various conditions, such as ankle sprains and tendonitis.


There are many forms of electrical stimulation, TENS therapy being one of them. However, we use electroanalgesia therapy instead. One of the main differences between the two forms of electrical stimulation treatment is that electroanalgesia uses high-pulse currents. 

Compared to TENS therapy, which tops out at 400 pulses a second, our electroanalgesia machine delivers electrical current at 8,300 pulses per second.

Electroanalgesia is much more effective because it can target pain fibers in the neurons, thereby reducing the intensity of pain signals sent to the brain. It’s also more effective at stimulating the release of endorphins. 

It’s worth noting that an at-home TENS unit can’t come close to delivering such a high electrical current because it requires a much greater voltage. As such, any electrical stimulation device that delivers more than 200 pulses per second isn’t safe for home use and needs to be administered by a trained medical provider.

Nutritional Hydration Therapy

In addition to electroanalgesia, we also use a form of nutritional hydration therapy as part of our Neurofunctional Pain Management approach. This involves injecting targeted nutrients and fluids into specific parts of the body to help reduce inflammation, stimulate healing, and provide long-term pain relief. 

We tailor our IV treatment to each patient’s specific needs by evaluating their bloodwork to determine if any deficiencies or imbalances need to be addressed.

Nutritional hydration therapy is beneficial for anyone dealing with chronic ankle pain since IV treatment can help to reduce inflammation around the ankle, thereby reducing any associated pain. Additionally, IV treatment can help to accelerate the healing process by providing essential nutrients and fluids that promote tissue regeneration.

Lifestyle Counseling And Patient Education

As part of our whole-person approach to pain management, we also provide lifestyle counseling and patient education. We believe that for any treatment plan to be effective, patients need to better understand their condition and how to best manage it. 

That’s why we provide our patients with information about lifestyle modifications specific to their condition, such as improved nutrition and exercise, that can help to reduce their ankle pain and improve their overall well-being.

Treat Your Ankle Pain Safely And Efficiently

TENS therapy can be helpful when it comes to getting short-term relief from acute ankle pain. However, if you’re dealing with chronic or severe ankle pain, the Neurofunctional Pain Management protocol is a much more effective solution. 

True electroanalgesia is more effective at targeting the root cause of your ankle pain to deliver greater, long-term pain relief than any at-home electrical stimulation device is capable of. 

Combined with our nutritional hydration therapy and lifestyle counseling, the Neuragenex protocol helps to better equip you with the tools necessary to manage your ankle pain effectively. It’s safe, effective, and designed to help you live a happier, more active life without the limitations associated with chronic ankle pain.

TENS Unit For TMJ: Is It Strong Enough To Relieve Your Pain?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition affecting the muscles surrounding your jaw and temporomandibular joints, causing pain when you talk or chew. Symptoms of TMJ include jaw stiffness, headaches, earaches, clicking sounds in the jaw joint, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, and popping sensations in the surrounding muscles.

Various factors can contribute to the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ, including stress, posture, teeth grinding or clenching, arthritis, and jaw injuries. Fortunately, there are some treatment solutions available. 

For example, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is one of the most popular ways to relieve TMJ pain. However, you might wonder if TENS units are effective and whether there are better solutions available.

TMJ Pain And TENS Therapy

TENS machines are a popular treatment option for TMJ pain because of their relatively low cost and ease of use. Generally speaking, TENS therapy sessions should last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Additionally, you don’t have to be a licensed specialist to use TENS units. In fact, there are TENS units available for home use.

How Does A TENS Unit Work to Relieve TMJ Pain?

TENS units work by sending a mild electrical current through electrodes placed on the affected area. These electrical currents help reduce pain by stimulating nerve fibers in the affected area, which can decrease muscle spasms and reduce inflammation.

The Benefits of Using a TENS For TMJ Pain

There are several ways in which a TENS unit can help to relieve TMJ pain. The following are the benefits of a TENS unit:

Reduces Inflammation

TENS therapy works by stimulating the nerve endings in your body. As a result, the nerves send signals to the brain to release chemicals that reduce inflammation. This can help to reduce the swelling associated with TMJ.

Improves Blood Flow

TENS therapy can improve blood flow to the affected area by increasing oxygenation and circulation. It does this by stimulating the nerves to release endorphins, which can improve circulation.

Promotes Endorphin Production

TENS units can also promote the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that are produced by the body. Endorphins help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with TMJ.

