Stem Cell Treatment for Neuropathy
Exciting new research shows that stem cell treatment for neuropathy may be a safer, more natural way to treat this painful condition. Several researchers believe stem cells even presents the hope of someday, possibly having a cure neuropathic conditions and pain.
Those who suffer from neuropathy know and understand the discomfort and pain that they live with daily. Many sufferers are fed up with the lack of treatment options, particularly when they would like to avoid taking dangerous pain medications.
This article will discuss neuropathy, what causes it, what the current standard of care is to treat it, and how stem cells could be the best way to relieve symptoms.
Sound intriguing? Keep reading for more.
Types of Neuropathic Pain
Peripheral neuropathy is the result of damage to the peripheral nerves on the outside of the brain and spinal cord. This damage typically causes weakness, numbness, and pain in areas of your body, particularly in the hands and feet.
The peripheral nervous system is responsible for sending information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. The peripheral nerves also send sensory information to your central nervous system.
If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is. Our bodies are genuinely fascinating machines, with complex systems that work in conjunction with one another to keep you functioning optimally.
Neuropathic pain presents in a variety of forms. People can experience spontaneous sensations, like shooting pain, that will last for several seconds. Or, they may experience superficial pain, which can present as an ongoing, burning sensation.
Additionally, sufferers may experience pain caused by pressure or hot/cold stimuli that would typically be nonpainful in people without this condition. Essentially, neuropathy makes people extremely sensitive to stimuli.
Causes of Neuropathic Pain
Signals are generated by the injured nerve that then gets sent to the brain where it is interpreted as pain. Those who suffer from this type of pain are often thought to be dramatic or attention-seeking, however, the pain they feel is genuine.
The most common cause of neuropathic pain is diabetes; however, this condition can also be caused by;
- Autoimmune diseases-lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, vasculitis, and more.
- Infections-viral or bacterial, including Lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis B and C, HIV, Epstein-Barr Virus, and more.
- Tumors-Both malignant and benign tumors can develop on or around the nerves causing pain.
- Inherited disorders
- Bone marrow disorders
- Exposure to poisons-industry chemicals and heavy metals like lead and mercury.
- Medications-particularly ones used to treat cancer.
- Major trauma-accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. can sever or damage nerves.
- Vitamin deficiencies-B-1, B-6, B-12, Vitamin E, and Niacin are critical for nerve health.
As you can see, neuropathy is a painful condition to put into a box because so many different factors can cause it.
What Are The Symptoms?
Every nerve in your peripheral system has a specific function. Your symptoms will depend on the type of nerve affected. There are three different types of nerve classifications:
- Sensory nerves: these receive sensation such as temperature, pain, vibrations, etc. from your skin.
- Motor nerves: these are the nerves that control your muscle movement.
- Autonomic nerves: these control functions such as your blood pressure, heart rate, bladder functions, and digestions.
Some of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Numbness, tingling, or prickling sensations in your hands or feet, which can eventually spread up your arms or legs.
- Sharp, throbbing, or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Poor coordination or frequent falls
- Muscle weakness
- A feeling that you are wearing gloves on your hands or socks on your feet when you aren’t
- In extreme cases, where motor nerves are affected, paralysis can occur.
What Are Traditional Treatment Methods?
Traditional treatment methods for neuropathic disorders usually include anticonvulsant and/or antidepressant drugs as the first line of defense. Additionally, pain medications such as Aleve or Motrin can be used to alleviate some of the pain, with some patients requiring something much stronger to see any relief.
We all know the problem with taking pain medications to treat the symptoms of pain; they only serve to mask the pain, not to cure it. Pain killers are addictive and can have a whole bevy of side effects of their own that makes living comfortably tricky.
Those who are diabetic suffering from nerve pain are often advised to manage their disorder better to alleviate the pain. Effective management of diabetes can help prevent additional nerve damage.
Lastly, some pain specialists may use electronic stimulation, or e-stim, to help control the nerves and the pain they are causing the patient.
You probably noticed that these treatment methods all have one thing in common; they treat the symptoms of neuropathy, not the root cause of the problem. This is why stem cells for neuropathy may be the new standard of care when it comes to nerve damage treatment.
Why Stem Cell Treatment for Neuropathy?
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around stem cell therapy on the news, or perhaps you even know someone who has to receive stem cell shots for joint pain.
Recent research into the benefits of stem cell therapy for neuropathy shows that stem cells are attaching themselves to the damaged nerves and working to repair them and prevent any further damages.
A patient who has already received stem cell treatment for their neuropathic pain started seeing decreased pain and tingling in their body just weeks after their first treatment. Many patients can restore large amounts of function in their body, with a significant reduction in pain.
The best part about using stem cells to treat neuropathic pain is that it’s an entirely safe and natural treatment. Stem cells that are harvested from the umbilical cord of a healthy mother can be injected easily, there is no need for surgery, pain pills, or anything else that may further complicate your health.
Stem cell treatment, or regenerative medicine, has gotten a lot of attention over the past couple of decades thanks to the medical world’s focus on finding a better, safer way to treat joint and nerve pain.
What Does The Future Look Like For Stem Cell Treatment?
The future looks bright, that’s for sure. While research continues to prove the healing benefits of stem cells and insurance and healthcare companies start to see that real people are getting real, healing results, stem cell treatment will undoubtedly continue to become more mainstream.
The more people who suffer from chronic illnesses and pain rebel against traditional treatment methods that only perpetuate their pain, the more people will discover the fantastic benefits of regenerative medicine.
Is stem cell treatment guaranteed to work? No, but not even surgery is guaranteed, and that’s a much more invasive procedure that leaves patients much more vulnerable to complications than stem cell treatment.
Will insurance companies recognize the benefits of stem cells for neuropathy and begin to cover it? We sure hope so. Researchers are confident that with even more testing, results, and scientific evidence to back it up, stem cell treatment will become as mainstream and widely used as pain killers-but much less dangerous to our health.