As anyone living with it knows, chronic pain is a debilitating everyday struggle that can completely leach the joy out of life. Caused by a host of issues ranging from genetics to occupational injuries, over 50 million Americans experience physical pain that’s so constant and so all-encompassing, it’s impossible to ignore. And until now, there have been very few remedies available to effectively combat such debilitating symptoms.
While traditional pharmaceuticals can mitigate discomfort, many come with a slew of unwanted side effects. After all, the opioid epidemic is still ravaging our nation. Drugs like that may work in the short term, but clearly can be harmful if used long-term. And while alternative treatments like physical therapy may prove less risky, they aren’t always affordable for the average patient who requires care indefinitely.
Fortunately, healthier and more economical pain management solutions are beginning to emerge that adopt a more holistic approach. Clearing.com is leading the charge in this arena, and today we’ll review their pain management platform to see how it compares to alternatives old and new. Curious if Clearing.com is legit, or just another flashy healthcare company offering to help you trade one crippling ailment for another? Let’s dive in to find out.
What is Clearing.com?
Clearing is a digital healthcare platform designed to help over 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain. Its mission is to support patients with a personalized and comprehensive pain treatment program that combines science and psychology. The program includes:
- 1:1 coaching with a pain-focused relief coach
- Access to pain-focused physicians to discuss care and prescribe opioid free medications, if appropriate.
- Access to an opioid-free treatment library including personalized prescription topical creams, personalized home exercise programs, CBD cream, supplements and more
In doing so, the company has partnered with prominent physicians and academics at Harvard Medical School, John Hopkins University, and the Hospital for Special Surgery to offer patients around the country better and more accessible options. Clearing’s aim is to serve as a one-stop-shop that gives patients everything they need with a single, low-cost subscription that consistently identifies, tracks and reduces pain over time. Through its personalized and comprehensive platform, Clearing.com promises to supply all of the tools and resources to live your best lives, pain free.
Before we take a peek under the hood and explain EXACTLY what’s included in Clearing’s subscription, let’s first cover the basics of chronic pain, including its common causes, treatments, and more to give us more context and better understand why Clearing’s service is unique.
What is chronic pain, and how do you treat it?
The term chronic pain is used to describe pain that is long term in nature. Usually caused by initial injury or common diseases such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain generally develops after nerves become damaged or inflamed. Historically, chronic pain has proven to be among the most costly health issues in the United States, as treatment is expensive and needed indefinitely.
The current most common medicinal treatments for chronic pain include:
- COX-2 inhibitors
- Anti-seizure medicines
Such treatments work by inhibiting the production and effect of enzymes within the body to minimize pain signals in the brain. Alternatively, many individuals also opt for a non-medicinal approach, through the application of:
- Consistent exercise
- Cold and heat therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
While popular and relatively effective, the costs of in-person therapy add up quickly, while physical therapy alone is often insufficient to provide consistent and long term pain relief by itself. Thus when it comes to managing pain, a combination of approaches, not a single silver bullet, generally yields the best results.
Can you treat chronic pain online?
Because of rising healthcare costs in general, the global pandemic that’s overloaded medical practices everywhere, and the raging opioid addiction crisis sweeping the nation, more individuals are turning to new methods to treat their pain, most recently, through online-based services.
While almost everything is done online nowadays, the notion of effectively treating chronic pain virtually may seem challenging. But actually, with ever evolving innovations in telemedicine, this has become less of a concept and very much a reality, with platforms like Clearing.com launching online pain management programs that show promising early results.
What does Clearing.com offer for pain management?
Clearing’s subscription delivers the following pain relief components on a regular cadence:
1. On-going access to their “care team” – consisting of a pain doctor, relief coach, and care coordinator
- As part of every subscription, Clearing provides patients with 24/7 messaging access to doctors who are board-certified in pain management for ongoing consultation and follow-ups. That’s pretty awesome considering the copay when seeing a traditional primary care physician in-person just once can be more expensive than Clearing’s monthly subscription.
- They also offer 1:1 relief-focused coaching with health coaches who have pain management experience. Pain management-focused coaching is relatively new but health coaching in general has already proven to be successful in areas like nutrition and weight loss.
- They also feature a robust content hub and community where you can read about new treatments and others’ experiences dealing with chronic pain. Overall, Clearing’s platform ensures that you’re never alone on your journey to a pain-free existence.
