Recent research on the role of Prolotherapy as treatment for clinical cervical spine instability (CCSI) and chronic neck pain.
Researchers Investigated the role of Prolotherapy in the reduction of pain and symptoms associated with increased cervical intervertebral motion, structural deformity and irritation of nerve roots.
Twenty-one study participants were selected from patients seen for the primary complaint of neck pain. Following a series of Prolotherapy injections patient reported assessments were measured using questionnaire data, including range of motion (ROM), crunching, stiffness, pain level, numbness, and exercise ability, between 1 and 39 months post-treatment (average = 24 months).
- Ninety-five percent of patients reported that Prolotherapy met their expectations in regards to pain relief and functionality. Significant reductions in pain at rest, during normal activity, and during exercise were reported.
- Eighty-six percent of patients reported overall sustained improvement, while 33 percent reported complete functional recovery.
- Thirty-one percent of patients reported complete relief of all recorded symptoms. No adverse events were reported.
We concluded that statistically significant reductions in pain and functionality, indicating the safety and viability of Prolotherapy for cervical spine instability.1
Prolotherapy for Cervical Neck Instability
Cervical instability will change a person’s life, and not for the better. With one bump on the head or a wrong twist of the neck, a whirlwind of symptoms start. Many MRIs, CT scans and x-rays later, each clinician gives another explanation for the person’s symptoms and they are thrust into a myriad of medications, treatments and surgeries without relief.
Eventually the patient goes to pain management and is placed on long-term narcotics. Often the families and even spouses do not understand because the person “looks normal.” As physician after physician fails to relieve the suffering, doubt creeps in as to whether or not the person has a “real” illness.
Relationships start to fail. It is a nightmare until one day the person or somebody they know discovers Prolotherapy. As they read about it, a little spark wells up in their soul. That little spark is called hope.
Since so few physicians understand cervical instability, this diagnosis is missed more than any other. It is hard to describe with words the life-giving effects of Prolotherapy for those with cervical instability. Spinal stability, the spine’s ability to react with strength to multiple forces placed on it, can be restored with Prolotherapy! Degeneration, especially in the cervical spine, increases instability. When patients ask me (Dr. Hauser) which is my favorite condition to treat, I can enthusiastically say, “The neck!” because I believe that Prolotherapy has life-changing potential for those with cervical instability.
Cervical instability is often the missing diagnosis (the cause) for the following neck conditions and symptoms:
- whiplash associated disorder
- post-concussion syndrome
- migraine headaches
- temporomandibular dysfunction
- Meniere’s disease
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- postural orthostatic hypotension syndrome (POTS)
- tension headaches and many others
What most people do not know is that right now they have mechanical cervical instability. As we all spend more time bent over texting on smartphones, hunched over a computer or reading, we are slowly stretching the ligaments in our necks. We may not yet have symptoms, but note our spinal curves are changing.
It is almost unheard of today to see a normal cervical lordotic curve; even pre-adolescent children have straight curves because of all the looking down they do while playing games on their smartphones or tablets. The chronic loss of the lordotic curve occurs because the ligaments in the neck are stretched out. The long-term danger of this is that the forces on the facet joints and discs in the neck to hold the head up are substantially increased. This makes these areas more vulnerable to injury during whiplash or other neck forces. The loss of the cervical curve can occur acutely after a whiplash, but when the curve is lost long-term, its primary cause is ligament injury. When the lordotic curve is lost, Prolotherapy is needed for cervical stability along with certain unique curve correction techniques with chest and head weights (further information later in this chapter).
The definition of mechanical instability is the inability of the fasteners of the bones (ligaments) to hold the bones in proper alignment when the neck is moved or has force on it. This cervical instability causes destructive joint motions to occur which can eventually injure the facet joints, cervical discs and other ligaments and structures that are vital to neck stability. When the ligaments are already injured, all it takes is a little bump on the head or a wrong twist of the neck and the person will end up having functional or symptomatic cervical instability. In short, the term “cervical instability” refers to the inability of the cervical spine to maintain relationships between vertebrae to resist the physiological (normal) load on it without the person feeling pain or any other symptom from neurological dysfunction. Right now you may even have a symptom such as ringing in the ears, fatigue, irritable bowel, headache, or stiffness in your neck and not realize it is because of cervical instability! When cervical instability is present, the body tries to protect the spinal cord, cervical nerves and autonomic nerves from harm by stabilizing the spine via muscle spasms and facet joint swelling. Realize this is only a temporary measure. The muscle tightness that causes much of the pain is not the primary problem! Anyone needing chronic chiropractic or massage care on their neck to relieve the pain and muscle spasms most likely has cervical instability. If you are on a medication for muscle spasms or migraines, you most likely have cervical instability. The only long-term solution when cervical instability is present is treatment that cause ligament tightening and limit adjacent vertebral bone motion such as Comprehensive Prolotherapy to the neck.
The host of symptoms that cervical instability causes is immense. Everything from symptoms in the leg to whole body neuropathy to diffuse body pain can come from cervical instability in the neck. This occurs because the whole electric grid of the human body has to pass through the neck to go to and from the central processing stations in the brainstem and brain to get to the extremities and organs. The place where this electric grid gets blocked the most is in the upper cervical spine. Because it is the part of the body with the most mobility but least stability, it is easily injured. For example, consider a tree. How do you know when the tree is sick? What is the first symptom? The distal leaves on the tree start turning brown. Does this mean it is a leaf problem? No, it is a problem with the trunk or root system. To cure the problem of the leaves turning brown, you have to make sure the nutritional supply from the roots to the trunk and then out to the leaves is healthy. The same thing goes for the human body. Every cell and organ in the body needs a strong, consistent nerve supply to it for health, renewal and restoration. Any type of injury or blockage of the electrical system will have wide-damaging manifestations.
1 Hauser R, Steilen D, Gordin K The Biology of Prolotherapy and Its Application in Clinical Cervical Spine Instability and Chronic Neck Pain: A Retrospective Study. European Journal of Preventive Medicine. Vol. 3, No. 4, 2015, pp. 85-102. doi: 10.11648/j.ejpm.20150304.11