Dorsal Root Ganglion: A Treatment for CRPS
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is one of the most severe causes of chronic pain. Individuals who suffer from this condition could have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, let alone carrying out their daily routine.
Some of the most common treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, neuropathic agents, opioid prescriptions (when appropriate), and surgical procedures.
However, a nerve modulation called Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation could be an effective treatment option for CRPS.
What Is CRPS?
CRPS is an excruciating condition that leads to chronic pain. There are numerous possible causes. Some of the most common include:
- A major traumatic accident such as a motor vehicle condition
- An infection that scrambles the body’s signals
- A seemingly innocuous injury, such as a sprained ankle
- A surgical procedure where CRPS developed as a side effect
CRPS is a condition that usually develops gradually. It could take months for the symptoms of CRPS to manifest, making it hard for patients and doctors to figure out how someone developed CRPS. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- A severe pain described as burning in nature
- Hyperalgesia (an increased sensitivity to pain)
- Changes in skin color and skin temperature
The severity of these symptoms can wax and wane over time. As this condition gains more attention, doctors are working hard to figure out how to diagnose this condition more quickly. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the faster it can be treated.
Why Is CRPS Difficult to Diagnose?
The prevailing theory is that the nerve’s signals to the brain get scrambled. This causes the brain to interpret the signals as severe pain. Furthermore, there is no blood test to diagnose CRPS. Doctors diagnose this condition after ruling out other options. By this time, patients might have tried over the counter medications, neuropathic agents, prescription opioids, other nerve blocks, and even surgery. Nothing has worked. Now, there is an advanced treatment option available. Dorsal root ganglion stimulation may be the answer.
What Is the Dorsal Root Ganglion?
The dorsal root ganglion is a critical nerve structure that sits in the spine. Like other ganglions, the dorsal root ganglion is a cluster of neurons. These neurons relay signals between the body and the central nervous system, such as the brain. In essence, this ganglion acts as a highway along which various signals traverse. Some signals indicate pain while others indicate position, pressure, temperature, and pleasure.
For example, if someone stubs his or her toe, this ganglion transmits this signal to the brain. If an individual touches something hot, this signal gets transmitted as well. Because the dorsal root plays a role in transmitting pain signals, it can be targeted as a treatment for CRPS.
How Does Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation Work?
When doctors use nerve blocks, the goal is to blunt pain signals to provide patients with relief. The principle behind dorsal root ganglion stimulation is similar. The dorsal root ganglion acts as a highway through which countless signals merge. With dorsal root ganglion stimulation, the goal is to target nerves specifically involved in CRPS pain signals.
A dorsal root ganglion stimulator is an implantable pulse generator combined with electrical leads that deliver signals that modulate the dorsal root ganglion. Patients are able to control the stimulation using a hand-held controller. In this manner, patients are able to control the sensory nerve cells in the dorsal root ganglion and reduce their pain. Ultimately, dorsal root ganglion stimulation can improve a patient’s quality of life.
Contact Us Today!
Dorsal root ganglion stimulation can be incredibly helpful for patients who suffer from CRPS. At MidSouth Pain, we invest in the latest treatment options for the benefit of our patients. We know that some chronic pain conditions are devastating. That is why we do everything we can to help. Contact us today to learn more!
What Our Patients are Saying
The Medical Team at MidSouth Pain Treatment Center understands that chronic pain is different for every patient. It is because of this philosophy that our medical providers take a completely individualized approach to crafting specific treatment plans for each patient. When it comes to chronic pain, no two symptoms are alike and we pride ourselves on diagnosing and treating pain. We believe that there is a solution for everyone. Our patients do not have to accept a life with pain.