2. Personalized prescription compound creams
Clearing’s personalized prescription compound creams are formulated with FDA-approved ingredients that are customized to target your individualized aches. These creams combine clinically-proven ingredients such as Cyclobenzaprine, Amitriptyline, Diclofenac and Lidocaine, among others that are proven to alleviate pain with minimal side effects when applied topically. These are personalized to you by your pain doctor and can evolve as you work together in trial-and-error on your treatment.
Topically applied 5% lidocaine for instance, has been found to reduce the intensity of all common neuropathic pain qualities, as seen in a double-blind study.
Clearing’s topical solution is a light to medium weight cream, which softly absorbs into the skin without a sticky residue. There are also multiple options of the formulas as well, such as regular-strength and extra-strength, all personalized to each patient’s specific needs.
3. Personalized home exercises
Clearing.com’s home exercise program offers a comprehensive set of on-demand exercise videos made to augment your mobility and range of motion, and ultimately improve physical function overall. These at-home exercises come with clear instructions on movements and provide ongoing guidance that adjusts difficulty as needed.
It’s a common fact that a comprehensive approach to pain mitigation is the most effective, rather than medication alone. So Clearing seeks to incorporate physical treatment designed by foremost experts in the field by employing the most recent science of safe and gradual recovery exercises (e.g. the Mckenzie Method).
Clearing’s personalized virtual exercise programs offer a more convenient and economical alternative to in-person physical therapy. Virtual and in-person exercise programs have even been shown to yield comparable clinical results in reducing chronic pain.
4. CBD creams
Soothing and high quality Cannabidiol (CBD) cream can also be added onto a standard plan for $20 a month, and is available to bi-monthly subscription plans. For context, that’s a lot more affordable than typical CBD creams which run anywhere from $50 – $150 per bottle depending on volume. Every 2 oz jar of Clearing’s cream contains 3000 mg of pure CBD isolate, and can be applied topically twice a day for a soothing effect and relief from discomfort.
Sustainably sourced from California-grown hemp and combined with the properties of Vitamin E, plant extracts and almond oil, this cream boasts a subtle citrus-lavender scent. It’s also lightweight and easily absorbs into skin upon application.
Even if you’re anti-Cannabis or have tried CBD creams in the past without results, you may want to try Clearing’s CBD cream. That’s because it’s 5x stronger than what’s typically sold on the market without any THC – the psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana. Thus it won’t get you high or cloud up your head, but can help support your everyday wellness.
Clearing also offers a Nutraceutical product, which is available as an add on to the standard prescription plan for $20 a month. Supporting joint, bone and nerve health, the Nutraceutical features advanced ingredients, such as NEM® Eggshell Membrane to deliver its results. NEM® Eggshell Membrane has been proven in numerous studies to have a positive effect on the reduction of stiffness and joint pain.
The customized supplement is formulated with the use of the highest quality ingredients. The NEM is sustainably sourced, and each bottle contains a two month supply of 120 tablets.
While any one of these treatments or combination thereof may prove successful at providing you with relief, Clearing doesn’t just introduce you to these pain management methods. It also helps you track your progress over time, which is crucial to understanding what ultimately works for each individual. In our opinion, the real beauty of Clearing’s platform is its holistic, centralized nature that puts many effective pain management treatments at your fingertips, then helps you optimize care over time. In a world where traditional treatment requires you to find individual specialists, complete the same forms over and over, and pay high fees each time, Clearing.com consolidates your records into one dashboard so that you can better understand what works, track your progress, and save a ton by eliminating co-pays.
How much does Clearing.com cost?
Clearing currently offers a 30 day trial, after which their standard subscription plan costs just $40-$50 a month. You’ll also have the option to select add-ons such as CBD Cream or Nutraceuticals. To get started, you sign up directly through their website.
Clearing doesn’t currently accept insurance, but its subscription plan costs less than a typical co-pay and offers a ton of value for just $40-50.
Clearing.com alternatives: how does Clearing compare to other pain management platforms?
Curious how Clearing compares to other digital health startups focused on treating chronic pain? In the chart below, we compare Clearing vs other startups like Dorsal Health, PeerWell, and Lin Health to see how they stack up on price, features, and more.