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Neuromodulation. 2019 Mar 1. doi: 10.1111/ner.12937. [Epub ahead of print]

A Prospective Study of Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation for Non-Operated Discogenic Low Back Pain.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Rijnstate Hospital Arnhem, Velp, The Netherlands.
Abbott, Plano, TX, USA.



Disruptions of lumbar intervertebral discs may lead to severe discogenic low back pain (LBP). Severe pain has a deleterious effect on physical function and quality of life. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a robust treatment for many neuropathic pain conditions. New innovations may be well-suited to treat neuropathic chronic LBP, including discogenic pain. The aim of this prospective study was to determine the effect of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation for a well-selected group of patients with discogenic LBP with no history of previous back surgeries.


Twenty subjects with confirmed discogenic LBP and no prior history of back surgery underwent trials of DRG stimulation and, if successful with at least 50% pain reduction, were permanently implanted. Subjects rated their pain, disability, quality of life, and mood at baseline, and 14 subjects were followed through 12 months of treatment.


Treatment with DRG stimulation reduced LBP ratings (68.3% reduction), from mean 7.20 ± 1.3 at baseline to 2.29 ± 2.1 after 12 months (p = < 0.001). Oswestry ratings of disability significantly decreased (p = < 0.001) from 42.09 ± 12.9 at baseline to 21.54 ± 16.4 after six months of treatment and to 20.1 ± 16.6 after 12 months. The average quality of life EQ-5D index score at baseline was 0.61 ± 0.12 and 0.84 ± 0.13 after 12 months.


DRG stimulation treatment for discogenic LBP improved the level of pain, function, and quality of life. Further research is necessary into efficacy of DRG stimulation in patients with chronic discogenic LBP and to determine the place of SCS in the treatment algorithm.


Back pain; chronic pain; discogenic pain; dorsal root ganglion stimulation; neuromodulation; neuropathic pain; spinal cord stimulation


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