Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A Better Treatment Option for Neuropathic Pain
Nerve Pain Getting On Your Nerves? You’re Not Alone!
Neuropathic pain, more commonly referred to as nerve pain, is a chronic condition characterized by dysfunctional or damaged nerves prone to sending frequent, unwarranted pain signals. If you have experience with this affliction, you are certainly not alone—it is estimated that nearly 20 million Americans are currently struggling with chronic nerve pain.
A number of reasons exist for why someone may be included in this statistic. Many cases of chronic nerve pain are associated with diabetes mellitus, which makes an individual susceptible to the weakening of their blood vessels supplying nutrients to neurons. Other cases are the result of lesions or a somatosensory disease. Whether the damage to neurons is indirect or direct, some of the most common forms of neuropathic pain include generalized “sciatica” pain, lumbosacral radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and phantom limb syndrome.
How Is Neuropathic Pain Commonly Treated?
Although there is no single or universal treatment for nerve pain, patients experiencing neuropathic pain are usually first prescribed tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline and doxepin. The second-considered line of treatment entails the prescription of opioid analgesics, like morphine and tramadol. If proven ineffective, patients may then be prescribed antiepileptic medication in the third line of treatment. Opioids analgesics only offer partial pain relief for approximately 40-60% of neuropathic pain patients, and in general, medications can only offer short-term relief for long-term chronic conditions. With medications proving largely ineffective in pain management and there being many adverse side effects (i.e. nausea, constipation, drowsiness), many hope for something better out there. Fortunately, PRP may be the answer to these prayers.
How Does PRP Work?
Platelets are small, colorless fragments of cells in the blood that are responsible for forming blood clots and healing wounds. They contain proteins and growth factors which stimulate the production of collagen and attract stem cells to a wound site. Platelet rich plasma (PRP), a form of regenerative medicine, utilizes a concentrated injection of a patient’s own platelets at the site of a neuromusculoskeletal injury in order to promote healing. PRP has also been successfully used for a multitude of conditions, from osteoarthritic pain to male pattern baldness.
Generally, PRP therapy begins with an extraction of blood from the patient. A healthcare professional or lab technician may utilize a rotating device called a centrifuge to isolate and collect the platelets from the rest of the blood. This high concentration of PRP can then be used to attract stem cells to the wound site. In cases of nerve pain, PRP injections will be administered at the specific site of pain, whether it be at a joint or directly toward a nerve ending. The injection of PRP will promote the production of new cells to replace the damaged neural tissue.
Why Should You Choose PRP for Your Nerve Pain?
The treatment of neuropathy with PRP has promoted a significant reduction in pain for many patients who previously had no low-risk options available. Though repeat cases may be necessary, many patients here at Ospina have reported relief in the weeks following a single treatment. Unlike many pharmaceuticals and therapies which are meant to target only the pain associated with PRP for neuropathy, PRP for chronic pain aims to facilitate the regeneration of damaged or dysfunctional neural tissue. Pain relief can be seen as an imperative byproduct and benefit of utilizing PRP therapy.
PRP is also quite appealing thanks to its noninvasive nature, especially when compared to procedures such as peripheral neuropathic surgery that intends to fix incurred neural damage. This offers the additional benefit of recuperation time following the injection being minimal, as well as there being no surgery-associated pain afterward. Bruising and soreness may be expected at the areas of injection, but these are miniscule possible after-effects when compared to the quality of life that PRP therapy may help you achieve once again.
Ultimately, PRP therapy uses the body’s own platelets to facilitate and exacerbate healing at a site of injury. In cases of nerve pain caused by neural damage, treatment with PRP aims to reduce pain by regenerating dysfunctional nerves. PRP therapy for patients with neuropathy might be the ideal reliable, non-invasive, and low-risk alternative to pharmaceuticals or surgery.
Written By: Medha Satti
Edited By: Camden Rowe