Treating Neuropathy: Why Medications Aren’t The Solution
Did you miss our first post in this blog series about neuropathy? If so, read it here.
Today, we’ll review two types of drugs that are commonly used to treat neuropathy, and IMAC solution for neuropathy that does not involve surgery or medication.
The Problem with Using Drugs to Treat Neuropathy
The drugs to treat neuropathy fall into two classifications: antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, though it is not totally clear if they really work for nerve pain. Since the medications don’t address the the nerve damage itself, it’s used as a “band-aid” treatment for neuropathy sufferers. Many patients also experience a host of side effects from the drugs, which can be debilitating at times. The good news is that there are several alternative medical treatments and therapy that many patients have used to find short and long term relief.
David Cornblath, MD, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a specialist in peripheral neuropathy, said the three main drugs approved for treating diabetic neuropathy — the most common type of neuropathy — all have positives and negatives.
However, “many patients find the side effects of increased dosages intolerable,” said Marlene Dodinval, executive director of The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, a nonprofit in Buffalo Grove, IL.
Common side effects of the three drugs include fatigue, nausea, drowsiness and confusion, and weight gain or loss, in addition to side effects specific to each drug and the possibility of drug interactions. But they can be more extreme: The FDA requires manufacturers of anti-epileptic drugs to carry warnings about increased risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
IMAC’s Successful Alternatives to Medication for Nerve Pain
Could PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma provide relief for Peripheral Neuropathy patients? According to a new study published in the Pain Medicine journal, PRP Therapy could become a conventional treatment for Diabetic & Peripheral Neuropathy. The study demonstrates that PRP injections can “enhance local healing, tissue remodeling, and nerve axonal regeneration, and to improve recovery of nerve function in patients with neuropathic pain,” according to Clinical Pain Advisor’s Dr. Amit Akirov, MD.
PRP injections can promote local healing, including tissue regeneration and improved nerve function. Based on what we know about PRP and its growth factors this makes sense from a mechanism point of view.
A small sample of the patient’s blood is drawn and the platelet rich component is removed. This component of platelets also contains the body’s growth factors used in healing damaged nerve tissue. The concentrated Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is then injection into and around the nerves, jump-starting the healing process. Because the patient’s own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection.
Ultrasound or other imaging techniques is used, which allows the doctor to “see” what’s going on inside the tissue. It is also helpful for pinpointing the exact location for the injection. Our physicians know that the growth factors contained in concentrated PRP are used by the body to address injury and disease. In summary, they are the tools naturally used for healing even without injections. Giving the body more tools to work with through PRP injections should help circulation around the peripheral nerves. Studies have revealed that PRP Therapy shows tremendous potential for treating patients suffering from Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.
More research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and long-term results, but based on the study results, the future is bright. Using PRP Therapy can prove to be effective, it could mean more mobility, less pain, and a more enjoyable daily experience for millions of people
According to The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, using PRP as a non-medication approach is consistent with other other complementary and integrative therapies including Physical and Occupational Therapy. This combination of treatments and therapy helps the patients in improve their mobility, strength and ultimately improving their daily lifestyle.