Area hospitals exploring alternate treatment options over pills

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- In the wake of the biggest prescription opioid takedown that landed doctors behind bars, other medical professionals are opening up about new, non addictive ways to treat pain.

"Anything you can do to treat pain without narcotics is a winner for those patients," said Dr. Kevin Pugh with Pikeville Medical Center.

Patients suffering from aches in their joints and knees are seeing relief with a new device called Iovera. It not only improves patient recovery, but eliminates a threat of addictive pain pills.

"We have a lot of patients that do have substance abuse problems or in the past and they don't want to go back down that road," said Pugh who is an orthopedic surgeon.

Pugh is using Iovera for recovery in knee surgery. It disrupts pain signals to the brain and gives relief for about 90 days.

"This is not 100% pain relief, but even if it is 10 or 20%, and it can decrease narcotics, then that's a big deal for the patient."

In Charleston, Thomas Health is exploring treatment for back pain with a 60 day therapy that proves long term relief. The Spine and Nerve Center of Saint Francis Hospital have now treated the first patients in West Virginia with the SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation System.

"I am excited to offer the SPRINT PNS System for our chronic pain patients, including those with certain types of low back pain. Because it is a minimally invasive, reversible and nerve-sparing treatment option, I can offer it to my patients earlier in the treatment continuum. In addition to chronic back pain, studies have shown that SPRINT PNS is effective to treat other pain conditions, as well, including shoulder pain, post-amputation pain and post-operative pain," said Dr. Timothy Deer. "As we battle the opioid crisis there is a huge unmet need for less invasive treatments, such as Sprint. I'm excited about having this option available for my patients to help prevent, reduce or eliminate opioid use. This is the first neurostimulation therapy of its kind to demonstrate long term results following a short-term implant...very exciting."

"The less narcotics, the quicker the recovery," said Pugh. "The less sickness that they have, the less potential they have for addiction to narcotics."