HOUSTON, Texas – Chronic pain affects one third of Americans or about 133-million people. Often patients are prescribed powerful opiate drugs that can lead to addiction. But now new therapies are paving the way for a pain free life without meds.
Terri White can read from her journal for the first time in years. Headaches and a back injury have kept her in chronic pain.
"I was pretty much a train wreck," she said.
White became addicted to opiate pain pills and her life spun out of control.
"I was sleeping 15 to 18 hours a day," White added.
Angela Dolder knows what it's like. She fell two stories and broke her back more than a decade ago.
Dodler explained "The surgeon told me before I went into surgery that I had a 50/50 shot of ever walking again."
She would walk, but prescription pain killers became a crutch. Dodler took 12 a day, over 350 a month.
"You're preoccupied with when you can take that next pill," said Dodler.
It's a familiar story to James Flowers, PhD, LPC-S, who is the Director at PaRC Memorial Hermann.
"Many of our patients come to us taking 180 to 300 OxyContin a month," Flowers said.
The center uses a holistic approach to therapy that includes neurolumen.
"It's really one of the most phenomenal advances in pain treatment that I've ever seen," Flowers explained.
The FDA approved device combines electrical stimulation, LED lights and lasers.
Flowers said, "We see pain levels going from eight, nine, and 10 all the way down to zero and one."
Patients control the stimulation.
"The higher the level that you take that, the more oxygen, the more blood, the less swelling you're going to have and the quicker your body is going to heal," Flowers said.
Both Dodler and White went through the program.
"Luckily I didn't have to lose my family," said Dodler.
"I feel better now than I have in my entire life. Seriously," White said.
Both are now drug free.
Patients typically do three sessions for 30 minutes at a time each week to help control pain. They can also use a take home version of the neurolumen. It costs about $900. For more information, log onto www.neurolumen.com.