Neck pain and Lyme Disease: Will treating neck pain make Lyme Disease symptoms go away?

Ross Hauser, MD

In the many patients we see with cervical spine instability, chronic neck pain, and neurological challenges, there is sometimes a concurrent diagnosis of Lyme Disease. It is often thought that neck pain is a symptom of Lyme Disease, but, rarely do people consider that worsening or chronic Lyme disease symptoms are being caused by the neck pain or better described as cervical spine instability. It is this instability that may be causing disruption of the nervous system and blood flow into the brain.

In this article, we are going to address this instability aspect of Lyme Disease symptoms and treatments in people with Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome. These are people who have been treated for Lyme Disease, but as the syndrome implies, continue to have long-term problems. Neck pain is a common symptom of both cervical spine instability and Lyme disease. When a patient comes into our office, and they have a diagnosis of Lyme Disease and cervical spine instability, we often see that when the issues of cervical instability are addressed, the problems of Lyme disease are greatly alleviated and sometimes eliminated.

Other symptoms that may have existed before the Lyme Disease diagnosis including a tingling or numbness sensation, symptoms we see in cervical spine instability patients, especially in the arms, is also attributed to being a symptom of Lyme disease. Nerve issues such as facial palsy and slurred speech are thought to be problems of Lyme disease. Problems of cognition, memory loss, confusion, mood swings, and other problems considered mental health issues are also thought to be symptoms of Lyme disease. While these problems can be attributed to the progression of Lyme disease, these are also symptoms and manifestations we see in our cervical spine instability patients. So here we are, which came first? Symptoms of cervical spine instability or symptoms of Lyme disease? To the patients, it may not matter because they are stuck in a myriad of symptoms.

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by infected ticks. This disorder has a variable clinical course and involves multiple systems, affecting the skin, nervous system, heart, and eyes. Early in the illness, many patients experience migratory musculoskeletal pain in joints, bursae, tendons, muscles, or bones, in one or a few locations at a time, frequently lasting only hours or days in a given location. Weeks to months later, untreated patients often have intermittent or chronic arthritis, primarily involving the large joints, especially the knees, over a period of several years.

Since the clinical course of the disorder is so varied, from mild aches and pains to debilitating memory, neurologic, and heart conditions, there is no one symptom that is diagnostic for Lyme disease. For this reason, it is important for those with chronic pain and/or fatigue to get the various blood and urine tests for the condition.

Let’s look at a July 2020 paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (1). In this paper, the researchers examined studies published between 1994 and 2019. Cumulatively the symptoms in patients were:

  • neck pain,
  • myalgia (muscle pain),
  • arthralgia (joint pain),
  • paresthesia,
  • sleep disorder,
  • poor appetite, and
  • concentration difficulties.

Listen to this part: “Patients with Lyme Disease are more likely to report nonspecific long-term sequelae (symptoms that started with the Lyme Disease), especially those experiencing persistent symptoms post-treatment.”

Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is a controversial topic

In October 2023, writing in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases (2) doctors discussed the approximately 10% of patients who experience prolonged symptoms after Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is a controversial topic. According to this study’s authors “(Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS)) has been described as a source of over-diagnosis and off-label treatment.”

What is happening in this study is that the researchers assessed data and case histories from 17 previously published papers. Below are the summary findings:

  • Six of the 17 studies were observational studies, that is data on reported outcomes of patients who filled out surveys and questionnaires about their health status.
    • In these studies the researchers found over-diagnosis rates were very high, ranging from 80 to 100%. Overdiagnoses were based on “high prevalence of false positive tests and unrecognized tests performed in private laboratories,” and other diagnostic errors and assumptions based on past Lyme disease history.
  • Also observed in the patient’s case histories; “prolonged anti-infective treatments were also responsible for adverse events, with emergency room visits and/or hospitalization. The most common adverse events were diarrhea, sometimes with Clostridium difficile colitis, electrolyte abnormalities, sepsis, bacterial and fungal infections, and anaphylactic reactions.”

“Gaslighting” by medical professionals

Gaslighting refers to the dismal of observable fact. In medicine, it can describe a doctor’s interaction with a patient where the doctor is dismissive of the patient’s symptoms and may constantly challenge the patient’s beliefs that they do have something wrong with them.

