Dextrose Prolotherapy For Unresolved Neck Pain


Ross A. Hauser, MD & Marion A. Hauser, MS, RD


The optimal long-term, symptomatic therapy for chronic neck pain has not been established. Accordingly, we investigated the outcomes of patients undergoing Hemwall-Hackett Dextrose Prolotherapy treatment for unresolved neck pain at a charity clinic in rural Illinois. We studied a sample of 98 patients who had suffered with pain on average for 59 months and seen over 3 physicians prior to being treated quarterly with Prolotherapy. On average 18 months following their last Prolotherapy session, patients were contacted and asked numerous questions in regard to their levels of pain and a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, as well as activities of daily living, before and after their last Prolotherapy treatment. The results of this study showed that patients had a statistically significant decline in their level of pain, stiffness and crunching sensation with Prolotherapy. This included clients who were told by their M.D. (s) that there were no other treatment options or that surgery was their only answer for their chronic pain. More than 83% of patients showed improvements in walking ability, exercise ability, anxiety, depression and overall disability with Prolotherapy. Ninety percent of patients who were on medications at the start of Prolotherapy were able to cut their pain medication usage by 50% or more. Additional pain management care was able to be lessened by 50% or more in 75% of cases with Prolotherapy. Ninety-eight percent of patients stated their pain was better with Prolotherapy. Ninety-seven percent of patients said Prolotherapy changed their life for the better.

To investigate the outcomes of patients undergoing Hemwall-Hackett dextrose Prolotherapy treatment for chronic neck pain at an outpatient charity clinic in rural Illinois.

Patients and Methods:
Patients with unresolved neck pain were treated with the Hemwall-Hackett technique of dextrose Prolotherapy every three months and were included into an observational study. The patients were called on the phone and asked to answer detailed questions on the level of their neck pain, medication usage, stiffness, walking ability, exercise ability, anxiety, depression, activities of daily living and other quality of life issues before and after receiving dextrose Prolotherapy.

A total of 98 neck patients were treated from 2000 to 2005 with dextrose Prolotherapy. They had an average starting pain level of 5.6, stiffness of 6.7 and crunching sensation of 5.1. Their ending pain, stiffness and crunch sensation levels were 2.3, 2.4 and 2.1 respectively. For the subset of 43 patients who were told by their M.D. (s) that no other treatment options for their chronic pain were available the starting pain level was 5.2, stiffness 6.7 and crunching sensation 6.3. Their ending pain, stiffness and crunching sensation levels were 2.7, 2.5, and 2.6 respectively. Twenty-one of the patients were told that neck surgery was their only treatment option. These patients had a starting pain, stiffness and crunching sensation levels of 6.7, 6.3, 4.3 and ending levels after Prolotherapy of 2.0, 2.3, and 2.0 respectively. In all three of the groups (all patients, no other treatment options, and surgery only option) pain, stiffness and crunching sensation improvements with Prolotherapy reached statistical significance using a matched sample test. Overall 97% of patients had some pain relief with Prolotherapy. Ninety-one percent considered the Prolotherapy treatment on them to be very successful (greater than 50% pain relief). In regard to range of motion, prior to Prolotherapy only 29% had 75% or greater of normal range of motion but this increased to 81% after Prolotherapy. 92% of patients on medications and 78% of those using additional pain management care after Prolotherapy were able to decrease them by 50% or more.

In regard to quality of life issues before Prolotherapy, 48% of the chronic neck patients noted an overall disability of 50% or more (could only do half or less of the tasks they wanted to), whereas after Prolotherapy this decreased to 13%. Only 26% of patients could exercise greater than 30 minutes before Prolotherapy but 76% could do so after Prolotherapy. Prior to Prolotherapy, 53% of patients had feelings of depression and 61% had anxiety whereas, after Prolotherapy, only 16% had feelings of depression and 19% had anxious thoughts. While 79% of patients noted that pain interrupted sleep, 88% showed improvements in sleep after Prolotherapy. Ninety-nine percent of patients noted that Prolotherapy has changed their life for the better. Ninety-eight percent of patients said they still feel benefits from the Prolotherapy they received. Overall, 97% of patients had improvement in their pain with Prolotherapy.

In this observational study, patients with unresolved neck pain reported clinically relevant improvements in their pain level and quality of life after receiving Hemwall-Hackett dextrose Prolotherapy.

Complete research study: Hauser R, Hauser M. Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Neck Pain, Practical Pain Management, October 2007