Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yeouido St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
BACKGROUND Patient with chronic nonspecific low back pain is weakened ligament, and prolotherapy is the effective treatment but their use remains controversial. These ligaments can be strengthened by platelet-rich plasma injection. We hypothesized that the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma injection and prolotherapy may decrease pain and improved disability of patient with chronic low back pain. METHODS This study was a
prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial and was conducted for 3 years for patient enroll and follow-up. Thirty-four patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain (duration of at least 3 months) refectory to conventional management were randomized to platelet-rich plasma injection and lidocaine injection. Patients were treated with weekly platelet-rich plasma or lidocaine injections at the lumbopelvic ligaments for 2 weeks and then weekly prolotherapy with 15% glucose for 2 weeks and followed up 6 months. Visual analog scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire were evaluated at initial, 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Four patients did not complete this trial. Three were in the platelet-rich plasma injection and 1 was in the lidocaine injection. RESULTS The intensity of pain was significantly decreased in platelet-rich plasma injections at 6 months as compared lidocaine injections; between-group differences were 0.9 (95% confidence interval 0.10-1.75 [P = .027]). All participants were significantly decreased pain and disability index at 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months but there were no significant differences between groups except for visual analog scale at 6 months. The baseline parameters were no significant differences in both groups. CONCLUSIONS In chronic nonspecific low back pain, the platelet-rich plasma injection in combination with prolotherapy is an effective intervention and either lidocaine or platelet-rich plasma injection significantly reduced disability. And injection at the lumbopelvic ligaments using the platelet-rich plasma and prolotherapy is also an effective treatment for pain.