Whiplash is injury to neck bones, discs (a sort of “cushion” between the bones of the spine) and, most commonly, the supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles. (the so-called “soft-tissues” of the neck)
Whiplash results from a sudden speeding up or slowing down, as in a car accident, when one is hit from behind or stops suddenly due to a front-end impact, and there is a violent backward and forward movement of the head.
Ligaments are like rubber bands that hold the bones in place. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Both can become weak or injured and may not heal back to their original condition.
This is because the blood supply to these parts is limited and healing is, therefore, slow and incomplete. They also have many nerve endings causing pain where the ligaments are damaged or loose.
Hippocrates, an ancient Greek doctor known as “the Father of Medicine” cured joint pain by plunging a red hot poker into the joint.
I don’t know if he ever used this remedy on neck joints and few modern patients are willing to endure this cure, so, for a very long time, whiplash sufferers have had no real option–other than tasty and delightful painkiller drugs–to eliminate the pain.
According to the advocates of “prolotherapy” those days are gone.
Thanks to this simple and clever scientific breakthrough, whiplash sufferers now have hope for restoration of the soft tissues that support neck bones.
Prolotherapy is injection of sugar water into the soft-tissues of the neck. The resulting inflammation increases blood supply and nutrient flow that stimulates the tissue to repair itself.
Prolotherapy is short for proliferative injection therapy. Proliferative refers to the tendency of the soft tissues to “proliferate” i.e. increase, with the treatment.
According to doctors who believe in this treatment, some patients may only need a few treatments while others many need 10 or more. The average number of treatments is reported to be 4-6.
As an injury attorney I have seen many clients suffer from whiplash. For many there appears to be no end in sight for the pain and stiffness from this injury.
A few years ago one of my clients underwent prolotherapy treatments. He was very happy with the increased stability and decreased pain in his neck that he attributed to the treatment.
Doctors who favor this treatment believe it can be used to cure other ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ and fibromyalgia. You can find a list of these at various prolotherapy websites.
A helpful article on the subject is found in the journal “PRACTICAL PAIN MANAGEMENT, in the January/February 2007 edition.
Prolotherapy is discussed in a book by Dr. Donna Alderman D.O. entitled “Free Yourself from Chronic Pain and Sports Injuries.” After seeing numerous patients with various joint pain issues, Dr. Alderman concluded the most successful treatment was prolotherapy.
For views from those who question the efficacy of this treatment visit the Quackwatch site.
Be sure to consult your personal doctor about whether prolotherapy is right for you.