For our COVID-19 Guidelines & Precautions, tap here.


Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulators

Posted on December 08, 2020

An Effective Way To Treat Nerve Pain

When it comes to treating nerve pain, there are many medications such as anti-inflammatories, steroids, and/or medications directed towards the pain. At times, these medications or even injections may not offer enough relief for nerve pain.

Complex regional pain syndrome type 1 is a debilitating illness where patients suffer intense nerve pain following an injury or even surgery. Patients often arrive with increased sensitivity where simple actions, such as putting on a sock, may be painful. Swelling, hair loss, or even redness may be seen in the affected body part.

Recently, advances in nerve stimulators have led to directly stimulating the affected nerve in the spine. Using a needle, the wire is threaded above the control center of the nerve, known as the dorsal root ganglion. This is located on the side of the spine where the nerve exits.

Using this approach, therapy can be directed in exact areas such as toe pain, knee pain, groin pain, etc. Patients do not need to feel any buzzing, unlike prior nerve stimulators, in order to experience relief.

A remarkable case involved a patient with foot pain following a sprained toe. She had seen several podiatrists and had ankle joint injections and nerve blocks with no relief. Anti-inflammatories, nerve pain medications and strong narcotics failed to restore her quality of life.

She arrived at our facility frustrated, and without hope. She mentioned mild foot swelling at her initial exam, that at times sensitivity was so severe that she was unable to wear shoes or socks (she came in sandals).

Prior MRIs revealed mild ankle joint arthritis, yet did not explain her source of pain. APMSS Board Certified Pain Medicine physician Dr. Ivan Samcam ordered a bone scan of her foot, which showed signs of complex regional pain syndrome. She was given a series of spinal nerve blocks with significant relief, although this lasted for only a few weeks. She was again further frustrated as she was now convinced she will live with this pain forever.

Dr. Samcam then advised her to undergo a DRG nerve stimulator trial at the L5 and S1 nerves in the spine, as these nerves give sensation to the foot. During this trial, she received about 80% relief and could not wait to have the system implanted.

One month later, the patient underwent permanent implantation of the leads and battery. She now has 90% relief of her foot pain. The patient is happy she can wear shoes and go for long walks. Her narcotic and nerve medications have since then been taken off slowly.

Neuromodulation, or nerve stimulation, is a growing field that has given chronic pain patients an opportunity at being pain free. This has helped patients to wean off their medications, complete their daily activities, or even go on an afternoon walk.

If pain is interfering with your quality of life, begin by seeing one of our skilled, experienced pain management doctors, each trained in modern pain management procedures.

At APMSS, the very latest techniques and technology are utilized, with patient comfort always a priority. To learn more or for an assessment for yourself or someone you know, call Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists at 239-437-8000.

8255 College Parkway, Suite 200, Fort Myers, FL 33919

Located in South Fort Myers on College Parkway between Winkler Road and Whiskey Creek Parkway