Anti-inflammatory medications and opiates are the main treatment for pain patients in the U.S. but a new product is looking to change all that. Susan Whiting, who has severe osteoarthritis, tried those pharmaceuticals without result. She had resigned herself to living in pain.
But earlier this year, she got relief from a clinical trial for a new device called Sam.
"It gave me my life back. It really did. It is a long lasting because after the eight weeks, I was walking up and down stairs with no pain, which I have not done for 15 years," said Whiting.
Sam is the world's smallest ultrasound. The therapy works by sending sound waves into the muscles which creates a deep heat to increase blood flow to the injured area.
"By sustaining ultrasound in tissues for multiple hours every day, you end up increasing circulation and nutrient transfer into that tissue which both modulates pain but most-importantly accelerates recovery and biological processes," said George Lewis, the inventor of Sam.
And after a clinical trial in Upstate New York in 2014, sam became the first FDA approved wearable ultrasound.
"Ultrasound has been a proven modality for over 60 years. The problem with it was not having allowed patient access to the technology. It would be applied in the doctor's office for 10 or 15 minutes, once or twice a week and Sam is a wearable mobile technology where a doctor can prescribe it and send a patient to use it on a daily basis," said Lewis.
Doctors say the little, tiny ultrasound that is sam is increasing patients' compliance with their pain regimens and improving their pain because of it and doctors say it's quickly becoming on of their go-to tools.
"We did the initial trials and they were wuite fascinating. The data came out quite good. The patients seemed to love what was being done to them. They were empowered. They weren't taking more pills. They didn't have to slather creams on them," said Dr. Ralph Ortiz, pain management.
In addition to joint paint, Sam developers say it can also be used to help recovery from sports injuries and tight muscles.