Jacqueline is in her fourth year of her Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency. Her research with Dr. Chantel Debert looks at platelet rich plasma for treating post-traumatic greater occipital neuralgia.
In this randomized controlled clinical trial, we're hoping to identify new and longer lasting treatments for the treatment of greater occipital neuralgia (GON) following head injury. GON can be a common type of headache seen following head injury, with increased occurrence seen in patients who also sustained concurrent whiplash injuries. Although the etiology of GON is not fully understood, damage and irritation along the course of the nerve (located at the back of the head) is believed to play a primary role.
Patients with post-traumatic GON suffer significant disability relating to their headaches. Conventional treatment involves repeated steroid/anesthetic injections to the GON, located at the back of the head. While this intervention does improve symptoms, its effects are transient, typically lasting one month on average. Repeated steroid injections are associated with numerous adverse effects, making them a less desirable treatment in the long run.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is an emerging biological treatment modality containing supraphysiologic concentrations of platelets, plasma, and associated growth factors. Multiple animal and in-vitro studies have demonstrated PRP’s ability to assist in axonal regeneration and neurologic recovery in models of peripheral nerve injury. PRP’s anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, safety profile, and longer duration of effect make it an attractive therapeutic modality over conventional steroid treatment in peripheral nerve disorders.
They are conducting a pilot study in 30 participants with post-traumatic GON. Participants will be randomized to receive an injection of autologous PRP, steroid/anesthetic, or normal saline. These injections will be performed by a trained physician under ultrasound guidance. This trial will be double blinded. Baseline demographic and headache characteristics will be collected and patients will be followed until 3 months post injection. We predict that the PRP and steroid groups will have similar reductions in headache-related pain at 1 month, but that this effect will persist to 3 months in the PRP group.
She is also working on a project looking at the effect of platelet rich plasma following whiplash injury.
Supervisors: Chantel Debert, Rodney Li Pi Shan
HBI/Mathison Centre Pilot Research Fund Program (2019)