Floridian Dennis Antiporec is no stranger to pain.
"There were times at night I couldn't walk to the bathroom," he said. "I'd be on all fours going to the bathroom at home."
Antiporec is describing the effects of diabetic neuropathy in his feet.
"The pain was like someone hitting me with a hammer, and they were on fire at the same time," he added.
Antiporec is among an estimated 50 million Americans living with some form of chronic pain.
"And it's not limited to back or neck," explained Dr. Edward Frankoski, a pain management specialist. "It could be anything. It could be cancer pain. It could be people who've had trauma from an amputated leg in an automobile accident, migraine headaches."
Amid growing concerns about the use of oral medications to combat chronic pain, Frankoski is joining a new trend: creating customized non-narcotic pain creams individualized for each patient.
"So within one compounded cream could be six, seven, eight different medications," said Frankoski.
And patients get the benefit without systemic side effects.
"So, if you're having pain in your knee, why take a drug that goes from your brain to your toe when you need the medication on your knee?" Frankoski said.
The customized pain cream helped Antiporec get back on his feet.
"It's great, I have no problem with it," he added.
Doctors said what's great about the compounded pain cream is that they can adjust the level of each ingredient to fit the patient's needs. For example more or less anti-inflammatory can be added or an extra dose of topical anesthetic.
Doctors add, in this day and age of stomach upsetting and often addictive medications, this could be a viable alternative for patients. While compounded pain creams are typically covered by insurance, they are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.