DRG Therapy: A Different Approach to Pain Relief
Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) therapy is a new type of neurostimulation therapy designed to manage difficult-to-treat chronic pain in specific areas of the lower body, such as the foot, knee, hip or groin. If you suffer from this kind of pain, DRG therapy may work where other therapies have not—or may have provided only partial relief.
Watch one patient’s experience with DRG therapy
Learn the details about how DRG therapy works, and watch Kam's doctor discuss a physician's perspective on helping people like Kam.
A new option for CRPS
Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a chronic pain condition that affects a part of the body following an injury or trauma. CRPS is felt to be caused in part by damaged or malfunctioning nerves, and it affects the way the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system send pain signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.1,2
Often characterized by prolonged or excessive pain, CRPS can cause mild or dramatic changes in skin color, temperature and/or swelling in the affected area. Patients with confirmed nerve injuries are categorizes as having CRPS-II (also known as causalgia), while patients without confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I (previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome or RSD).1,2
If you suffer from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), you may have tried other forms of neurostimulation without receiving adequate pain relief. DRG therapy offers a new option that may work for you. DRG therapy is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe difficult-to-treat chronic pain caused by CRPS of the lower limbs. Read more about CRPS in the fall 2016 issue of Pain Pathways magazine (2.8mb).
The ACCURATE IDE study demonstrated DRG therapy provided superior pain relief in patients with chronic lower limb pain compared to traditional SCS therapy.3
In a study evaluating specific types of difficult-to-treat chronic pain of the lower extremities, DRG patients had an average of 81.4% reduction in their pain at 12 months.3
Is DRG therapy right for you?
DRG therapy may be an option if you have:
- Chronic pain that has lasted six months or more
- Isolated chronic pain in a lower part of the body, such as the foot, knee, hip or groin, following an injury or surgical procedure
- Little or no relief from traditional neurostimulation, surgery, pain medications, nerve blocks or other pain management therapies
While neurostimulation therapies such as DRG therapy help most patients receive at least some reduction in pain, not everyone responds in the same way. Complications may include painful stimulation, loss of pain relief and certain surgical risks (e.g., paralysis). Talk to your doctor to see if DRG therapy may be right for you. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of neurostimulation with your doctor.
How DRG therapy works
DRG therapy works by stimulating dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). These are structures along the spinal column made up of densely populated sensory nerves, and they act like traffic lights, regulating signals and sensations that travel through nerve fibers along the spinal column to the brain.
Because the spinal column has a number of different DRGs, each of which is associated with different areas of the body, DRG therapy can target the DRG that is associated with the specific area of the body where a patient experiences pain. In this way, DRG therapy has the unique ability to help manage pain in targeted parts of the body where pain occurs, and is especially helpful for patients like you and those who live with isolated chronic pain in the lower parts of the body.
If your doctor decides that DRG therapy is right for you, you will receive a DRG therapy system. This system is made up of parts that are designed to work together to help you manage your pain:
- Generator: A small device that sends out mild electrical pulses and that contains a battery. This is implanted in your body.
- Leads: Thin insulated wires that carry the electrical pulses from the generator to your dorsal root ganglia. These are placed in your body in the area of the DRG.
- Patient controller: A handheld “remote control” that allows you to adjust the strength and location of stimulation or even turn stimulation off.
Discover what receiving neurostimulation therapy can involve, and learn about receiving an implanted system and recovering after the procedure.
One of the benefits of DRG therapy is that you can be fitted with a temporary device that works like an implanted system but can be removed. This allows you and your doctor to determine if DRG therapy is effective for your pain before undergoing an implant. Learn more about trying a neurostimulation system.
DRG therapy from St. Jude Medical
St. Jude Medical offers the first and only neurostimulation device designed for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) therapy and targeted relief of certain difficult-to-treat chronic pain. The Axium™ Neurostimulator System is approved by the FDA to treat patients with neuropathic chronic intractable pain associated with CRPS of the lower limbs.
Learn more about the Axium™ Neurostimulator System or request that a St. Jude Medical representative be in touch with you by contacting us.