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This Company’s Pain Relief Patch Could Become an Opioid Alternative

November 3, 2016, 9:08 PM UTC

Shaun Rahimi suffers from excruciating spinal pain. And like many chronic pain sufferers, he’s had to rely on addictive and potentially dangerous drugs like Valium and Vicodin. But Rahimi told the audience at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference on Wednesday that his biggest challenge was actually getting off of the medications that made him feel like a zombie. And doing that came with its own problems—issues that eventually led to the creation of his firm ENSO.

“If I get off the [pain killing] drug, that’s great. But I’m still in pain,” Rahimi told CNN medical correspondent and session moderator Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

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So Rahimi decided to try out a different kind of treatment from a family friend… A rather unusual one that involved a bulky machine that delivered shocks to his system through a complicated set of electrical wiring. “It was a big ice box,” he said. “A lot of buttons, wires that came off with these sticky pads. And he said, I’m going to shock your pain away… I was desperate, you know?”

But it worked, to Rahimi’s surprise. “It didn’t solve all my problems, but it gave me a bridge,” he told Gupta. And it helped reduce his suffering to the point that he decided to incorporate the same idea into a more sustainable model with his company’s experimental pain patch, which relies on a similar concept involving electrical stimulation.

Rahimi pitched the device as a considerably less cumbersome version of a bulky $10,000 technology (like the one he originally used). Check out the idea behind the experimental tech.