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CRPS

CRPS (3)

18 Nov

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has always been a difficult condition to treat. CRPS, previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which typically causes aching or burning sensations in the arms or legs and can manifest after an injury or surgery, doesn’t always respond to the treatment methods that work for other conditions. Even individuals with an implantable spinal cord stimulator don’t always experience the desired levels of CRPS pain relief. But all of that is about to change.

A revolutionary new stimulator, which works in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) region of the spine, has been proven extremely effective for the treatment of CRPS I and II. And in June, Advanced Pain Management became the first company in Wisconsin to begin offering it.

How it Works

DRG stimulation has the same three components as typical spinal cord stimulation (SCS): a generator with a battery, which sends out electrical pulses; insulated wire leads, which carry the electrical pulses to a specific area in your spinal cord; and the handheld patient controller, which allows you to adjust the location and strength of the stimulation. The trial is also the same: For roughly a week patients are fitted with a temporary device to determine its effectiveness for their particular pain condition.

What’s different with DRG stimulation is the location being stimulated. The dorsal root ganglion is a spinal structure densely populated with sensory nerves, which regulate signals and sensations as they travel to the brain. The DRG corresponds to particular locations in the body (like the feet and groin) meaning that stimulating it results in targeted pain relief to the specific areas affected by CRPS. This targeting means a better level of CRPS pain relief than typical SCS.

Proven Effective

DRG stimulation was the focus of a 12-month comprehensive study, known as the ACCURATE study.[1] Researchers found that 74.2% of patients using DRG stimulation had 50% or greater pain relief after one year, versus 53% of those utilizing traditional SCS. This means that not only can DRG provide superior CRPS pain relief, but it’s also sustained over time.

For those patients who experienced paresthesia, or the tingling sensation that replaces the pain, 94.5% of them reported that the sensation was confined to the primary area of pain. With traditional SCS, only 61.2% of patients reported this. In some cases, though, paresthesia was eliminated altogether. About 1/3 of patients experienced over 80% pain relief with no paresthesia at all.

According to the study, patients also had improvements in quality of life measures, psychological disposition and physical activity levels.

Other Benefits

Unlike some other SCS systems, the DRG system doesn’t have to be recharged, since it actually uses a fraction of the energy of typical systems. While the battery will still have to be replaced (roughly every five years), battery replacement with this device has also improved, meaning an easier process.

Additionally, like traditional SCS, DRG should reduce the need for oral medications, meaning fewer opioid-related side effects. Plus the system is reversible and can be removed at any time.

Learn More about CRPS (RSD) Pain Relief

If you’re suffering from CRPS and would like to learn more about DRG stimulation – including if it may be right for you – call (888) 901-PAIN or schedule a chat with a member of our care team staff to discuss your RSD pain relief / CRPS pain relief.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] "Long Term Data Confirms the St. Jude Medical Axium System Delivers Sustained and Superior Pain Relief for Patients with Chronic Lower Limb Pain." BusinessWire.com. December 11, 2015. Accessed August 22, 2016. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151211005787/en/.

02 Nov

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has always been a difficult condition to treat. CRPS, previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which typically causes aching or burning sensations in the arms or legs and can manifest after an injury or surgery, doesn’t always respond to the treatment methods that work for other conditions. Even individuals with an implantable spinal cord stimulator don’t always experience the desired levels of CRPS pain relief. But all of that is about to change.

A revolutionary new stimulator, which works in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) region of the spine, has been proven extremely effective for the treatment of CRPS I and II. And in June, Advanced Pain Management became the first company in Wisconsin to begin offering it.

How it Works

DRG stimulation has the same three components as typical spinal cord stimulation (SCS): a generator with a battery, which sends out electrical pulses; insulated wire leads, which carry the electrical pulses to a specific area in your spinal cord; and the handheld patient controller, which allows you to adjust the location and strength of the stimulation. The trial is also the same: For roughly a week patients are fitted with a temporary device to determine its effectiveness for their particular pain condition.

What’s different with DRG stimulation is the location being stimulated. The dorsal root ganglion is a spinal structure densely populated with sensory nerves, which regulate signals and sensations as they travel to the brain. The DRG corresponds to particular locations in the body (like the feet and groin) meaning that stimulating it results in targeted pain relief to the specific areas affected by CRPS. This targeting means a better level of CRPS pain relief than typical SCS.

Proven Effective

DRG stimulation was the focus of a 12-month comprehensive study, known as the ACCURATE study.[1] Researchers found that 74.2% of patients using DRG stimulation had 50% or greater pain relief after one year, versus 53% of those utilizing traditional SCS. This means that not only can DRG provide superior CRPS pain relief, but it’s also sustained over time.

For those patients who experienced paresthesia, or the tingling sensation that replaces the pain, 94.5% of them reported that the sensation was confined to the primary area of pain. With traditional SCS, only 61.2% of patients reported this. In some cases, though, paresthesia was eliminated altogether. About 1/3 of patients experienced over 80% pain relief with no paresthesia at all.

