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Painful childhood injury successfully treated with non-surgical solution

Painful childhood injury successfully treated with non-surgical solution

Brittany Gilbert-Smith has lived in pain for years. A childhood injury led to unrelenting arthritis in her knees.

"It was holding me back at work, it was really painful to work, would get a lot of swelling. It generally hurts all the time, and of course when it's rainy or humid it gets worse," she said.

Her Sacred Heart physician, Dr. Eric Kujawski, suggested a treatment called iovera.

It's a non-surgical nerve block, using the body's natural response to cold. Tiny needles apply targeted cold to the nerves, blocking the pain pathway.

"At some point you get to the point where you've tried lot of interventions and people are still suffering with pain, and so is just one more tool in the toolbox to help out before going to a knee replacement," said Dr. Kujawski.

Brittany knows a knee replacement is in her future, but wants to put it off as long as possible. Iovera controls her pain for two to four months. The relief is immediate, and after the procedure she can just go on with her day.

"It's a nice success story, because there's few things in medicine where you can make such a dramatic improvement within such a short time, so that's been nice," said Dr. Kujawski.

Since starting treatment with iovera, Brittany was able to enjoy her dream wedding and an active honeymoon in Hawaii.

She wouldn't have been able to do it without getting her pain under control.

"It definitely makes a big difference when i'm not in pain. I feel like I'm better at my job, I'm a better friend, I'm a better wife and a family member when I'm not in pain," Brittany said.