Reduces Prescription Drug Use

Using a TENS unit to relieve pain from TMJ can help reduce your need for prescription drugs. The less dependent you are on prescription medications for pain relief, the better since many prescription drugs come with side effects and can be potentially habit-forming.

Decreases Stress

Many people with TMJ grind their teeth, which is often caused by stress. STENS therapy can relieve stress by activating the body’s natural relaxation response. This occurs when TENS therapy stimulates the body’s nerves to release endorphins and other chemicals that help to reduce stress. Not to mention that electrical stimulation has a massaging effect, which can also help reduce stress.

Is An At-Home TENS Unit Strong Enough To Relieve TMJ Pain?

At-home TENS units are particularly convenient because they allow you to treat your TMJ pain without having to visit a specialist. As a result, you can use the TENS unit the moment you begin feeling pain or discomfort instead of needing to wait for a specialist. 

However, while these units are generally effective at providing some relief from TMJ symptoms, they may not be strong enough to relieve your pain completely. Nor will it provide long-term relief. TENS units can provide relief for a few hours after use, but are not generally effective for long-term pain relief (especially if the pain is more than mild discomfort).

The following are a few reasons why TENS units simply aren’t that effective for long-term relief from moderate to severe pain caused by TMJ:

Required Current And Wavelength To Be Effective

At-home TENS units are designed to be safe for anyone to use at home. As such, the current and wavelength of these devices are not as powerful or effective as those used in a physician’s office.

This is because the low voltage current used by TENS units is not strong enough to penetrate deep into muscle tissue and reach the affected nerves. Additionally, the wavelength of the electrical current must also be precise as it needs to target the affected muscles and nerve endings. 

To receive electrical stimulation that is strong enough to penetrate deep down into the muscle tissue and provide more effective relief, you would need to visit a medical professional.

Insurance Coverage

Because TENS units are not strong enough to provide long-term relief from TMJ pain, medical professionals cannot typically bill insurance companies for using this type of intervention. Therefore, if you want to relieve TMJ pain through a TENS unit, you may need to pay for it out of pocket.

How Neuragenex Approaches Pain Caused By TMJ 

Here at Neuragenex, we take a Neurofunctional Pain Management approach to treat TMJ. As such, we apply various treatments to help address the root cause of TMJ, not just the symptoms. We also use non-opioid, non-chiropractic, drug-free, non-invasive treatment solutions. 

As a result, we can help TMJ patients to find long-term relief from their chronic pain without resorting to any risky treatments.

The following are the treatment modalities that we use as part of our whole-person approach to treating TMJ:


Electroanalgesia is an FDA-cleared treatment solution that is covered by insurance. Electroanalgesia is similar to TENS therapy in that they both use electrical currents to provide pain relief. As such, electroanalgesia therapy also helps block pain signals, release endorphins, and massage the affected area to provide relief. 

However, unlike TENS therapy, electroanalgesia can penetrate deeper into muscle tissue and reach the affected nerves. This is because electroanalgesia uses high-pulse currents to reach the affected nerves, allowing for more effective, long-term pain relief.

Unlike TENS therapy, which only provides temporary relief after use, electroanalgesia becomes more effective the more sessions you undergo. Therefore, we recommend two electroanalgesia sessions a week for 12 weeks for long-lasting pain relief from TMJ.

IV Therapy

In addition to electrical stimulation therapy, we also offer IV therapy. IV treatment involves the administration of vitamins and minerals directly into your bloodstream. This is beneficial for TMJ pain relief as it helps reduce inflammation and provide essential micronutrients, thereby reducing pain and improving the healing of soft tissue damage caused by TMJ. 

IV therapy also helps to restore balance to the nervous system and improve overall well-being. In addition, we tailor our IV therapy treatments to each patient based on their bloodwork, thereby ensuring that we address any nutrient deficiencies contributing to their TMJ pain.

Lifestyle Counseling

At Neuragenex, we recognize that many lifestyle factors can contribute to TMJ pain. As such, we also offer lifestyle counseling in addition to providing electrical stimulation and IV therapy. 

We work with our patients to identify any potential lifestyle factors contributing to their TMJ pain, such as stress and poor posture. We then work with them to develop an individualized plan to help address these factors to address their pain and improve their quality of life.

Take A Step Towards A Pain-Free Life With Neuragenex

At Neuragenex, we understand the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ. That’s why we apply a whole-person approach to treating the condition, combining electrical stimulation therapy, IV therapy, and lifestyle counseling to provide long-term relief. 

