New procedure offers alternative to pain medication

New procedure offers alternative to pain medication

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Before she saw Dr. Karan Verma at the Ochsner Medical Center, Brandye Smith was in a lot of pain. Back issues had been getting progressively worse over the past five years.

“It got to the point that I was taking so much Ibuprofen,” Smith said. “That didn’t seem safe either, I didn’t want to take anything stronger.”

But one month ago, that all changed with a procedure called Coolief. Doctor Verma used a small needle and X-ray guidance to block the nerves in her back that were emitting pain. This stopped it at the source.

“We’re able to block the nerves in various areas of the body, including the knee, the hip, the back, and the neck,” Dr. Verma said. “Those are mostly the pain generators in the body.”

Smith said she felt the effects right away.

“The next day I walked two miles, no problem,” Smith said. “Since then I started walking every day, jogging... it’s been incredible.”

Verma was trained in the procedure in Los Angeles, and came to Baton Rouge to make it available to patients. He says it’s a viable alternative to pain medication... and could be a real game changer in light of the national Opioids crisis.

“Opioids don’t really address the underlying issue,” Verma said. “It’s sort of a band aid. And so when we take Opioids, regardless of what the source of the pain is, the pain gets better, but it’s not treating the source.”

Verma says the effects of Coolief can last up to 18 months before patients need to get it again.

Smith says she plans on making it a regular part of her routine.

“I feel like I have a new lease on life,” she said.

The cost can be anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on your insurance. Ochsner says some companies cover the entire procedure.

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