A December 2023 paper in the journal Healthcare (3) writes: “Interactions with doctors who doubt the lived experiences of patients with Lyme disease have health implications (e.g., delayed treatment can lead to chronicity) and psychological ramifications.”

They were told by practitioners that they were overreacting.

The authors of this study processed survey results from 986 people, 85% being female. They note that “a striking majority of respondents felt that they were treated as a marginalized patient group, they were told by practitioners that they were overreacting, that there is no such thing as “chronic Lyme disease,” (71.8% of the entire survey respondents), or that their symptoms were caused by normal aging, mental illness, or stress.” The authors continue:

“The contestation of chronic Lyme disease has created a climate in which doctors may be less inclined to believe that Lyme disease patients’ persistent symptoms are attributable to an ongoing infection. Thus, such patients may not receive treatments for their underlying infection. (Doctors won’t treat an infection that they do not believe is there, despite evidence it is.)

We find it noteworthy that our data gleaned such a high incidence of medical gaslighting despite increased awareness about Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease over the decades. That is, the availability of data is incommensurate with the treatment of patients with Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease.”

Patients actively hide their symptoms for fear of being judged negatively

Doctors at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands published a paper in the journal BioMed Central Primary Care (4) in which they acknowledge that “Healthcare providers frequently struggle to provide effective care to patients with chronic Lyme-associated symptoms (chronic Lyme disease, CLD), potentially causing these patients to feel misunderstood or neglected by the healthcare system.”

The researchers’ purpose of their study then was to assess “a combined medical and communication science approach, and aims to assess patients’ experiences with chronic Lyme disease & chronic Lyme disease-related care. . . ” with the goal of identifying concerns in patients “and provide potential ways to improve communication with them.” (The communication between doctor and patient).

The researchers found that “many patients perceive their symptoms to be invisible, either because they are intrinsically unnoticeable for others, or because patients actively hide them for fear of being judged negatively. Unexpected fluctuations in symptoms and symptom severity were common. . . Participants felt that their healthcare providers knew too little about Lyme disease and chronic Lyme-associated symptoms, that (the clinicians) did not look for a cause or diagnosis for their symptoms in a sufficient or timely manner, or that – in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis – they quickly conclude that ‘psychosomatics’ must be at play.”

Even when there is increased awareness of the potential of Lyme Disease in a symptomatic patient – treatments still do not help.

A June 2022 paper in the European Journal of Public Health (5) found even when there is an overall improvement in Lyme borreliosis awareness (through an educational intervention in general practice) and referrals among general practitioners (to more advanced care,) these results did not show any effect of the intervention on clinical outcomes of Chronic Lyme-associated symptoms.

Is it really Lyme Disease?

An April 2022 study in The American Journal of Medicine (6) comes to us from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the suggestion that while “prior studies have demonstrated that Lyme disease is frequently over-diagnosed.  . . few studies describe which conditions are misdiagnosed as Lyme disease.”

In this study of 1261 referred patients, 1061 (84%) had no findings of active Lyme disease, with 690 (65%) receiving other diagnoses; resulting in 405 (59%) having newly diagnosed medical conditions, 134 (19%) attributed to pre-existing medical issues, and 151 (22%) with both new and pre-existing conditions.

  • Leading diagnoses were anxiety/depression 222 (21%),
  • Fibromyalgia 120 (11%),
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 77 (7%),
  • Migraine disorder 74 (7%),
  • Osteoarthritis 62 (6%), and
  • sleep disorder/apnea 48 (5%).
  • Examples of less frequent but non-syndromic diseases newly diagnosed included multiple sclerosis, malignancy, Parkinson’s disease, sarcoidosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Conclusions: “Most patients with long-term symptoms have either new or pre-existing disorders accounting for their symptoms other than Lyme disease, suggesting overdiagnosis in this population. Patients referred for consideration of Lyme disease for chronic symptoms deserve careful assessment for diagnoses other than Borrelia burgdorferi infection.”

Is it Lyme Disease or cervical spine instability causing your symptoms? Uncertain clinical consequences because people are not getting better.

