Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy is a new type of neurostimulation therapy designed to manage difficult-to-treat chronic pain in specific areas of the lower body, such as the foot, knee, hip or groin.
How DRG Therapy Works
DRG stimulation therapy works by stimulating dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). These are structures along the spinal column made up of densely populated sensory nerves, and they act like traffic lights, regulating signals and sensations that travel through nerve fibers along the spinal column to the brain.
Because the spinal column has a number of different DRGs, each of which is associated with different areas of the body, DRG stimulation therapy can target the DRG that is associated with the specific area of the body where a patient experiences pain. In this way, DRG therapy has the unique ability to help manage pain in targeted parts of the body where pain occurs, and is especially helpful for patients who live with isolated chronic pain in the lower parts of the body.
The DRG stimulation therapy system is made up of parts that are designed to work together to help you manage your pain:
- Generator: A small device that sends out mild electrical pulses and that contains a battery. This is implanted in your body.
- Leads: Thin insulated wires that carry the electrical pulses from the generator to your dorsal root ganglia. These are placed in your body in the area of the DRG.
- Patient controller: A handheld “remote control” that allows you to adjust the strength and location of stimulation or even turn stimulation off.
Is DRG therapy right for you?
DRG therapy may be an option if you have:
- Chronic pain that has lasted six months or more
- Isolated chronic pain in a lower part of the body, such as the foot, knee, hip or groin, following an injury or surgical procedure
- Little or no relief from traditional neurostimulation, surgery, pain medications, nerve blocks or other pain management therapies
If you suffer from this kind of pain, DRG therapy may work where other therapies have not—or may have provided only partial relief.