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DRG Stimulation: A Revolution in CRPS Pain Relief | APM Pain Management Resource Blog

18 Nov

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has always been a difficult condition to treat. CRPS, previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which typically causes aching or burning sensations in the arms or legs and can manifest after an injury or surgery, doesn’t always respond to the treatment methods that work for other conditions. Even individuals with an implantable spinal cord stimulator don’t always experience the desired levels of CRPS pain relief. But all of that is about to change.

A revolutionary new stimulator, which works in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) region of the spine, has been proven extremely effective for the treatment of CRPS I and II. And in June, Advanced Pain Management became the first company in Wisconsin to begin offering it.

How it Works

DRG stimulation has the same three components as typical spinal cord stimulation (SCS): a generator with a battery, which sends out electrical pulses; insulated wire leads, which carry the electrical pulses to a specific area in your spinal cord; and the handheld patient controller, which allows you to adjust the location and strength of the stimulation. The trial is also the same: For roughly a week patients are fitted with a temporary device to determine its effectiveness for their particular pain condition.

What’s different with DRG stimulation is the location being stimulated. The dorsal root ganglion is a spinal structure densely populated with sensory nerves, which regulate signals and sensations as they travel to the brain. The DRG corresponds to particular locations in the body (like the feet and groin) meaning that stimulating it results in targeted pain relief to the specific areas affected by CRPS. This targeting means a better level of CRPS pain relief than typical SCS.

Proven Effective

DRG stimulation was the focus of a 12-month comprehensive study, known as the ACCURATE study.[1] Researchers found that 74.2% of patients using DRG stimulation had 50% or greater pain relief after one year, versus 53% of those utilizing traditional SCS. This means that not only can DRG provide superior CRPS pain relief, but it’s also sustained over time.

For those patients who experienced paresthesia, or the tingling sensation that replaces the pain, 94.5% of them reported that the sensation was confined to the primary area of pain. With traditional SCS, only 61.2% of patients reported this. In some cases, though, paresthesia was eliminated altogether. About 1/3 of patients experienced over 80% pain relief with no paresthesia at all.

According to the study, patients also had improvements in quality of life measures, psychological disposition and physical activity levels.

Other Benefits

Unlike some other SCS systems, the DRG system doesn’t have to be recharged, since it actually uses a fraction of the energy of typical systems. While the battery will still have to be replaced (roughly every five years), battery replacement with this device has also improved, meaning an easier process.

Additionally, like traditional SCS, DRG should reduce the need for oral medications, meaning fewer opioid-related side effects. Plus the system is reversible and can be removed at any time.

Learn More about CRPS (RSD) Pain Relief

If you’re suffering from CRPS and would like to learn more about DRG stimulation – including if it may be right for you – call (888) 901-PAIN or schedule a chat with a member of our care team staff to discuss your RSD pain relief / CRPS pain relief.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] "Long Term Data Confirms the St. Jude Medical Axium System Delivers Sustained and Superior Pain Relief for Patients with Chronic Lower Limb Pain." BusinessWire.com. December 11, 2015. Accessed August 22, 2016. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151211005787/en/.

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 09:42

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