DRG device for chronic back pain (Photo: Twitter)
Chronic back pain in the agrarian was considered as the result of the ardent, menial work. In recent times, however, chronic back pain is mostly associated with the change in lifestyle that includes a lesser physical activity affecting people of all age. However, in a new study, there is a claim that people with treatment-resistant back pain may get significant and lasting relief with an innovative treatment that short-circuits pain.
In the coming light of the condition, the researchers at Rush University Medical Center, US stated that chronic pain is classified as a condition when it lasts for three or more months. The researchers also added that this condition occurs when nerves continue to send signals to the brain after the original source of the pain is gone. To combat this condition, the researchers have come up with a new alternative to curb the pain.
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The Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) therapy:
This stimulation therapy disrupts the pain signals by specifically targeting the nerves responsible for the pain. As such, it avoids unnecessary stimulation of nerve fibres coming from the non-painful areas that occurs with spinal cord stimulation hence mitigating the pain.
The therapy will also treat patients who seek the non-drug pain treatments in select patients, according to the study presented at the annual American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) meeting in San Fransisco, US.
"People in our study who had DRG stimulation reported significant improvement in pain even after a year, which is notable," said Robert J McCarthy, a professor at Rush University Medical Center.
"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," McCarthy said.
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The DRG stimulation therapy will serve as a sensor to target the pain and sensation gateway between the nerves in different parts of the body and the spinal cord and brain.To capture the area of the pain, a pacemaker-like device will be implanted under the skin in the lower back sending small electronic pulses through a wire placed near the DRG. The pulses will replace the pain with another more tolerable sensation, such as tingling or numbness.
And according to the researchers this new innovation will be programmed by a physician anesthesiologist or other pain specialist based on the patient's pain.
They also went on to say that the DRG stimulation will offer two advantages over spinal cord stimulation.
Of late, this innovation has been conducted on 67 patients with chronic pain pack by implanting the DRG stimulation devices then followed up in 3 to 18 months. Seventeen patients had the device for more than a year.
The result showed that after the implantation of the DRG device, most patients described their pain on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the worst pain imaginable.
The most common pain score also showed a progressive result of 5 which is a decrease in 33 per cent. Other patients also reported a 27 per cent decrease in pain or disability limitations to daily living. The overall result recorded a 94 per cent overall benefit.
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However, because of some other conditions, five patients (7.4 per cent) had to have the wires re-implanted while two (3 per cent) had to remove the device after removed after they were infected and one had the device removed due to a complication.
"There is a real need for non-drug therapy relief for people with chronic pain," said McCarthy.
"Although it is more technically difficult to place the electrodes, it may be an option for patients who haven't benefited from other pain therapies, and may reduce or eliminate the need for opioids," he said.
(With PTI inputs)