The message over the past year to doctors and the entire healthcare community from the government and the latest science has been clear: Opiods are NOT an effective treatment for chronic pain. Some studies have gone further to suggest that even with acute pain, prescribers should avoid opiods whenever possible to reduce the risk of addiction.
While opiods never were particularly effective in treating chronic pain, their new restriction has left many in the healthcare community wondering how else to address these patients. It isn’t in the DNA of a care provider to simply say, “Sorry, we can’t help you”. But that is what many doctors and nurses are increasingly forced to do.
Most of us are familiar with some of the more common alternative medicine approaches that have shown some promise. But the effectiveness of these are typically uncertain and the benefits do not tend to last very long. Another concern is that results from therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy or chiropractic care can vary dramatically depending on the individual provider and the approach they take to their treatment.
Now, a new treatment is poised to take on chronic pain in a brand new way. Portland-based Radiant Pain Relief Centres have spent the last 3 years testing and improving a novel new pain treatment, with some impressive results. With hundreds of patients treated in one of their two Portland area clinics, they have been working with some of the most severe chronic pain cases with impressive results. Over 91% of their patients have concluded treatment with their pain reduced to zero or near-zero levels, without the use of drugs or an invasive surgery.
Their approach takes advantage of some of the latest scientific findings related to the role our brains play in chronic pain. Unlike acute pain which is a healthy signal to your body that there is tissue damage or a dysfunction that needs repair, chronic pain begins to come from the brain itself. This occurs when the brain becomes accustomed to and hyper-sensitized to expecting and experiencing pain in a particular part of the body. Through neuroplasticity, the brain adapts to this new normal of expecting pain and it goes from acute to a chronic issue.
This could explain why treatments which address the pain source itself often have limited success in sustaining relief. They address the tissue, but ignore the dysfunction that has become engrained in the brain itself. By contrast, Radiant uses a patented and FDA cleared treatment device developed in Italy (and more broadly used in Europe) to address the brains role in chronic pain. This therapy uses surface electrodes and some complex computing algorithms to send a normal “no-pain” signal from the area of pain to the brain. As the treatment commences, patients typically experience an immediate reduction in pain. Then, over a series of treatments, the brain is re-trained to expect this no-pain condition and the chronic pain can be reduced or even completely resolved for a period of several months. If or when the pain begins to return, a few booster treatments are all that is needed to get back to the normal no-pain status.
While there have yet to be large-scale clinical trials for this non-invasive approach, pilot studies at John’s Hopkins and The Mayo Clinic have shown substantial reason for optimism. Now, after spending the past 3 years gathering clinical data and perfecting their use of this treatment, Radiant is preparing for a public offering and expansion to as many as 15 locations in 2018, with an ultimate goal of over one hundred clinics in the next few years.
Because chronic pain sufferers are often understandably unsure about this approach, Radiant offers a free treatment session to new patients, so they can experience the benefits firsthand. In their Portland-area clinics, Radiant is constrained in their capacity by the amount of equipment they have available, and the time each treatment requires. However, at the time this article is being published there are currently some openings still available for new patients.
Common conditions Radiant has successfully treated include; complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, shingles pain, failed back surgery, arthritic pain and chronic neck pain. Radiant also claims to have success with amputee’s who have phantom pain from an area of their body that no longer exists. This pain itself demonstrates that pain can exist in the brain even when no tissue disfunction is possible.
While it remains to be seen if this therapy will truly revolutionize the treatment of chronic pain, as their CEO suggests, we have been impressed by their results so far. If this approach continues to provide the results achieved in their Portland clinics, we can only hope that this Portland startup succeeds in their goal of bringing this new therapy to the millions of those suffering daily from chronic pain.
To learn more about Radiant Pain Relief Centers and their new approach to chronic pain, you can visit their website at radiantpainrelief.com .