image_1664535_rightDRG Stimulation is a modern treatment for patients who still experience pain symptoms from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) after other methods like spinal cord stimulation (SCS) fail. DRG is an abbreviation for the dorsal root ganglion, sometimes referred to as the posterior root ganglion. When discussing the spine, the posterior region is located at the bottom of each spinal nerve. People experience feelings like pressure, heat, and pain due to signals that often start from one area of the body – then travel up to the brain.
On the way to the brain, the signal must pass through a dorsal root ganglion. Until recently the medical community believed that the DRG had little to no involvement in causing chronic pain, but new evidence shows that the central nervous system’s preference to detecting and transmitting pain can often be traced back to the DRG. If the DRG nerve is being pressed due to disc herniation, bulging, or spinal stenosis, then a person can also feel symptoms of chronic pain. DRG stimulation aims to address such issues.
In SCS, a pain doctor implants a unique device that can interrupt pain signals. DRG stimulation is similar with one critical difference. A spinal cord stimulator is usually placed in a generalized spinal cord region, but DRG targets specific areas – those that are sending the pain signals. Direct electrical stimulation from an implanted device can interrupt the transmitted signals from the nerve, helping patients feel pain relief. For many patients, the most important aspect is that DRG stimulation has lower rates of paresthesia than SCS. Paresthesia is a prickling feeling some people feel after installing a spinal cord stimulator. While there are patients who prefer the prickling to the intense chronic pain, others end up removing the spinal cord stimulator because they feel excessive discomfort.
According to a 2015 clinical trial by ACCURATE Study, 74.2% of patients reported pain relief greater than 50% with one-third of those patients claiming an over 80% pain reduction. The majority of these patients took the procedure to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS.) Combining these statistics with the fact that DRG is already in use at other countries like the Netherlands, the Food & Drug Administration approved DRG stimulation for use in the United State in February 2016.
Garden State Pain Center has partnered with St. Jude Medical, providing our clinic access to the Medical Axium Neurostimulator System. This system is what stimulates the DRG; our doctors are a select few in New Jersey who can perform this new, novel procedure with the neurostimulator system. If spinal cord stimulation did not provide satisfactory results for your chronic pain, DRG stimulation may be the right path. Schedule a consultation with one of our doctors by filling out our form online or calling one of our offices in Clifton, Edison, Freehold, and more.