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New North Texas pain clinic offers help, healing

"We're trying to get away from cookie-cutter medicine," Dr. Jon Koning said.

PLANO, Texas — Around the world, 1.5 billion people are living with chronic pain. It's the main reason most people seek medical care. 

"It kind of comes and goes in waves," said Nora Manning, 70. "Stress brings it on." 

Manning's pain is brought on by osteoarthritis. Her low back hurt. She had one hip replacement and both knees replaced. At one point, she was taking eight pills each day to alleviate pain. Eventually, she hit a roadblock. 

"The pain pills just weren't working anymore," Manning said. 

She is part of the statistic. One in 10 Americans lives with chronic pain, which is defined as pain every day for three or more months. 

Desperate to make it stop, Manning checked into Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano's pain management center. The Texas Health Pain Relief & Wellness Center opened its doors in October 2018. 

"We have options for everybody," said pain management physician Jon Koning. "And, that doesn't mean injections and surgery and pain pills."

Dr. Koning is taking a multi-faceted approach to relieving patients' pain. That could include chiropractics, physical therapy and stretching in addition to traditional methods. 

"We're trying to get away from cookie-cutter medicine," Dr. Koning said. "Not everybody has the same pain. Not everybody needs the same care."

For example, over 10 weeks, Manning did physical therapy, saw a chiropractor for Myofascial release in her hip and did work in the warm therapy pool twice a week. 

"At the time I came here, I was up to eight pills a day and now I'm down to about three a day," Manning said, adding that her pain has decreased, her energy during the day has increased and sleep is more restful. 

"We want to get away from just throwing pills at stuff," Dr. Koning said.

While Dr. Koning said that Texas doctors have slowed the rate at which they prescribe pain medication compared to the rest of the country, it will still take a societal shift toward treating the source of pain-- rather than just masking it-- to ease up on our country's dependence on pain medication. 

"I think it has drastically changed my life," Manning said. "Because I feel better."