A new solution is gaining momentum for chronic pain, no pills needed

Living with chronic pain can mean difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, going to work, just going grocery shopping, can be a challenge. When you can't fix the pain, you have to manage it.

Doctors want you to know you might not have to take pills to be pain free. 

Millions of Americans are in chronic pain and rely on a daily dose of pain killing medication to help them function. As we learn more about the risks that come with pain meds, there's a pain treatment option that's gaining momentum. Think of it like this. 

"When you hit your elbow, the first thing you do is rub it and when you do that you're stimulating the touch fibers which are larger than the pain fibers and they subsequently will block the pain," said Michael Sikorsky, an anesthesiologist at Beaumont Health.

Stopping your brain from getting pain signals is what this device does.  

It's an implantable device that sends an electric pulse to derail that pain signal. The technology is called electroceuticals.

"It's like a pacemaker for the nerve and it overrides pain signals coming to the nerve and allows us to send signals through that nerve that the brain doesn't perceive as pain," said Ken Peters, the chief of urology at the Beaumont Health Center

It's minimally invasive, using small incisions, and doctors have seen it work in many different pain situations. 

“As a urologist I use it for chronic pelvic pain which one in nine women suffer from and many men suffer from," Peters said. "But also knee pain, back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, it can really be put pretty much anywhere.” 

The goal is to reduce dependence on pills. But even when it works, it's not an overnight magic solution. 

The stimulators, the electrocueicals, they will alleviate the discomfort, but then we need to work on improving your strength pain, we need to work on how chronic pain has affected your relationship with your loved ones. How has pain affected what you feel you can do?" said Sikorsky. "As we reduce the pain, the key is getting them back to a normal level of activity."

How long does the implant last? It depends on where the pain is, and what the best device is. There's a free event on April 30 at Beaumont Royal Oak. It's all about avoiding opioids for pain management.