Quelling Chronic Pain Without Prescription Drugs
Hospital visits due to prescription pain killers are on the rise — more than doubling from 2005 to now, according to new government data — which shows 1.27 million people went to the ER or were hospitalized because of opioids in 2014 and Massachusetts has among the highest rates in the nation.
For people who suffer from chronic pain, relief is hard to find. But a Waltham company is trying to offer a glimmer of hope with an over-the-counter device — no pills required.
Quell Wearable Pain Relief
Tom Shea was 20 years-old when he got into a car accident in Worcester that left him with a severe back injury, and began a decades-long battle with prescription drug use.
“I went through the whole gamut of them through my doctor, whether it be Tramadol, Vicodin, Percocet, all the way up to the Oxycontin,” Shea said. “When your body gets used to them, that’s the addicted part because you don’t really realize that at first, but it gets to the point where it wears you down and becomes the only thing that you think about.”
When three back surgeries over the course of nine months didn’t mitigate the pain, the meds were the only thing that allowed him to be active with his family.
“When you ran out of them, it basically became hell on earth,” he said. “I don’t know that people really understand the side effects or withdrawal symptoms, but it changes your mind. It changes your body.”
Fed up, the father of four quit his meds two years ago, accepting a life of chronic pain that was, at times, debilitating. But three months ago, things took a dramatic turn when he started wearing a neurostimulating device on his leg, called Quell.
“There are some times when I feel like I don’t have an injury. To have times when I actually feel normal, is huge to me,” Shea said.
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