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OBJECTIVES: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRGS) has become a popular neuromodulatory treatment for neuropathic pain. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate potential biomarkers of pain and pain relief, based on the differences in power spectral density (PSD) during varying degrees of pain and how these oscillations change during DRGS-mediated pain relief. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen chronic pain patients with implanted dorsal root ganglion stimulators were included in the MEG analysis. MEG Recordings were performed at rest while the stimulator was turned ON or OFF. Numerical rating scale (NRS) scores were also recorded before and after DRGS was turned OFF and ON. Power spectral and source localization analyses were then performed on preprocessed MEG recordings. RESULTS: With DRGS-OFF, patients in severe pain had significantly increased cortical theta (4-7 Hz) power and decreased cortical alpha (7-13 Hz) power compared to patients reporting less pain. This shift in power toward lower frequencies was contrasted by a shift toward the higher frequency power spectrum (low beta 13-20 Hz activity) during DRGS-mediated pain relief. A significant correlation was found between the increase in low beta activity and the degree of reported pain relief. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate increased low-frequency power spectral activity in chronic pain patients in the absence of stimulation which shifts toward higher frequency power spectrum activity in response to therapeutic DRGS. These cortical changes in response to DRGS provide support for the use of neuroimaging in the search for potential biomarkers of pain.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





646 - 654


Case series, DRG stimulation, MEG, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, failed back surgery syndrome, neuropathic pain, neurostimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, postherpetic neuralgia, Chronic Pain, Ganglia, Spinal, Humans, Neuralgia, Pain Management