According to the study, patients also had improvements in quality of life measures, psychological disposition and physical activity levels.

Other Benefits

Unlike some other SCS systems, the DRG system doesn’t have to be recharged, since it actually uses a fraction of the energy of typical systems. While the battery will still have to be replaced (roughly every five years), battery replacement with this device has also improved, meaning an easier process.

Additionally, like traditional SCS, DRG should reduce the need for oral medications, meaning fewer opioid-related side effects. Plus the system is reversible and can be removed at any time.

Learn More about CRPS (RSD) Pain Relief

If you’re suffering from CRPS and would like to learn more about DRG stimulation – including if it may be right for you – call (888) 901-PAIN or schedule a chat with a member of our care team staff to discuss your RSD pain relief / CRPS pain relief.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] "Long Term Data Confirms the St. Jude Medical Axium System Delivers Sustained and Superior Pain Relief for Patients with Chronic Lower Limb Pain." BusinessWire.com. December 11, 2015. Accessed August 22, 2016. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151211005787/en/.

31 Oct

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is, as the name suggests, a complex issue. It most often affects one of the limbs, causing intense burning or throbbing pain, but diagnosing and treating it are sometimes very difficult. Here are a few important facts about CRPS to help you better understand this often complicated condition. 

  1. CRPS may be triggered by a variety of events.

    There are actually two types of CRPS.[1] Type 1, also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy, appears after an illness or injury that doesn’t directly damage the nerves. This may include anything from a sprain or fracture in the affected limb to a surgery, infection or heart attack. It’s also been suggested that emotional stress may play a part. Type 1 accounts for roughly 90% of CRPS cases.[1] Type 2 – previously known as causalgia – occurs after a direct injury to the nerves. The commonality between the two types is that both seem to cause the nervous system and immune system to malfunction in response to the damage. Although it’s not entirely known how or why this happens,[1] the result is increased inflammation and chronic pain, which can last anywhere from months to years. 
  2. Symptoms may vary from person to person, but there are a few common indicators.

    The main issue is usually a continuous burning or throbbing pain in one of the extremities (hand, arm, leg or foot). Symptoms also often include increased sensitivity, swelling, joint stiffness, sweaty or cold skin and changes in skin color or texture, although symptoms may change over time. The pain may also spread to the opposite limb.[1][2] Research has shown that many of the cases of CRPS are mild and can gradually recover with time. However, the more severe cases can cause lasting damage – like atrophy of the affected limb and muscle tightening – from which it’s difficult to recover.[1][2]  That’s why it’s important to diagnose and treat CRPS early.
  3. CRPS can affect anyone, however there are people who are more at risk.

    The condition can affect people of both genders and almost all ages, but it is more common among women. The average age of sufferers is about 40. Children under 5 don’t get the condition and it’s rare for children under 10, however there are many cases among teenagers.[2]  There is also some preliminary data to suggest that there may be a familial connection; clusters of CRPS among families may result in even more severe pain with earlier onset and more pain sites.[2]  
  4. It can be a difficult condition to diagnose.

    Because the causes of CRPS aren’t entirely understood, there is no definitive test to diagnose it. Oftentimes, a doctor will rely on symptoms and medical history to make a diagnosis, although other tests may be used to rule out conditions with similar symptoms (like arthritis, Lyme condition, a clotted vein or generalized muscle conditions).[2] On top of that, bone scans may detect bone changes and MRIs may detect tissue changes from the condition.[1]
  5. There are many treatment options – including new, state-of-the-art technology.

    Like with many other conditions, CRPS treatments are much more effective if they’re started early. First-line treatments may include NSAIDs, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, antidepressants and anticonvulsants (which can help with nerve pain). Physical therapy may be utilized to increase range of motion and decrease pain, while biofeedback techniques may aid relaxation and foster pain relief. [1][2] If the condition is more advanced, doctors may suggest sympathetic nerve blocks, during which anesthetic is injected near the spine to dampen nerve activity and pain. If none of these treatments are able to provide adequate relief, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may be considered. This implantable device delivers small doses of electricity to the nerves in order to interrupt pain signals before they reach the brain. A new type of SCS device, called a dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulator, has been proven extremely effective for CRPS patients, and can provide better targeted, sustained relief for patients, even those who have had unsuccessful SCS trials in the past.

If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic pain which you think could be CRPS, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment have been shown to improve outcomes and reduce the chance of more serious CRPS symptoms. To speak to a care team specialist or to schedule an appointment to discuss your condition, call (888) 901-PAIN (7246).

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] Mayo Clinic. “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.” April 12, 2014. Accessed October 25, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/conditions-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20022844.

[2] National Institutes of Health. “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet.” November 3, 2015. Accessed October 25, 2016. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/detail_reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm

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