In this next section, we will discuss the possibility that long-term Lyme disease symptoms may not be from an active infection, but, may be mistaken for cervical spine instability. As we will see, chronic Lyme-associated symptoms, symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and cognitive and neurologic-like symptoms, share many of the same characteristics seen in patients with cervical spine instability. Some people’s stories sound like this:

I am in perfect health except:

I have Lyme disease and I have digestive and gut issues. I suffer from lightheadedness and dizziness. I have brain fog and memory recall issues. As far as my doctors are concerned, I only have anxiety. I have been sent to numerous cardiovascular tests and assessments. These tests always come back “normal.”  I am, according to my doctors, “in perfect health.”

I am confused because there is nothing wrong with me except a herniated disc in my neck that the surgeon wants to operate on.

I have a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hypermobile type), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), TMJ, Lyme disease, IBS, dizziness, and more. One doctor said I don’t have anything wrong with me except a bulging disc at C4/5. He recommended surgery. One doctor says I have Chiari malformation but another doctor says I don’t. 

In a December 2017 research paper, led by Alison W. Rebman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine (7) these observations:

“Although a physical exam and clinical laboratory tests showed few objective abnormalities, standardized symptom questionnaires revealed that patients with post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms are highly and clinically significantly symptomatic, with poor health-related quality of life.

Post-treatment Lyme Disease symptoms patients exhibited levels of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, and depression which were both clinically relevant and statistically significantly higher than controls.

As the prevalence of post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms continues to rise, there will be an increased need for physician education to more effectively identify and manage post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms as part of integrated patient care.”

A second paper published in 2021 (8), and again led by Alison W. Rebman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made many observations into the symptoms of Lyme disease. Some of these findings included neck pain of unknown origin. Here are some brief learning points from this paper.

  • Neck pain is reported with greater frequency and severity in Lyme Disease patients compared with controls and the cause is unknown.
  • It is thought that neck pain is a ‘Neurologic’ factor as opposed to an arthritic factor. (Explanatory note: Cervical spine instability will eventually develop into bone spurs and bony overgrowth associated with arthritic symptoms. Neck pain may arise, without obvious arthritic MRI because of ligament laxity. A loose neck that some patients describe as unable to hold their head up or that their heads feel like a lead weight.)
  • We also found that difficulty breathing and heart palpitations. This constellation of symptoms may result from a common pathway such as autonomic nervous system activation or central sensitization rather than specific cardiac or pulmonary pathology.

Now let’s start working off of the idea that symptoms are the result of autonomic nervous system activation or central sensitization rather than specific cardiac or pulmonary pathology.

For a much more detailed discussion of the autonomic nervous system, please see my article: What does Sympathetic Dominance mean?

The autonomic nervous system is divided into two nervous systems. These two nervous systems counteract each other. One speeds you up, the other slows you down.

  • It is the sympathetic nervous system that speeds you up. It is more famously described as the “fight or flight response.”
  • It is the parasympathetic nervous system that slows you down.

The autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system makes your heart race and slows your heart down, it makes you run fast in times of danger, it slows you down when danger has passed. It coordinates body energy to help digest foods. The sympathetic nervous system, in short, responds quickly to a stimulus.

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, this inability to calm down, can manifest in symptoms like those found in post-treatment Lyme disease

It is responsible for your fight-or-flight decision-making processes in times of stress. This could be stress at the workplace, personal stress, or other things that could present emotional toil through aggravation or worry. The sympathetic nervous system then decides how to regulate your “emotions,” and the ability to generate energy and power to confront a danger or stress. The parasympathetic nervous system “brings you back down.”

Central sensitization

A 2013 paper in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (9) describes the three kinds of pain that have been identified and researched.

  • First, peripheral, or nociceptive, pain is that which results from inflammation or tissue damage in the periphery (these are the nerves that come out of the spinal cord and extend all the tip to the tips of fingers and toes and all parts in between).
  • The second type, neuropathic pain, results from dysfunction or injury of peripheral nerves (e.g., diabetic neuropathic pain).
  • The third type, “central,” or “non-nociceptive” pain, is characterized by atypical central nervous system (CNS) sensory processing of pain. (This could be a pain from an unknown source or unidentifiable injury.) This leads to diffuse hyperalgesia (widespread hyper pain, you feel a pain that is much worse than it should be) and allodynia (something that causes you pain that normally wouldn’t, for example, someone taps you on the shoulder or you reach into the refrigerator and the cold causes you pain).

