MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As a country, the United States spends well over $100 billion per year on healthcare costs related to pain management and opioid dependence. With chronic pain being something so many face, helping patients manage their pain is at the top of the list for osteopathic doctors like Dr. Todd Pepper of Alliance Pain Management in Maryville.

However, the challenge of the opioid crisis can interfere. Opioid use and abuse for acute and chronic pain are significant problems in the United States and Tennessee. Dr. Pepper says his team aims to educate the public on what a state guideline-based pain center looks like and how they combat the opioid crisis.

“The opioid crisis is definitely a problem to be addressed, and how we address that is we make sure every patient has an appropriate diagnosis, an appropriate physical examination and work up,” Dr. Pepper said. “We follow all of Tennessee’s chronic pain guidelines for opioid medication, and if we prescribe opioid medication, we try to use the lowest effective dose for each patient. Obviously, it’s a risk vs. reward benefit with opioid medications.”

The most common pains patients face are chronic low back pain, neck pain, hip pain and knee pain, according to Pepper. He stated this can impact day-to-day functions while also having a psychological impact that can cause things like depression and anxiety.

Pepper mentioned that Lenoir City and Maryville have often been underserved when it comes to chronic pain treatments, which is why he and his team hope to provide their services to the community as a new office in the area.

“We use various modalities and treatments to help pain patients use things like pain medications, injections, physical therapy, bracing and many more options to really help them get a handle on their pain,” he said. “It’s important because chronic pain is very prevalent in the United States. About 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers with chronic pain. That’s even more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.”

During a patient’s first visit, they can expect to have a focused history physical examination. They will order and review any kind of x-rays or imaging that will hopefully help find out the cause of their pain so Pepper can assist accordingly.

The Alliance Pain Management Maryville office will officially open on Monday. There is also a location in Lenoir City.