Our goal is to achieve a lasting solution to your TMJ pain, so you can return to living a normal and healthy life. Let us help you find the pain relief you deserve today.

Different Types Of Exercises For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can be a real issue in many people’s lives. It can be caused by an injury, poor posture, and even just normal aging. Fortunately, there are many treatment solutions available. However, not all of those solutions are ideal. For example, we always recommend against surgery or pain medications, both of which are risky and can have long-term adverse effects.

At Neuragenex, we take a whole-person approach, which includes the implementation of lifestyle counseling as part of our treatment protocol. As far as back pain goes, we may recommend different types of exercises tailored to the individual patient. With the proper exercise program, you can reduce chronic lower back pain and mitigate future pain and other issues.

Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a very common issue people face. It is estimated that up to 80% of people may experience discomfort or pain in their lower back at some point in their lives. The reason lower back pain is so prevalent is that there are so many different issues that can contribute to it. Some of the common causes of lower back pain include:

Poor Posture

Poor posture can be caused by sitting in the same position for too long, or it can simply result from poor habits, such as slouching when sitting or sleeping in an awkward position. Poor posture can cause the lower back muscles to become tense and strained, leading to pain and discomfort.

Muscle/Ligament Strain

Muscle strain is caused by sudden or repetitive movements that put too much stress on the lower back muscles. This can range from heavy lifting to being active for extended periods of time. Ligament strain, however, usually occurs when a joint moves beyond its normal range of motion, such as twisting suddenly or stretching too far. Such injuries often result from playing sports or participating in other recreational activities.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can be caused by various factors, including trauma, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis. These issues can occur due to a single event (such as an accident) or result from long-term wear and tear. Nerve damage is usually characterized by a shooting or burning pain in the lower back that can radiate down the legs. 

Nerve damage may also cause numbness and tingling in the affected area. If left untreated, nerve damage can also cause muscle weakness and even paralysis.

Spinal Degeneration/ Injury

Spinal degeneration occurs over the course of years, resulting from normal wear and tear on the spine. As people age, the discs in their spine become less flexible, and the joints begin to stiffen. This could lead to pain and discomfort in the lower back. Trauma, such as a car accident, can also lead to a spinal injury that can cause lower back pain.

How Exercises Ease Lower Back Pain

Specific exercises can be incredibly effective at helping to reduce your lower back pain. The following are some examples of how exercise can benefit your lower back issues:

Improves Mobility

Certain exercises can help to improve your mobility by stretching and strengthening the muscles of your lower back. This helps to reduce tension in the area and can improve your range of motion and flexibility. As a result, you may experience less pain and discomfort when moving around. Also, increased flexibility can help prevent you from aggravating your lower back pain with sudden movements.

Reduces Pain In The Affected Area

Exercise can help to reduce the pain in your lower back by strengthening the muscles and ligaments of the affected area. This helps to support the spine, relieve tension, and mitigate further injury. Additionally, increased blood flow can help to reduce inflammation in the affected area, which can reduce pain.

Enhances Bodily Strength

Exercises specifically designed to target the muscles of the lower back can help enhance their strength and stability. This can provide long-term relief from pain and discomfort by decreasing the strain placed on your lower back. Additionally, improving your strength can help you to move more freely, reducing the likelihood of further injury.

Precautions Before Exercising

Although certain exercises can be incredibly beneficial for your lower back, they can be detrimental if you’re not doing them properly — or if the exercises you’re doing are too strenuous. To ensure that you’re protecting your lower back, here are a few precautions to keep in mind before engaging in any form of exercise:

  • Focusing On Low-Impact Movements: Low-impact activities like walking and swimming can be good for your lower back. These exercises place minimal strain on the lower back muscles, allowing you to improve your strength and flexibility without placing too much stress on the area. High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, can significantly strain your lower back muscles. If you already have lower back pain, avoiding these activities is best.
  • Engaging Muscles In A Balanced Way: When working out, it’s essential to focus on engaging all the muscles in your body in a balanced way. This ensures that you are evenly distributing strain and tension, preventing any one area from becoming too tight or sore. Additionally, make sure to alternate between exercises that focus on different areas of the body to ensure that you are targeting all your muscles evenly.
  • Listening To Your Body: When exercising and easing lower back pain, listening to your body is critical. Don’t push yourself too much. If an exercise is causing pain or discomfort, it’s best to stop and rest. Additionally, make sure to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your exercises as you become stronger. This may help to prevent injury and keep you from doing too much too quickly.
  • Modifying Exercises To Fit Your Condition: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. You should modify the exercises you do so they don’t aggravate your back pain. Doing so may require the help of a professional, who can help you to determine which exercises and movements are best suited for your body.