The study authors then explain how this impacts the patient with Lyme disease: “In the case of Lyme disease, all three types of pain are likely involved to a different extent in any particular patient. For example, a patient may have inflammatory arthritis (peripheral pain), immune-mediated (abnormal immune response) polyneuropathy (neuropathic pain), or diffuse widespread pain with or without prominent inflammation or neuropathy (central pain). In this latter case, in particular, central sensitization or the augmentation of central nervous system pain-processing may account for the persistent experience of widespread pain.”

Now we have the autonomic nervous system and central sensitization presented and recognizable as some of the possible causes of continuing long-term symptoms in Lyme disease patients.  Now let’s discuss the Vagus nerve.

In my article Vagus nerve compression in the neck: Symptoms and treatments, I present a more detailed discussion of the dysfunction of the vagus nerve. For the purpose of this article, I will summarize it here:

The vagus nerve – is a pair of nerves that run down the left and right side of the body. It is the longest and most widely extended of the nerves of the body. The vagus nerves provide the messages and the monitoring of cardiopulmonary and gastrointestinal systems. (the vagus nerve monitors and “recommends adjustments” to the organs, such as the heart, the stomach, etc.)  As such the vagus nerve has a critical role in the maintenance of bodily homeostasis (balance) in diverse functions relating to digestion, satiety (sensation of fullness), respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate control. Dysfunction of the vagus nerve can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart failure, failure of respiratory control, gastroparesis, vasovagal syncope (drops in heart rate and blood pressure that can result in fainting), and chronic pain. These would also be considered symptomology of Lyme disease.

A September 2023 paper from Columbia University Irving Medical Center researchers, published in the journal Antibiotics (10) helps us understand the concept of vagus nerve stimulation and Lyme disease. Here is a brief summary.

The researchers write: “Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) may be a treatment with considerable promise for patients with post-treatment Lyme disease, as research over the past two decades has demonstrated that VNS can have multiple health effects. VNS is a technique within the umbrella category of neuromodulation. . . The vagus nerve plays a critical role in parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract, and VNS has been shown to improve mood, decrease pain, and decrease inflammation in various human studies. . . ”

Inflammation in Lyme disease and the vagus nerve

The researchers focus on glutamate and GABA.


  • Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for memory and cognition function, as well as mood regulation.
  • Glutamate levels are increased are Lyme disease.
  • Too much glutamate creates a toxic environment of “glutamate excitotoxicity” where neurons and brain cells die off.

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

  • GABA is a neurotransmitter that regulates and blocks messages between the nerve cells in the brain, reducing stress, anxiety, and excitability. It provides a “calming effect.”
  • Low levels of GABA have been linked to neurological type disorders, anxiety and psychiatric-like disorders, and chronic pain.
  • Glutamate is a precursor of GABA.

The researcher writes: “Given the importance of glutamate and GABA neurotransmission in the dorsal motor nucleus (a messaging center) of the vagus nerve, and given the possible effect of Borrelia burgdorferi infection on glutamate and GABA activity, there is a potential mechanism by which modulation of the vagus nerve could address symptoms from Borrelia infection.” In other words, Borrelia infection can create an imbalance in the stress / calm relationship of Glutamate and GABA.

Vagus nerve stimulators

In some cases, our patients are recommended to use a vagus nerve stimulator.

Vagus Nerve Stimulator

In the research cited above, the researchers conclude: “Transcutaneous VNS stimulates the external branch of the vagus nerve, is minimally invasive, and is well-tolerated in other conditions with few side effects. If well-controlled double-blinded studies demonstrate that transcutaneous auricular VNS helps patients with chronic syndromes such as persistent symptoms after Lyme disease, Transcutaneous VNS stimulates will be a welcome addition to the treatment options for these patients.”

Emails from people who contacted our office:

Diagnosis of craniocervical instability and the likelihood of vagus nerve compression due to damaged alar and other cervical ligaments. Causes presumed to be a combination of Lyme Disease, auto accident (whiplash), and possible hypermobility disorder. Currently suffering from neurological, vascular, muscular, and autonomic dysfunction symptoms; vertigo/imbalance, blurred vision, bloating, joint/muscle pain, migraines, head pressure, low BP, neck pain and stiffness, joint and muscle pain, loss of temperature and inflammation control, tinnitus, spinal misalignment, rashes, brain fog, ear drainage, sinus pressure, fevers, mast cell disorder/histamine intolerance, food and environmental allergies, vision convergence and depth perception problems, numb and tingling hands, torticollis, systemic weakness, etc. (This email was edited for clarity).

