New Freeman Pain Physician Offers Options to Avoid Opioids

Dr. Rebecca Sanders Provide a Multi-Modal Approach

(Joplin, MO) – “It’s wonderful!” says Dr. Rebecca Sanders about moving back home to Joplin to practice medicine with the Freeman Institute for Pain Management. “It’s nice to be around family. My parents and my sister and her husband all live here, too.”

“We have some unique tools to treat leg, back, and even cancer pain,” says Dr. Sanders. “I use nerve blocks, using a pain pump into the spinal fluid. This provides better reliability and fewer side effects.”

Dr. Sanders, who trained and worked as a staff physician at Mayo Clinic, calls her approach multi-modal with a goal of reducing the use of opioid medications.

“First, we try non-opioid medications, physical therapy, and biofeedback mind and body techniques to find non-addictive solutions to pain management,” Dr. Sanders says. “Then when it comes to procedures, the goal is to be minimally invasive.”

Dr. Sanders brings the minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) procedure to Freeman Health System so patients won’t have to travel to Kansas City or farther. It is designed to help those with lower back pain that is often linked to spinal stenosis. Dr. Sanders uses the Vertiflex™ device, which is like a wedge that opens space where ligaments could be pushing on the spine, resulting in pain.

She will also work in tandem with orthopaedic doctors and be involved in administering iovera, a unique injection used to freeze nerves around the knee before joint replacement surgery.

“We use ultrasound to inject medications, but we also use it for thermal ablation techniques. It makes for a more accurate procedure with specific targeting of nerves and results in fewer side effects and less medication,” Dr. Sanders says.

Her goal is to improve people’s comfort and well-being. “I’m patient-focused,” says Dr. Sanders. “At Mayo, I learned the patient comes first. I had great teachers who used leading-edge techniques, but it is the needs of the patient that guide me in what treatment to use.”

She joins her husband, Dr. Thomas Sanders, who is a member of the Freeman Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine group. The Sanders have two children, two-year-old Graham and three-month-old Henry, who keep them on their toes.

To make a pain management appointment with Dr. Rebecca Sanders, call 417.347.8055. Visit to learn more about pain management services at Freeman.


About Freeman Health System:

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit



Lisa Olliges
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