SAN ANTONIO - When chronic pain will not subside with traditional methods like steroid injections, the choices can become dangerous.
Dr. Urfan Dar at Tricity Pain Associates takes the current opioid addiction crisis in the United States seriously so offering multiple options like the Peripheral Neuro Stimulator is now part of his practice.
"It's really an application for the ear that goes on skin, and has very small needles that go in like acupuncture points," Dar said. It doesn't look like much, but when paired with a battery power source behind the ear, the Auricular Electrical Device can change lives.
Tricity Pain Associates is one group that has been using it for about a year and a half since is was approved by the FDA.
It shouldn’t be confused with a spinal cord stimulator, which requires an incision and surgery.
The ear implant is extremely low impact, much like a hearing aid and costs about $3,000 for a one-week session.
About 80 percent of patients feel a 50 percent reduction of pain, a reduction that lasts after the device is removed.
Dr. Kanisha Monis has also used the ear implant and says it can be implanted up to six times a year.
"It stimulates cranial nerves which increases endorphin release from the central nervous system. These endorphins attach to the pain receptors and reduce pain without a drug," Monis said.
Considering that 47,000 opioid drug overdoses occur each year, pain specialists are being encouraged more and more to use these types of options.
Click here for more information on the procedure.
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