Your First Head and Neck Specialist Visit
Our team wants to help you get your life back!
This page will give additional details about your visit to our offices for your head/neck condition. To read more general information about what to expect at your first visit, please see our pages on Your First Prolotherapy Visit and Frequently Asked Questions.
If you would like our team to review your case to see if you sound like a good candidate for the Hauser Neck Center at Caring Medical, including H3 Prolotherapy and curve correction, please start by telling us about your case in our detailed intake form. Our screening and case review process is detailed to ensure that we understand your case and feel you are coming to the right place for care to help you achieve your functional health goals.
Preparing for your visit to the Hauser Neck Center
Your first visit will be divided into 2-3 days to provide enough time for the recommended testing and treatment while taking into account the exhausting effort that a doctor’s visit or movement can be for some of our most extreme cases. We understand that for some of you, simply riding in the car and putting your neck through a few movements can cause severe attacks. We space the testing and treatment out to make the overall experience a little easier to handle. Upon the initial review of your case, prior to your visit, we will be able to better assess your needs and the extent of recommended testing, and how to best schedule those as well as your first Prolotherapy treatment. Please remember that all new neck patients must have a family member or friend to accompany them to each appointment.
Eat prior to your appointments. You must eat before your appointments, especially if you are planning on receiving Prolotherapy treatment! Please eat a good breakfast before coming in, ideally one that contains protein. You can bring snacks/food to the visit as well.
Test Results: If you have MRI, X-ray, CT, EMG, DMX, or other pertinent lab reports/images, we will likely ask for those ahead of time during the screening process. If you have sent us your reports ahead of time, our team will ensure those reports are put into your chart.
Consultation, exam, and initial motion testing – Days 1-2
Introduction and vitals: A nurse or clinical assistant will take you and your appointment companion back to the clinical area and your assigned exam/treatment room. They will obtain vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and weight. They will also review your initial phone history and confirm any changes or updates you wish to discuss. Your clinical assistant will be an important part of your day today and will be with you throughout the visit! They will take notes for you, and review all of the information and instructions from the practitioner throughout your time in the clinic, and summarize everything at the end of your visit.
Exam and consultation: Dr. Hauser and his team will talk with you in more detail about your condition and symptoms in order to make an assessment and recommendation for a testing and treatment plan. They will talk with you in more detail about your goals and current symptoms, do a physical exam to assess your neck and other painful areas, and perform specific functional and autonomic tests based on your individual case. You will also be assessed by our DMX specialist and Chiropractic Physician, Brian Hutcheson, DC.
Imaging/testing during the visit: Most often a Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) will be recommended as a baseline for visualizing any cervical instability. This is essentially a video of your spine in motion and provides excellent information for your provider as to what is truly happening with your neck to cause your debilitating symptoms and degenerative condition. Prior to this test, your Prolotherapy provider may perform some numbing injections around the neck to prevent muscle guarding and, therefore, obtain a more accurate picture of the underlying cervical instability. Your Prolotherapist and Chiropractic physician will review the DMX results and, combined with the information obtained by the history and exam, will recommend a treatment plan.
A repeat DMX is typically performed later in the treatment series to verify objective improvement and assess any need for a change in the course of treatment. For example, your provider may recommend rechecking a couple of specific DMX views at your third Prolotherapy visit to confirm your cervical curve or stability in your C1-C2 area is improving with the current treatment regimen and your activities between treatments.
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound may also be used to visualize tissue during the initial exam and/or to help with injection guidance during Prolotherapy. While ultrasound is not needed to guide injections for the majority of anatomical landmarks treated during H3 Prolotherapy, rest assured that our providers always have it available to use, if needed, and will use either ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance for guiding the upper-cervical injections.
Other testing for complex neck cases, including mapping blood flow through the neck to the brain, autonomic nervous system/vagus nerve function, optic nerve size, pupil function, uvula deviation, and other neck vital signs may be performed, typically on Day 2.
