After low back pain, neck pain is probably one of the most frequent problems we see in the office that Prolotherapy is often successful in healing.
Aside from having neck pain, patients may also complain of associated symptoms like headaches, jaw pain, irritable bowel syndrome, Barre-Lieou Syndrome with associated facial pain, ear pain, vertigo, tinnitus, loss of voice, or hoarseness.
One reason neck pain is so prevalent is that the weight of the head is not proportionate to the strength and size of the neck. Often times, laxity in the ligaments creates pain down the arms, when most doctors think there is a radiculopathy, needing surgery.
I can’t remember one instance that I have recommended neck surgery. And be careful if you have pain down an arm which has been diagnosed as coming from a herniated disc. Prolotherapy injection treatment has been successful in ending the neck pain and the arm pain, no matter what the diagnosis is.
One of my patients came to me seeking pain relief from headaches. His surgeon told him that he had a herniated disc on the right side of his neck, and that without surgery, he would have terrible headaches the rest of his life. The headaches, however, were on the left side of the bottom of his head. When I touched his head (the occiput) he jumped, letting me know the headaches were coming from a sprain of the muscle attachments to the bottom of his head, and not from a herniated disc on the other side. After Prolotherapy treatment, the intensity of his head and neck pain is greatly diminished, and he is no longer taking anti-inflammatory medications.
Caller: I have, according to X-rays, spurs in my upper spine and my neck and also a slightly slipped disc, I wonder if Prolotherapy can help me.
Dr.: Do you have pain down your arms?
Dr.: Ok, then I don’t think you will have a problem with the spurs, the spurs are a signal to us that the vertebrae, more specifically the ligaments that attach them together are loose so you have instability in the spine. The spurs are growth of bone that the body does in order stabilize the vertebrae.
What we can do with the Prolotherapy is so simple, we just start an inflammatory response that starts the growth of collagen, thickens those ligaments, tights up the vertebrae so there is less instability and there is no need for the spurs to continue growing and typically it is then that the pain goes away.
It is very good news that you do not have pain in your arms because that is complicating factor.
MORNING NECK PAIN
Caller: I wake up in the morning with really bad neck pain, the pain is on the sides of my neck and I can’t turn my head right or left. I have tried different sleeping positions, different pillows, but that doesn’t help.
Dr.: Typically when someone describes this type of pain, it is usually a sprain of the neck muscles attached to the bone. Something people live with, sometimes all their lives, but it is something that can be easily fixed with Prolotherapy. We put a needle right into that spot, where the muscles attach to the bone. The Prolotherapy injections thicken up the tissue, it stimulates the body naturally to produce more Collagen and makes a better connection (like spot welding) of the muscle to the bone. Very often the pain goes away.
Caller: Is it a big needle?
Dr. Zul: No, it is a very small needle and we use an anesthetic before hand so you don’t feel anything.
Most people who think they are going to have a problem with needles don’t. I hear it all the time from first timers, they say, Dr. am afraid of needles but when they have their treatment they do just fine and they come back for more treatment!
Caller: I had my last injection of steroids of epidural yesterday. It was done in my neck and I am hoping that this really works because they were telling me that these injections come in a series of three and that the third one is usually the charm.
IS CRACKING MY NECK OKAY?
Caller: I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. What I do to help it is rotate my head and crack my neck because it helps relieve pressure, what is your feeling on that?
Dr. Zul: I would leave that (neck cracking) up to a professional to do if you need to have that done because you are stretching out your ligaments in order to get that crack or pop. Ligaments are in a sense like rubber bands, they hook bones to bones and they do get stretched out.
When the ligaments in the neck and spine get stretched out, that can cause chronic subluxation. This is where the vertebrae slip out of proper position and create pressure and irritate the spinal nerves.
Prolotherapy in my opinion is perfect for this because what Prolotherapy does is strengthen tendons and ligaments which are the connections between bones and muscles and bones and bones.
I can tell you for myself I used to have terrible neck pain, it felt like a dagger in the bottom of my neck on the side. I would turn my neck from side to side it was loud enough that you could hear it on the other side of the room, something we call crepitus, a grinding noise, I had Prolotherapy in my neck four times and that was it.