The Use of Hormones for Chronic Pain

Forest Tennant, MD, DrPH
Journal of Prolotherapy. 2010;2(4):489-494.


Anabolic hormone therapies and Prolotherapy are innovative approaches to treating chronic pain. They are complimentary and can be simultaneously administered.


Hormone administration is progressively becoming more and more important in treatment of chronic pain. Some specific hormonal therapies offer the patient real opportunities to greatly reduce and even eliminate pain and suffering.2, 3 They can be simultaneously administered to patients who participate in Prolotherapy or take opioids which is the standard symptomatic medication now used by about 10 million Americans. In some cases hormone treatments are necessary to save a life or prevent incapacitation and suffering. This report reviews the hormone treatment and replacement needs that may exist in chronic pain patients. Many of these treatments can be simply and inexpensively incorporated as adjunctive measures to a practitioner’s current regimens.

Why hormones?

Proper pain treatment may require specific hormone administration. Adrenal corticoid hormones are long known to resolve inflammation and allow healing of injured and inflamed tissue sites. Proper blood levels of adrenal corticoids are also necessary to effectively treat patients with opioids and other pharmacologic agents that must cross the blood brain barrier and affect central nervous system receptors.2, 3 The claims and concerns about “hyperalgesia” are probably related to hormonal deficiencies that could be easily corrected.

Hyperalgesia – an increased sensitivity to pain.

The androgenic compounds testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) promote tissue growth and help regulate opioid receptors.5-7 Pregnenolone, the precursor of all adrenal and gonadal steroids, is critical for pain control mechanisms, but poorly recognized as essential to pain control. It is ubiquitous in brain and nervous tissue and interacts with gamma-amino-butyric acid and N-methl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors to help regulate neurogenic processes.8-12 The tissue building hormones, human growth hormone (HGH) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) are emerging as true breakthroughs in some pain patients.13-15 In particular, HCG is a relatively inexpensive compound that appears to permanently lower pain intensity in some pain patients.1 Besides hormone administration, the understanding of pain’s affects on the endocrine system, particularly the pituitary-adrenal-gonadal axis, is critical to help guide pain management. Excess pain causes catecholamine release resulting in tachycardia and hypertension. Pituitary, adrenal, or gonadal hypofunction may occur with unabated, uncontrolled, and undertreated pain, requiring a need for hormone replacement.

Read the full article at the Journal of Prolotherapy.

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