Globally, as healthcare and medicine evolve, greater consideration is being given to the societal burden of neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is pain that is generated by the nerves directly. This can be a consequence of injury, including surgery, or a disease of the nerves such as diabetic neuropathy. In severe cases, a patient’s quality of life is rated worse than other pain conditions, even cancer diagnoses.
Neuropathic pain is especially problematic because of the associated difficulty to diagnose its origin, as well as it’s severity, chronicity and resistance to analgesics.
Generally the diagnosis of neuropathic pain is based primarily on a patient’s history and examination by a pain medicine specialist, as it will not show up on scans or tests used to diagnose other pain issues.
A multidisciplinary approach is used to manage neuropathic pain, utilising physical therapy, psychological therapy, medication and procedures. Until the advent of dorsal root ganglion stimulation, therapeutic outcomes have frequently been disappointing.
Spinal cord stimulation of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG-SCS) is an advanced therapy for treating chronic neuropathic pain. Devices to stimulate the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) became available in the mid-2010s for treating chronic pain.
The Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) is located in the lateral epidural space where the spinal nerve roots form – a processing area for chronic pain. Applying mild electrical stimulation to the DRG can reduce or eliminate neuropathic pain.
DRG-SCS has been demonstrated as particularly effective for localised or regional neuropathic pain, eg. feet, hands and groin, as well as treating post-surgical pain such as knee replacement. In addition, complex regional pain syndrome, one of the more difficult neuropathic pain conditions to treat, has also been shown to respond to DRG-SCS in a recent clinical study. As such, DRG-SCS is an important tool in the Neuromodulation suite of techniques which continue to improve outcomes for sufferers of chronic pain.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, make an appointment to speak with one of QPain’s expert Pain Medicine Specialists.