Image: The SJM Axium Neurostimulator stimulation system (Photo courtesy of SJM).
A new study suggests that dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation at the L2-L3 level can relieve discogenic low back pain in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).
Researchers at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC; Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC; The Netherlands), and St. Jude Medical (SJM; St. Paul, MN, USA) conducted a study in 12 patients with significant chronic discogenic low back pain resulting from FBSS. All subjects were implanted with the SJM Axium Neurostimulator system that had at least one lead placed at L2 or L3.
Study participants pain ratings, mood, and quality of life were then tracked prospectively for up to 12 months. The results showed that over half of the patients reported a 50% or better pain relief in the low back; at one year, the average low back pain relief was 45.5%. There were concomitant decreases in overall pain, leg pain, pain interference, mood, and quality of life. The study was published on May 9, 2017, in Pain Practice.
“For the studied population, DRG stimulation at the L2 to L3 levels was effective at relieving low back pain. These reductions in pain were associated with improvements in quality of life,” concluded lead author Frank Huygen, MD, PhD, from Erasmus MC, and colleagues. “Thus, DRG stimulation at these levels may be effective for low back pain by recruiting both segmental and non-segmental neural pathways that are not otherwise accessible via traditional spinal cord stimulation.”
DRG therapy works by stimulating ganglia made up of densely populated sensory nerves, which regulate signals and sensations that travel through nerve fibers along the spinal column to the brain. Since each DRG is associated with different areas, the therapy can be targeted to the specific part of the body. In this way, DRG therapy has the unique ability to help manage pain in-situ, and is especially helpful for those who live with isolated chronic pain in the lower parts of the body.
Erasmus University Medical Center
Maastricht University Medical Center
St. Jude Medical