Stem Cell Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy and What Causes It?
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is an umbrella term that refers to conditions of neuropathic pain experienced in part of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system includes all of the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, which are considered to be part of the central nervous system. PN may be caused by 1:
- Diabetes complications (diabetic neuropathy)
- Chemotherapy or drug side effects
- Trauma to a nerve
- Nerve compression, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Autoimmune attack of a nerve, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
- HIV complications
- Vitamin deficiencies affecting nerves, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency
- Dental surgery
- Exposure to certain toxins, poisons, or chemicals
- Disorders or damages of the mitochondria, part of the cell that produces energy 2.
PN is most common in patients over 50, but it can occur to anyone at any time depending on the cause 1. Some causes of PN are temporary or can be reversed, while others, namely physical trauma, can be more difficult to treat.
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
Motor neurons control movements like walking and lifting items. Therefore, symptoms of motor PN can include:
- Involuntary muscle twitches
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle shrinking
- Muscle weakness
Sensory nerves allow us to feel touch, temperature, and vibrations. Therefore, symptoms of sensory PN involve sensations from nerve damage that doesn’t have an ongoing cause, such as 4:
- Pain (without ongoing harm being inflicted), such as phantom limb pain
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Burning sensation
- Increased or decreased reaction to touch
- Numbness or lack of sensation
Autonomic nerve neuropathy
The autonomic nerves carry signals for processes in our bodies that we do not consciously think about, like sweating, breathing, and gut functions. Autonomic nerve neuropathy can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of autonomic PN can include:
- Increased sweating
- Increased or decreased intestinal function
- Difficulty regulating blood pressure
- Abnormal gut movement, including some types of irritable bowel syndrome, difficulty swallowing, and gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying)
Combination neuropathy refers to the combination of two to three types of the above.
Stem Cell Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy FAQ
The Scientific Rationale Behind Stem Cell Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) can make daily life difficult. Current treatment options may include pain medications with the risk of addiction or other side effects. Other options may also require a frequent return to office appointments for maintenance.
Stem cell therapy is a novel and effective treatment option for PN. It may require fewer visits and provide a longer duration of relief than conventional treatments for neuropathic pain.
How much does stem cell therapy cost for peripheral neuropathy?
The cost depends on the specific treatment you will be undergoing and how many treatment sessions you need. Book a consultation with us today to get your personalized stem cell therapy treatment plan.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Typically, you will need 1 – 2 treatments, depending on the plan of care established between you and your doctor. All treatment appointments are in person, but the initial consultation and follow-up can be done by phone.
Some people do come back for additional treatments over the course of months or years. This largely depends on the stage of your disease, how well you respond to the treatment, and what your treatment goals are.
Your Patient Journey with Stem Cell Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy
Step 1: Application and initial consultation
Our questionnaire and initial consultation help us determine whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy, along with the best treatment plans for you. Our patient advocate will walk you through the process, pricing, and payment plans.
Step 2: Physical exam
You’ll come in for a physical exam in preparation for the treatment and also to assess your current symptoms and health status.
Step 3: Stem cell collection
Your procedure will begin where we harvest cells from your bone marrow or fat tissues. We will then isolate the stem cells from these tissues in the clinic before administering your first treatment
Step 4: Stem cell culture
If applicable, we will send your stem cells to the lab to expand them in numbers.
Step 5: Future treatments
Your future stem cell treatments will be done using your cultured stem cells.
Step 6: Follow-up appointments
Our team will keep in contact with you to monitor your treatment progress and support you through your recovery.
Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy vs Standard Treatments and Other Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease
Current Standard-of-Care Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy and Their Shortfalls
Treatments for peripheral neuropathy are typically classified under the treatment for neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain includes the pain caused by nerves and can include both the peripheral and central nervous systems. While some treatment options are specific to the cause of peripheral neuropathy, many overlapping options exist for general peripheral neuropathy.
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Increased heart rate
- Blurry vision
Aside from helping to keep you looking younger, botox is also used for pain. Botox injections contain concentrated botulinum, a bacterial toxin, that causes paralysis in the area injected. The paralysis helps reduce pain signaling in the nerve and reduce pain sensation.
The major drawback of botox injections is that the benefit only lasts weeks to months. So, you will need regular injections to keep the pain at bay. Frequent botox injections can also destroy nearby tissue over time 12.
- Stomach upset
- Vision changes
- Weight gain
- Edema or swelling of the limbs
- Dry mouth
Opioids have been used for centuries for pain relief. Opioids like morphine and fentanyl can make excruciating pain bearable.
They are currently not considered first-line by most prescribing physicians due to their strongly addictive nature. The increasing opioid crisis is also raising alarm bells over their use as a prescription medication without adequate screening and follow-up.
Unpleasant side effects of opioids include:
- Allergic reactions
Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are readily available and often abused. The pain experienced with peripheral neuropathy can be excruciating. It is easy to reach for the bottle of painkillers found in most household medicine cabinets.
While painkillers are helpful for minor injuries, they may not be enough to ease the pain of peripheral neuropathy. This leads to an increased dose in an attempt to find relief.
Acetaminophen can damage the liver, especially with chronic use or over four grams (4000 milligrams) per day 16. Most tablets range between 325-600 mg.
Physical therapy aims to improve peripheral neuropathy by using exercise and manual work on the muscles, joints, and nerves. This type of therapy often requires regular clinic visits. While physical therapy may improve pain and overall well-being, it doesn’t directly repair the damaged nerves.
Physical therapists may use the following techniques:
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
Physical therapy may be even more helpful when combined with stem cell therapy.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness-Based Therapy
- Operant Behavioural Therapy
Spinal cord stimulation
- Infection at the site of implantation
- Device breakage from a fall or intense physical activity
- Device migration away from the site of implantation, requiring follow-up surgery
- Further injury to the spinal cord
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