The enormity of a headache can be staggering. You may want nothing more than to curl into a ball and wait for the pain to subside. If you suffer from migraines, your symptoms might be even worse.
What if the solution to your pain could be found in your own blood? At PRP Clinic at Synergy Medical, we offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, a potential therapy for headaches and migraines with minimal side effects and long-lasting relief.
Let’s start by examining the difference between headaches and migraines.
The general term “headache” encompasses more than 150 types of nervous system conditions collectively known as headache disorders.1 Experts classify headaches into two main categories – primary and secondary.
Primary headaches occur in the absence of other illnesses or diseases. The four main groups of primary headaches are:2
Secondary headaches are symptoms of another health condition that cause pain-sensitive nerve endings to be pressed or pulled. Some common causes include:2
A migraine is a neurological disorder scientists believe is caused by genetic mutations in the brain. An intense, throbbing headache is just one of the major symptoms of migraines, though it can occur without one.3
A migraine attack can be accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, including:4,5
For about one-third of people with migraines, an attack is preceded or accompanied by an aura, transient neurologic disturbances that affect speech, vision, or touch.6,7
With so many causes of headache disorders, there are just as many treatment options, ranging from medications to lifestyle changes.
But with the serious side effects of some medications, finding effective alternative treatments for migraines and headaches has become a pressing need.
The potential answer to that need already lies within your body.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has gained attention recently as a potential therapy for headaches and migraines.
As its name implies, PRP injections deliver a high concentration of platelets to the affected areas of your head and neck. The platelets stimulate your body’s natural healing process rather than merely suppressing the pain.
But why does PRP work?
Platelets are well-known for their critical role in blood clotting. Platelets release several types of growth factors, proteins, and anti-inflammatory chemicals that promote tissue regeneration and healing. And researchers believe these healing properties can be used for other conditions, including headaches and migraines.
The answer depends on the cause of your headaches or migraines.
Postdural puncture headache (PDPH) is a potential, serious complication of a spinal tap procedure. Patients for whom conservative management methods are unsuccessful may require an epidural blood patch.8
But nearly 30% of patients with PDPH don’t recover after their first epidural blood patch.
If left untreated, PDPH can lead to serious complications, such as blood buildup on the surface of the brain.9
An epidural patch with autologous PRP may help heal a dural hole. A case study published in 2017 described the use of an epidural patch with autologous PRP in a patient with persistent PDPH for whom the standard epidural blood patch failed. The patient reported improvements in her headaches after just 3 days and was free of symptoms 35 days after the procedure.9
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are common triggers for headaches and migraines.10 Pain created in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) from clenching or grinding your teeth can travel to other areas of your skull, resulting in headaches or migraines.11 Removing strain from and relaxing these muscles may be a treatment approach for people with migraines from TMD.
Studies are beginning to show that PRP can reduce pain associated with TMDs. One such study examined 90 patients with TMJ osteoarthritis who were treated with either PRP alone or PRP with arthrocentesis (joint aspiration). Both treatment groups showed significant improvements in their TMD-associated headache, jaw range of motion, and pain when chewing, though the combination treatment group’s changes were superior.12
A 2019 meta-analysis of five clinical trials concluded that PRP injections were more effective at reducing pain in patients with TMJ osteoarthritis than hyaluronic acid or saline injections.13 More remarkably, PRP’s benefits last a long time; studies have demonstrated that its effects last up to 12 months after treatment.14
The entire PRP process, which includes preparation and injection, takes approximately 1 hour. At PRP Clinic at Synergy Medical, you can expect the following steps:
|A technician will draw a small sample (about 15 cc) of blood from you, which will be placed in a tube.|
|The vial is placed in a centrifuge, which spins the blood at high speeds. This separates the platelets from the other blood components.|
|We remove the tube from the centrifuge and separate the plasma layer from the other layers which are then discarded.|
|Once the PRP solution is prepared, your provider will inject it into the affected area where the healing process begins.|
Because PRP triggers a cascade of biological responses, you may experience some soreness or swelling in the injection area for a few days. We recommend taking it easy for a few days after your treatment.
Because PRP is an autologous therapy (derived from your own blood), it has an outstanding safety profile. There is no risk of an adverse reaction or disease transmission. Talk to your provider if you experience any severe discomfort.
Headaches and migraines remain challenging conditions for both patients and healthcare providers. More than 1 billion people suffer silently from migraines, making it the second leading cause of years lived with disability.15
But there is hope. PRP therapy has been shown to promote healing and relieve pain safely and effectively. If you’re in the Marysville, OH area and are suffering from recurrent headaches, reach out today to see how PRP therapy can help you.Call us today to learn what PRP can do for you.