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Knox County Pain Clinic Says New Laws are Affecting Business, Patients

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Dr. Cynthia Niendorff is the medical director at Encore Pain Specialists, a pain clinic that recently opened in Farragut.

"I think it's very difficult for people to understand what a pain clinic is until they actually need it," said Dr. Neindorff. "If they are in an accident and have a long term pain problem or if they are a cancer patient."

New opioid laws went into effect on July 1 as part of an effort to curb the opioid epidemic.

"They've limited the amount of opioid medication that regular physicians can provide without other training or information or investigation," said Dr. Neindorff. "Stuff that needs to go on for the patient, essentially."

Dr. Niendorff says these laws are affecting new and existing pain clinics.

"There's been a lot of clinics that are closing and that's causing a very big run on places that are legitimate for patients that actually have a real need," said Dr. Niendorff. "That's also causing a big problem in the area."

Tina Steiner has scoliosis and says her life would be much different without treatments from the pain clinic.

"It's hard to do work, it's hard to do chores," said Steiner. "Just hard to do a lot of things, daily things that everybody does."

Christine Ladd is a nurse at the clinic. She says giving people back their lives is what pain management is all about.

"By the time the patient gets to us, they've exhausted all evident avenues for their pain management and they're pretty much at their wits' end because it affects their life," said Ladd. "It affects what they do on a day to day basis, their relationships with their families so we try to give that back to their families."

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