Types Of Lower Back Pain Exercises

When it comes to lower back pain, there are several different exercises that can help to improve flexibility, range of motion, and strength, thereby helping to reduce pain and discomfort. The following are the different types of lower back pain exercises that we may recommend as part of our lifestyle counseling services:


Stretching can relieve pain and tension in the lower back by increasing flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, stretching helps to reduce stiffness and tension in the lower back muscles, allowing for more comfortable movement. To ensure that your stretching is effective and safe, focusing on proper form and targeting the right muscles is critical. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid twisting and extending simultaneously. 

The following are some of the stretching exercises that tend to be appropriate for patients with lower back pain:

  • Hamstring Stretch: This stretch targets the back leg muscles and helps reduce stiffness. Hamstring stretches help reduce lower back pain by improving the range of motion in the hips and lower back. To do this stretch, lie on your back with one knee bent. Extend the other leg straight. Gently press down on the thigh of the bent leg while keeping your back flat against the floor. Hold for at least 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch legs.
  • Child’s Pose: This stretching exercise is excellent for releasing tension in the lower back muscles. To do this stretch, start on your hands and knees with your arms extended forward and your buttocks resting on your heels. Gently move your torso towards the floor while extending your arms until a gentle stretch is felt in the lower back. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Spine Twist: This stretch helps to release tension in the lower back muscles and improve flexibility. Begin on your back and extend your arms out to your sides. Gently bring your knees towards your chest, and then let them fall to one side while keeping the other shoulder on the floor. Hold for at least 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
  • Shoulder Roll: This stretching exercise helps to release tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. To do this stretch, start by sitting with your arms at your sides. Let your palms rest on the floor. Gently roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down in a circular motion. Repeat 10 times.
  • Side-Lying Leg Lift: This exercise helps strengthen the lower back and hip muscles. To do this exercise, lay on your side with your bottom leg bent and your top leg extended straight out. Gently lift your top leg towards the ceiling, without lifting your hips off the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then lower back down. Repeat 10 times on each side.
  • Knee To Chest Stretch: This stretch targets the muscles of the lower back and buttocks, helping to reduce stiffness and pain. Lie on your back and then bend your knees upwards. Gently bring one knee up towards your chest, while keeping the other leg on the floor. Hold for around 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch legs.

Core Strengthening

Strengthening the core muscles is essential for managing lower back pain. The core muscles help provide stability and support for the spine, which helps reduce pain and discomfort by improving posture and mobility. Additionally, if you have a strong core, you’ll be better able to manage and reduce the strain on your lower back. The following are a few core strengthening exercises that can help you manage lower back pain:

  • Planks: Planks are an excellent exercise for improving core strength and stability. To do a plank, start in a push-up position with your arms extended straight and your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull your navel towards your spine to engage your core muscles, and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Glute Bridges: Glute bridges are a fantastic exercise for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and core. To do a glute bridge, lie flat on your back. Then, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. Engage your core muscles by squeezing them together, and then lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. Hold for a couple of seconds before lowering back down.
  • Leg/Hip Lift: This exercise is great for strengthening the core, glutes, and hamstrings. To do this exercise, start by lying on your back with one knee bent. Extend the other leg straight up in the air. Engage your core, and then slowly lift your hips off the ground. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then lower back down.

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

Low-impact aerobic exercises can be an effective way to manage lower back pain. These exercises are gentle on your joints, reduce the strain on your lower back, and help improve your overall cardiovascular fitness. They can also help you lose weight, which may relieve some of the pressure off your back. Some examples of low-impact aerobic exercises include the following:

  • Walking: Taking a walk is an easy way to increase your heart rate and improve overall fitness. It’s also relatively low-impact, so it won’t put too much strain on your lower back. Just make sure to wear shoes with good support.
  • Swimming: Swimming is a great way to get an aerobic workout without putting too much strain on your lower back. The buoyancy of the water supports some of your weight, so it’s not as hard on your joints.
  • Recumbent Cycling: Recumbent bikes are a great way to get an aerobic workout without putting too much strain on your lower back. They provide the support for your lower back, allowing you to pedal with less strain and discomfort.