Almost three years ago, I woke up and my world totally changed. After moving through every specialist there is, I had to travel to find a doctor who diagnosed me with Lyme disease.  I have issues with severe inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, low heart rate and palpitations, vision issues, hypoglycemia, full ears, headaches, etc. After researching I believe the vagus nerve may be at the center of this. (This email was edited for clarity).

Lyme, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome from mold, and POTS. I was diagnosed about 5 years ago and have had treatment for mold and continue to be treated for Lyme. I have had trouble trying to exercise and I think it’s due to the POTS. I am very sensitive to almost all meds and supplements. (This email was edited for clarity).

I have chronic Lyme disease and post-concussive syndrome.  My most debilitating symptoms are neurological: severe brain fog, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, head pressure, light sensitivity, tinnitus, visual disturbances (floaters, decreased spatial awareness), depression, and anxiety. . .  I also have problems with my neck; it has been stiff for the past several months and have a series of knots on the sides of my neck and upper back (most of the pain is on the right side). I’m wondering if my neck issues are causing my brain problems. (This email was edited for clarity).

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and Lyme disease

One of the more common problems we see as it relates to these cardiovascular-like attacks, heart palpitations, and blood pressure problems is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS. POTS is the most common form of dysautonomia –  problems of or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.

I have been diagnosed with POTS, IBS, Migraines, Syncope, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Lyme Disease, and Fibromyalgia and I have a recommendation for surgery on my neck due to instability, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis. 

Medical research suggests a connection between postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and Lyme disease. However, there is not a lot of research. In 2011 doctors at the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, The University of Toledo Medical Center wrote in the publication Cardiology Journal (10)
“A subgroup of patients suffering from Lyme disease may initially respond to antibiotics only to later develop a syndrome of fatigue, joint pain, and cognitive dysfunction referred to as ‘post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome’ . . . All of the patients in this report had suffered from LD in the past and were successfully treated with antibiotics. All patients were apparently well, until years later when they presented with fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and orthostatic intolerance. These patients were diagnosed with POTS. . .”

  • Five patients (all women), aged 22-44 years, were identified for inclusion in this study.
  • These patients developed symptoms of fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, orthostatic palpitations, and either near syncope or frank syncope.
  • Three patients were also suffering from migraine, two from anxiety and depression, and one from hypertension. All patients demonstrated a good response to the employed treatment. (The employed treatment directed at POTS was manipulation, an increase in dietary fluids . . .) Four of the five were able to engage in their activities of daily living and either resumed employment or returned to school.

The researchers concluded: “In an appropriate clinical setting, evaluation for POTS in patients suffering from post-LD syndrome may lead to early recognition and treatment, with subsequent improvement in symptoms of orthostatic intolerance.”

POTS – Lyme Disease Treatments

In May 2014, doctors describing two case histories of patients with Lyme Disease and POTS suggested these treatments in the Annals of noninvasive Electrocardiology (11):

“The treatment of Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome associated POTS most often consists of both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic corrections of autonomic imbalance with treatment tailored towards educating the patient about avoidance of aggravating and precipitating factors. Several double‐blinded controlled trials of patients with Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome have shown no benefit after repeat antibiotic treatment and no effective therapies have been identified.”

Vagus nerve and cervical spine instability

Problems related to the vagus nerve, when suspected cervical instability may be the cause, is a term we describe as Cervicovagopathy. In this condition interruption and distortion of vagal nerve impulses and messages to the body occurs.

Case study: Treating cervical spine instability treats and alleviates symptoms attributed to Lyme Disease

In the video below, Ross Hauser, MD discusses a case history of a patient with cervical spine instability who also had a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. This particular patient had significant positive treatment results. This may not be typical for everyone. This is one case study. If you would like to discuss your symptoms, send us an email.

