Researcher Says Calmare ‘Scrambler’ Provides Pain Relief
September 3rd, 2013 by Pat Anson, Editor
Dr. Thomas Smith admits he had his doubts when he was first asked to investigate Scrambler therapy, a device that uses low doses of electricity to block pain signals without the use of drugs.
“I am a very skeptical Midwesterner,” says Smith, MD, a researcher at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Thomas Smith
Dr. Thomas Smith
But after four years and several studies testing the Scrambler, Smith is now a believer.
“The evidence is pretty compelling, with most of the studies finding really a substantial reduction in pain with no toxicity,” Smith says.
“It’s simple, easy, relatively inexpensive, non-invasive, and easily testable on the individual patient. You put the electrodes on, move them around and you should be able to tell in three to five days whether it’s going to work at all or not for the patient.”
Smith’s latest study was published in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Ten patients suffering from neuropathic pain after a bout with shingles achieved significant pain relief after 10 days of outpatient treatment.
Smith says the average pain score for the patients fell by 95 percent within one month. Relief continued over the next two to three months, long after Scrambler therapy ended.
Smith has had similar success treating patients with cancer induced peripheral neuropathy. About 80 percent got substantial pain relief after using the Scrambler, which is similar to a spinal cord stimulator, but far less invasive. Spinal cord stimulators, which also use electricity to block pain, are surgically implanted next to the spine.
“We’re not talking about a 10 percent reduction in pain. We’re talking a 50 to 80 percent reduction in pain, which is exactly what one sees with spinal cord stimulation,” says Smith.
Why did you leave out the epic calmare FAIL that the article reported.
It talks about a "Beth Stillitano" who actually "went an hour and forty-five minutes with no RSD pain!!!!!"
Woo-woo! All of an hour and forty five MINUTES!
"But a second course of therapy, held months later, did not go well. Stillitano stopped the treatment after just two sessions.
“I was in a lot of pain, and I could not even drive. My sister said watching me have an hour session of Calmare therapy was torture for her. That night, I went into complete flare-up,” Stillitano told National Pain Report."
Wow! That ought to inspire a lot of sales!
Nothing a pain patient wants more than a little "torture" on top of what they already suffer!
Not to mention that, according to her blog, Ms. Stillitano's therapy was done by Dr. Sheehan back in November of 2012.
Ten months and the only patient they could find to call was a FAIL?
Dr. Smith said that his success ratio is 80%. Consequently not all patients will have success. Some doctors go out of business once in a while. The point is a a very experienced Johns Hopkins doctor and researcher has used the device for four years now and says it works 80% of the time. and when you look at the alternative, Addicting drugs or a spinal chord stimulator there is NO comparison. Calmare is the clear choice of treatment.
Dr. Smith says more studies are needed to fully understand how the Calmare Scrambler works – and why it doesn’t for some patients.
“There are probably 20 percent of people who don’t respond to anything, but it seems like the other 80 percent get at least minimal, if not substantial relief. We’ve had people where you can actually see the redness and pain and inflammation diminish over a couple of days as the pain gets re-set,” Smith says.
“It could be that some of this is placebo. And I’m more than willing to accept that,” he adds.
Although it’s been used primarily to treat neuropathy, Calmare has been used with some success to treat other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, phantom limb pain, back pain, and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (also known as RSD).
This fall, Smith starts work on yet another study – this one on breast cancer patents – which is being funded by the Avon Foundation. The study will test the Scrambler’s effectiveness in relieving neuropathic pain cause by chemotherapy.