Prolotherapy treatment – Day 2 or Day 3
Prolotherapy treatment: Patients come to us because they want to start a Regenerative Medicine treatment program as soon as possible. Based on your overall health and medical history, along with the physical exam, DMX, and other test results, a treatment plan will be created specifically for you. If the practitioner feels you are a good candidate for Prolotherapy, treatment is generally started on the second day of the visit. With the complexity of cases we take on at our clinic, trying to do treatment plus the consultation, exam, and testing can be a lot for the patient to handle. So, we find that dividing it up over a couple of days is typically ideal. In some highly complex cases, the testing and treatment may be spread out over 3 days.
Post-Prolotherapy treatment: After treatment, you will rest with some moist heat on the treated area(s). This helps soothe the treated area and increase circulation. While you rest with heat, the assistant/nurse will review our Post-Prolotherapy Instruction sheet with you and any other recommendations that the provider has made.
Therapeutic devices: If your practitioner recommends a therapeutic device for your condition (such as a cervical collar, heart rate variability monitor, head/chest weights, or rehabilitation exercise equipment), your nurse/assistant can advise you on where to obtain them. Some devices may be advised to start right away, and others may come into your treatment plan after a couple of visits, as the ligaments show signs of stabilizing.
Additional recommendations: If there are any other outside laboratory tests, nutritional suggestions, or exercise instructions, these will be discussed during the visit with the provider, and again with your clinical assistant/nurse upon wrapping up the visit.
Follow-up appointments: You can schedule your next Prolotherapy, Chiropractic, and/or retesting visit with your clinical assistant in the treatment room, or at the checkout desk prior to leaving the office. Due to the limited availability of appointments, we suggest making an appointment as soon as you know your schedule, to ensure you get your preferred appointment day.
Traveling after treatment
Transportation home or to a hotel: You are not permitted to drive or fly immediately after receiving Prolotherapy to the neck. You must have an appointment companion who can drive you back to the hotel or home, or you and your companion may have pre-arranged transportation (rideshare, taxi, etc.). When scheduling your first appointment, our team can discuss some options with you, depending on where you are going afterward. For instance, some local hotels in Fort Myers offer free shuttles to our patients. Other patients prefer getting to their accommodations via taxi or rideshare service.
Stay local: Your first visit is typically divided over 2-3 appointment days. You will find that flying in the day before and staying in a hotel the night before and after your first treatment will make for a more relaxing and less overwhelming process, especially if you regularly experience many debilitating symptoms or episodes from your neck condition (anxiety, dizziness, migraines, drop attacks, tremors, etc.). Our hope is that as you improve during the treatment series, and symptoms subside, travel will become much easier for you. Please note that even if you have received Prolotherapy numerous times, we do not suggest patients fly out the same day as their treatment. An overnight stay, at a minimum, is recommended. Your case may require weekly or bi-weekly check-in visits, treatments, and/or testing that requires you to stay in SW Florida for 2-3 months initially. These things will all be discussed based on your individual case.
This is a journey – hang in there!
Remember, your condition did not start overnight, and you have likely been on this journey for some time, experiencing numerous ups and downs. Prolotherapy triggers the body to repair, and our bodies are designed to heal over time. This means that even weeks and months after the last treatment of the series, the body is still healing the treated tissue. It generally requires a series of treatments, which build upon each other. Just like you cannot rush the healing of a broken bone, you cannot rush the healing of soft tissues, like ligaments. You can, however, do everything you can to support their strengthening. We will give you the best information and guidance we have gained in our 28+ years on how to accomplish this. The rest is up to you! Happy healing! We are so excited to walk alongside you on this journey, with our sincere hope that it will lead to your restored function and renewed life!
How do I know if I’m a good candidate?
Just like you, we want to make sure you are a good fit for our clinic ahead of your appointment. We value your time and we also schedule a lot of time with our providers and team to accommodate your visit. Many of the patients who require our specialists’ care are traveling from out of the state and internationally, but even if you are located within a few hours of our clinic, we want to make sure you are a good fit for us first! Sadly, we just cannot accept all cases. When applying to become a patient at our neck center, please give as much detail as you can to help our team determine if you are potentially a good candidate. You can upload MRI reports or other imaging reports if they are relevant to your current case.