Summary transcript and learning points of this video:

  • I regularly see people who have been diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease symptoms. They are on many different treatment protocols. Recently we had a patient who spent seven months at another facility here in Florida to try to get over the chronic Lyme symptoms. We see many patients with long histories of Lyme Disease treatments that are not helping them restore their quality of life.
  • From 1994 until 2005 I ran a charity clinic in a very small town called Theses, Illinois. Right on the Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, border. That area is a Lyme disease belt. The Shawnee National Forest is there as well as many Lyme disease clinics.
  • During the time we offered this clinic, we would see many neck pain patients who had Lyme disease. Not only did they have neck pain but they had fatigue, brain fog, digestive problems, swallowing difficulties, ringing in their ears, tinnitus, dizziness, and facial pain. We treated these patients with simple dextrose injections, and Prolotherapy injections, not to treat Lyme disease but to help restore cervical spine stability and alleviate their neck pain. When we repaired their necks, all those symptoms went away.  Eventually, some of the Lyme Disease doctors would call me up and I would train some of them in Prolotherapy treatments.
    • Prolotherapy is an in-office injection treatment that research and medical studies have shown to be an effective, trustworthy, and reliable alternative to surgical and non-effective conservative care treatments. Prolotherapy treats cervical spine instability by regenerating and repairing damaged and weakened cervical spine ligaments. It is the cervical ligaments that hold the vertebrae in place. When the ligaments are damaged or weakened, the vertebrae slide out of place and cause a pinching, impingement, or herniation of the cervical nerves leading to the symptoms reported by neck pain and Lyme Disease patients. The treatment is demonstrated below.

At 2:30 of the video, Dr. Hauser demonstrates one case of cervical spine instability and neck pain treatments that alleviated symptoms related to the patient’s diagnosis of Lyme Disease.

If you have Lyme Disease or have been on a chronic Lyme Disease treatment program or maintenance program and these treatments have not helped you as much as you would have hoped, one possible solution may be found in the treatment of cervical spine instability. The patient in this video is having a Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) examination. This allows the doctor and patient to visually see in real time and real movement, problems of cervical spine and neck instability that may be leading to symptoms attributed to Lyme Disease.

What are we seeing in this image?

The cervical spine is intertwined with nerves and blood vessels. Cervical spine instability can compress or pinch the nerves and arteries causing a myriad of symptoms depending on how the patient moves his/her head. Cervical spine instability can cause restriction and compression of vital arteries and nerves that supply blood and sensation to the brain, face, and neck. Brain fog is a manifestation of cervical spine instability and is a symptom of both cervical spine instability and Lyme disease.


The cervical spine is intertwined with nerves and blood vessels. Cervical spine instability can compress or pinch the nerves and arteries causing a myriad of symptoms depending on how the patients moves his/her head. Cervical spine instability can cause restriction and compression of vital arteries and nerves that supply blood and sensation to the brain, face and neck. Brain fog is a manifestation of cervical spine instability and is a symptom of both cervical spine instability and Lyme Disease.

At 2:57 of the video Dr. Hauser illustrates that in this one case, one Prolotherapy treatment into the cervical spine was sufficient enough to provide noticeable pain relief and reduction of brain fog symptoms. It should be pointed out this is not typical, patients usually will require 3 to 8 treatments to achieve long-lasting and demonstrable symptom reduction.

  • The patient didn’t realize that when you have cervical instability it can affect the blood supply to the brain and it can affect the cerebral spinal fluid flow. So once this patient started to achieve cervical spine stabilization, the transformation in quality of life was unbelievable.

If you have Lyme Disease or have been on a chronic Lyme Disease treatment program or maintenance program and these treatments have not helped you as much as you would have hoped, one possible solution may be found in the treatment of cervical spine instability.

The patient in this video is having a Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) examination. This allows the doctor and patient to visually see in real-time and real movement, problems of cervical spine and neck instability that may be leading to symptoms attributed to Lyme Disease.

  • The patient in this video had terrible brain fog.
  • At 2:50 of the video, Dr. Hauser demonstrates C2-C3 / C3-C4 instability. Cervical spine instability can cause restriction and compression of vital arteries and nerves that supply blood and sensation to the brain, face, and neck. Brain fog is a manifestation of cervical spine instability and is a symptom of both cervical spine instability and Lyme Disease.

We have published dozens of papers on Prolotherapy injections as a treatment in difficult-to-treat musculoskeletal disorders. Prolotherapy is an injection technique utilizing simple sugar or dextrose. For more information please see my article Ross Hauser, MD Reviews Cervical Spine Instability and Potential Effects on Brain Physiology.


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This article was update January 19, 2024


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