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KDKA Pittsburgh 10/30/2015

New Device Claims To Ease Pain Without Pills, Surgery

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s a new device that claims to ease your pain with no pills and no surgery. But does it provide nothing more than temporary relief?

Because of chronic pain, Dave Anderson was taking up to 12 ibuprofen pills a day to keep playing squash.

“My physician told me to stop taking the ibuprofen and I said, ‘I gotta do something else,’” Anderson said.

Pain medications, whether anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or narcotics like oxycodone, can affect a variety of organs if they are taken over a long period of time. Some people are looking for a way to control pain that doesn’t involve drugs or surgery.

Quell Wearable Pain Relief

For that reason, Anderson strapped on a device called Quell, a band with a therapy pod.

“I am not taking any more ibuprofen,” he said. “It’s completely controlled the daily pain that I was having, and it has allowed me a much faster recovery after physical exercise.”

The device is thought to work by stimulating sensory nerves in your leg. Through a brain pathway, this leads to a release of your body’s own chemical pain fighters called endorphins.

West Penn Hospital Pain Medicine pain specialist Dr. Jack Kabazie says this is a short term fix.

“We have a finite amount of [endorphins],” Kabazie said. “We deplete them, then we make more, then we use them again when we need to.”

He points out the Quell website says this over-the-counter device is FDA cleared, meaning it’s safe. That is different than FDA approved, which would indicate effectiveness for a particular condition.

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