Sacramento Doctor Using High Frequency as an Alternative to Opiates for Chronic Pain
Posted By Schick Shadel Hospital || Apr 26, 2017
A doctor in Sacramento, CA is using an alternative method for treating chronic back pain that reportedly allows his patients to reduce the risk of using prescription painkillers.
Dr. Andrew Linn’s treatment implants wires along the spines of his patients along with a battery back that sends high-frequency electrical pulses to calm signals sent from their nerves up to their brains.
"It’s really changed the way I practice pain management… It’s minimally invasive,” he said, comparing it to an epidural injection. “This is put in through needles, and the battery pack is put in with really a small incision in the back, and slipped into the back."
Approximately two dozen patients have tried this HF 10 Therapy, and about three-quarters of them found success in the treatment. According to Dr. Linn, the most important thing this alternative treatment does is give his patients the chance to cut back on their opiate use.
"Another issue with narcotics is almost everyone develops tolerance to the medication," Linn said. "What that means is that they work very well for a short period of time. Using medications to treat chronic pain usually results in an escalation of the medications, just because they stop being effective at some point. And then you get on a slippery slope of continuing to increase narcotics to get the same effect, and the next thing you know they are on a large dose of narcotic medication."
Patients like Lindy Oliver struggled with their dependence on opiates, questioning if this was how their life was going to be forever.
"I was on way high doses of opiates, and that wasn't good," Oliver said. "Because you are taking some opiates, you deal with some shame. You think, 'Wow, I have always been able to handle life, and all of a sudden I can't do this on my own. I really need something else. And of all the things I am doing, I am taking a narcotic.'"
Since receiving HF 10 Therapy in November of 2016, the pain has dramatically subsided, giving her the opportunity to pursue activities she previously was unable to do, like aqua aerobics. As an added bonus, she no longer takes as many prescription painkillers to deal with her back pain. Her end goal is to get completely off the drugs in the future.
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