New treatment helping patients get long-term pain relief without opioid based medications

- Sara Dalton's life was put on hold after a knee injury in high school that changed her life completely because she wasn't able to do the things she loved anymore.

"I'd have to kind of gauge how much I could do that day and kind of monitor, okay, I may not be able to do that this day and kind of regulate how much time I was up in my knees," Dalton said.

When she hit 30, her problem got worse and that's when arthritis set in.

"The hyaluronic acid injections, I've done that. I've done cortisone shots. We did physical therapy. I kind of exhausted everything and one of my doctors said by the time I’m 40m, I’d probably have to have a knee replacement," Dalton said.

An option Dalton wasn't ready to commit to but she knew she wanted to get back to hiking with her six boys and not miss any more moments.

That’s when Doctor Farrukh Sair of Interventional Spine Associates of the Carolinas introduced Dalton to this new treatment called "Coolief."

"She clearly had chronic pain. The pain itself was debilitating, impacting function and the things she really wanted to do was go back hiking and she was very motivated," Dr. Sair said.

"Coolief" is a quick non-invasive out-patient procedure that uses cooled radiofrequency and zero anesthesia. What the therapy does is burns the nerve so it can't send signals back to the brain.

Once the procedure is done, you can go back to your normal routine within a few days and within 2 weeks, no pain and no side effects unlike opioid medication and the relief can last almost 2 years.

"I like that it's not a permanent. The nerves do heal and I like that because if there was something that went wrong, I would just have to wait for it to heal," Dalton said.

Dalton says the procedure has changed her life dramatically and her family has seen the difference.

"The boys would come over ‘come see this flower,’ ‘oh, tell me what it looks like.’ Now I can get up and go and see it," Dalton said.  

Doctor Sair is thrilled he's able to give one of his patient's a better life.

"I'm on cloud 9 that's what keeps me doing what I’m doing," Dr. Sair said.

While the relief is not forever, Dalton says she would do it again in a heartbeat.

"I know eventually I'll have to have knee replacements but if I can extend it, any amount of time, there's going to be better technology, there's going to be more options. The longer I can wait I think the better. I would definitely do the procedure again," Dalton said.

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