Carbon dioxide to treat acute nonspecific neck pain

Subcutaneous carbon dioxide (CO2) insufflation is popular in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s used mainly to treat musculoskeletal pain and vascular conditions.

But is it effective? Researchers from Germany set about to find out.

First the details.

  • 126 people had acute non-specific neck pain for less than 7 days.
  • Their pain intensity was at least 40 mm on a 100 mm visual analog scale (VAS), where higher scores mean greater pain.
  • Participants were randomly assigned to receive up to 9 subcutaneous CO2 insufflations at the sights of tenderness or up to 9 sham ultrasound 3 times a week.

And the results.

  • About 45% of patients in each group became pain fee.
  • Median (middle) time to pain relief was 28 days in both groups.

The bottom line?
Subcutaneous CO2 insufflations are accomplished by injecting carbon dioxide under the skin.

Apparently, this treatment has never been seriously studied before. In this study there was no difference between the CO2 and sham treatment.

9/14/07 21:55 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.