DRG Stimulation

A Cutting Edge Treatment for CRPS & Severe Nerve Pain Available Now!

Dr. Heros and Spinal Diagnostics are proud to offer a brand new, state-of-the-art treatment option for chronic nerve pain. If you or someone you love suffers with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, sometimes called RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) or other forms of severe neuropathic pain, we have great news: a complete change in your quality of life may be closer than you thought possible!

For years – decades even – patients with CRPS have had very few promising options for effective pain relief. From physical therapy to injections, from ketamine to gabapentin, methadone to Lyrica and every medication in between, even Spinal Cord Stimulation – despite these best efforts, most patients with CRPS still suffer with severe and life-altering chronic nerve pain.

Doctors feel frustrated at having nothing better to offer, patients often are “bounced around” from clinic to clinic, and often times simply end up dependent on opiate or narcotic pain medications. Even these medications are of limited benefit and come with significant side effects, risks, and unfortunately – social stigma.

Traditionally, one more advanced option has been spinal cord stimulation. This is a procedure where small electrodes are implanted into the spinal canal and rest against the sac surrounding the spinal cord. Electrical signals delivered in this way can block or interfere with pain signals as they travel from the back, arms and legs up to the brain. While effective for some types of pain, it too has proven of limited benefit in CRPS and other very specific neuropathies. In particular, it is very difficult for spinal stimulation to provide effective pain relief of the ankle and foot or along very focal, localized nerve pathways.

Thankfully, there has been a breakthrough. A brand new form of spinal cord stimulation developed and patented by St. Jude Medical has just become available in the United States. “DRG” stimulation specifically targets one particular anatomic structure, the Dorsal Root Ganglion. These structures are found up and down the spine at all levels on both sides, in the openings of the spine where the large spinal nerves exit the spinal canal. The DRG is known to play a significant role in the development of chronic and neuropathic pain.

Stimulation of the DRG has been done in Europe and Australia for about 5 years, and there are several good research studies showing profound levels of improvement for nerve injury syndromes (eg chronic nerve pain after hernia repair, hip or knee surgery), and especially in CRPS. In fact, DRG Stimulation is FDA-approved specifically for the treatment of CRPS, and in this patient population DRG stimulation has been shown to give superior levels of pain relief as compared to traditional spinal cord stimulation. READ THE ARTICLE

The process begins with an office evaluation and thorough history and physical. Part of the history is discussing what treatments you may have already tried. If you are found to be a good candidate, the next step is undergoing a 5-10 day trial. This is basically a temporary version placed through a spinal needle under light sedation, which you then get to go home with and try out for a week. After 5-10 days it’s removed in the office and if it didn’t work well for you for whatever reason, that’s that. It’s a low risk, minimally invasive chance to test it out and see if it works for you. If it does work well, however, it can then be implanted longer term.

 With CRPS in particular the results have been truly impressive. Some patients see drastic levels of pain relief and many of the physical abnormalities of CRPS (swelling, skin changes etc) significantly improve as well. The two most recent CRPS patients that I have treated with DRG stimulation experienced 80-90% pain relief – truly life changing!

Hear from a few of our patients who have undergone this procedure:

Spinal Diagnostics Patient Jason Bowling talks about how DRG Stimulation saved his leg from being amputated:

DRG Stimulation was recently featured in Pain Pathways magazine – read more here!

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