A sigh of relief for those suffering from chronic back pains has made news. A lot of people suffer from consistent back pains, which become chronic when they persist for three months or more and for which they rely on pain relief medications or massages, which are only temporary solutions for the problem.
But, a recent study suggests a new treatment in this area which is said to be effective with long lasting relief. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy presented at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 annual meeting mitigates the pain by targeting the nerves causing the pain.
As per a report published on MediBulletin, Robert J. McCarthy, Pharm.D., lead author of the study and professor of anesthesiology at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, said, “People in our study who had DRG stimulation reported significant improvement in pain even after a year, which is notable.”
“They had tried numerous therapies, from drugs to spinal cord stimulation to surgery, but got little to no lasting pain relief. For most, DRG stimulation really improved their quality of life,” added McCarthy.
What is DRG and how does the therapy work?
DRG or Dorsal root ganglion are a group of nerve cells that are present on both sides of vertebra, which act as gateways for pain and sensation for nerves in various parts of the body, spinal cord and brain. This therapy provides a hindrance for the pain signal between painful area and brain.
In DRG therapy a small device (pacemaker like) is implanted under the skin in the lower back of the patient. The device sends electronic pulses with the help of a wire placed near DRG, which is connected to the nerve that has pain. The programming of the device is controlled by the doctor/specialist who the patient is referring.
According to the report on MediBulletin researchers had implanted DRG stimulation devices in 67 people with chronic back pain. Patients were followed for 3 to 18 months. 17 patients kept the device for more than a year. In the results it was found that pain score fell from 8-10 to 5, a clinically significant improvement when compared to pre-device placement pain (with 10 being the worst pain imaginable). Patients reported a 27 percent decrease (median) in disability, or patient-reported limitations to daily living, due to pain. About 94 percent of patients reported the treatment was beneficial.
The difference between DRG stimulation therapy and spinal cord stimulation therapy is that firstly it requires lower levels of current and secondly it does not involve stimulation of nerve-fibers from non-painful areas.
- 1. https://medibulletin.com/new-device-provides-long-term-relief-from-chronic-back-pain/