Exercises To Avoid With Back Pain

While some exercises can help manage lower back pain, certain activities may aggravate it. Any exercise that puts too much strain on your lower back should be avoided. These include activities such as the following:

Toe Touches

Toe touches can be hard on your lower back as they require you to bend over and reach for your toes. This can put too much strain on your lower back, so it should be avoided if you’re experiencing pain.

Heavy Weight Lifting

Lifting heavy weights of any kind can put too much strain on your lower back, so it should be avoided if you’re experiencing pain. If you want to do strength training, focus on low-weight exercises that don’t require you to lift more than your own body weight.

Situps and Abdominal Crunches

Situps and abdominal crunches can be hard on your lower back as they require you to lift your torso off the floor. Doing so may put too much strain on your lower back because of the resulting torque. If you’re trying to improve your core strength, focus on exercises like planks and glute bridges instead.

Leg Lifts/ Double Leg Raises

Leg lifts and double leg raises can be dangerous for people with lower back pain, as they require you to lift both legs off the ground. This puts a great deal of strain on your lower back and should be avoided if you’re experiencing pain.

When To See A Physician For Your Lower Back Pain

If you have mild to moderate lower back pain, many of these exercises — along with simple rest — can help reduce your discomfort. However, if your pain is more severe or does not improve with rest and exercise, it is vital to seek medical help. At this point, you’ll want a proper diagnosis of what’s causing your lower back so that your treatment (including exercises) can be tailored to your specific condition.

Regain Your Movement Without Experiencing Lower Back Pain

Exercise can be an effective way to manage lower back pain. However, it’s essential to focus on exercises that don’t put too much strain on your lower back and avoid those which can exacerbate the pain. At Neuragenex, we provide lifestyle advice as part of our whole-person approach to pain management. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend various exercises in conjunction with our drug-free, non-chiropractic, non-invasive forms of treatment to help you regain your movement without experiencing lower back pain.

High-Dose PRP for Spondylolisthesis

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is a minimally invasive, cutting-edge therapy for treating musculoskeletal pain. It uses the body’s healing agents to reduce pain and inflammation. PRP can be used to treat a variety of issues, including those related to joints, muscles, and bones. It can also be used to treat spondylolisthesis; a condition in which one vertebra slips out of place and causes pain.

Understanding Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a common condition that affects between four and six percent of all children and five to 10 percent of adults, according to a study conducted by David Gendelberg, MD. The condition can cause pain in the lower back area and make it challenging to move around. The following is a breakdown of the spondylolisthesis subcategories, causes, risk factors, and symptoms:

Subcategories of Spondylolisthesis

The following are the most common types of spondylolisthesis:

  • Dysplastic: This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by an abnormality in the development of the spine joints at birth. It is usually congenital and tends to be more common in children. Because the defect can weaken the facet joints, the vertebrae are more likely to be knocked out of alignment due to everyday movements.
  • Isthmic: This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by a fracture in the pars interarticularis (a strip of bone connecting the vertebrae at the facet joints). This condition generally occurs in children between the ages of five and seven; however, it may not be diagnosed until adulthood after the joints have degenerated, resulting in spondylolisthesis. 
  • Degenerative: This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by the natural wear and tear of joints, making it a common result of osteoarthritis. It usually occurs in older individuals over 60 years old. Degenerative spondylolisthesis often results in additional symptoms, such as muscular weakness in the hamstrings.
  • Traumatic: This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by an injury or trauma to the spine. For example, if you fall down the stairs and the impact of the ground knocks your vertebrae out of alignment.
  • Pathologic: This type of spondylolisthesis is caused by a disease (such as Paget’s disease or osteomyelitis) or a tumor that weakens the points of attachment that hold together the vertebrae, making it more vulnerable to slipping out of place.

Common Causes And Risk Factors

Although one of the significant causes of spondylolisthesis is injury (it often occurs in athletes while playing physical sports), it’s important to note that the condition has a genetic component present in 15 to 69 percent of patients. In fact, many patients who believe they can trace their condition back to a traumatic injury may have a family history of the condition that could be just as likely to blame. Keeping this in mind, other risk factors for spondylolisthesis include the following:

  • Injuries and trauma from accidents
  • Abnormal wear and tear on the spinal bones
  • Additional stress from sports and other strenuous activities
  • Concurrent conditions such as arthritis and bone disease
  • Prior damage from fractures, tumors, or bone abnormalities

Common Symptoms

Not everybody with spondylolisthesis will experience symptoms; in fact, many people go years without being diagnosed with the condition because they never experienced symptoms. With that in mind, the following are some of the most common symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle tightness
  • Pain and numbness in the thighs or buttocks
  • Tenderness in the area of the dislocated vertebra
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Stiffness
  • Changes in posture and gait

Why Treatment Matters

If left untreated, spondylolisthesis can cause many issues that affect more than just back pain. Due to the misalignment of the spine, it can put pressure on nerves and cause neurological conditions, meaning the nerves don’t transmit properly. This can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness throughout the body– including in the legs and feet.

 Furthermore, untreated spondylolisthesis can cause a person to lose their balance more easily and have difficulty walking. It can also lead to a decrease in bladder control. All of these issues can seriously impact your quality of life, making it vital to seek treatment as soon as possible.

PRP Injection For Spondylolisthesis: An Alternative To Surgery

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a promising alternative to traditional surgery to treat spondylolisthesis. However, surgical procedures to correct the condition are often invasive and can cause additional damage to surrounding tissues. They’re incredibly risky because the spine needs to be manipulated for the vertebrae to be corrected. Not to mention that there’s always the risk of complications, such as infections, when it comes to surgery. Surgical procedures can result in long recovery times, can be incredibly expensive, and aren’t guaranteed success.

On the other hand, PRP injections are a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat spondylolisthesis and other back conditions. A high dose of PRP is injected directly into the affected area, which helps to promote the natural healing process.

How PRP Works

PRP is made from a sample of the patient’s own blood. It contains growth factors, proteins, and other substances that can promote healing and reduce inflammation. When PRP is injected into an area of tissue damage or injury, it triggers a cascade of repair processes in the body.

When treating spondylolisthesis, a higher dose of PRP is ideal because it contains a greater concentration of growth factors and proteins. This helps stimulate the body’s healing process while reducing inflammation around the area of injury. This increased dosage is also more likely to promote a longer-term solution as opposed to short-term relief of symptoms.

What The Research Says

Numerous studies have been done to research the effectiveness of high-dose PRP treatments as an alternative to surgery for treating spondylolisthesis. One recent study conducted in 2022 and led by Dr. Dalia Saif involved comparing a group of 100 patients with grade-1 degenerative spondylolisthesis. Half of the group underwent surgery, while the other half underwent three high-dose PRP injections into their facet-joint capsules. Both groups of patients were found to have improvements in pain and function. Those who underwent surgery have sustained results for nine months of the study period. In contrast, those who underwent PRP treatment sustained results for 12 months.

Not only did the PRP treatment yield effective results that lasted longer, but when comparing three injections to an invasive surgical procedure, PRP is a much safer and more convenient alternative.

What To Expect From High-Dose PRP Treatment

Depending on the diagnosis and the severity of the condition, a patient may need to undergo several PRP injections. Generally speaking, two to six injections are recommended, spaced one to two weeks apart. The following are the things you can expect during each part of the PRP treatment process:

  • Preparation: Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, you’ll need to refrain from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for at least two weeks before your PRP treatment. These NSAIDS include ibuprofen and aspirin. This can be difficult to do, especially if you take these medications as pain relief. However, their anti-inflammatory properties can be counterproductive. This is because the inflammation can provoke the body to heal, which means that the PRP injections are more likely to be effective within a shorter period.
  • Procedure: The treatment begins by drawing blood from your arm. The PRP in your blood will then be separated and injected back into your body at the site of the injury. Using ultrasound guidance, the PRP will be injected into the proper ligaments, tendons, and joints. The entire procedure shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
  • Post-Treatment: You should avoid washing or using lotions on the area where the PRP was injected for at least 48 hours. Additionally, if the PRP treatment was injected into your tendons, you should avoid strenuous exercises or activities for two to three weeks. As for side effects, expect the injection site to feel sore for a few days. You may also experience mild swelling, bruising, and numbness in the area as well. However, those effects should go away within a couple of days.

Gain The Benefits Of High-Dose PRP Injections

At Orthagenex, we provide high-dose PRP injections as an effective and safe treatment option for spondylolisthesis. As an alternative to surgery, our PRP injections provide long-term pain relief while promoting the body’s natural healing process. In addition, they’re minimally invasive and require a much shorter recovery than surgery.

If you’re considering PRP injections for spondylolisthesis, we encourage you to contact us for more information and discuss your treatment options. We look forward to helping you achieve relief from chronic spondylolisthesis pain and help improve your quality of life.