Back in 2015, I published a short piece on Calmare® or Scrambler Therapy®, principally requesting feedback from anybody who had received treatment with the device.
Despite having been around for a number of years, it seems that information on this treatment is not as widely disseminated as other forms of treatment for chronic pain, although one practitioner, Dr Cooney from New Jersey, has for some years been a tremendous advocate for the treatment.
The Scrambler Therapy® device was developed in Italy by Professor Giuseppe Marineo of the Tor Vergata University in Rome and Founding President of Delta Research and Development. It is certified for use in both the USA (where it is known as Calmare® Therapy) and Europe “for the non-invasive treatment of chronic neuropathic and oncologic pain.”
On it’s website, Delta states that treatment with the device:
“avoids harmful, potentially fatal, adverse side effects. The Scrambler Therapy device has been used to successfully treat thousands of patients worldwide, where it has been shown to be effective in treating neuropathic and oncologic pain. Scrambler Therapy is a stand-alone medical electro-analgesia device, and does not require combinations with other analgesic therapies.”
“In just a couple of seconds the pain perception completely disappears. This is true even in cases where pain is of high intensity and non responsive or poorly responsive to opioids or other electro-analgesia devices such as TENS or implanted devices.”
“Short and long term effects of a single treatment cycle depend on the type of pathology and other variables. In most cases of benign pain one treatment cycle is enough to produce pain relief for at least two months, but can even exceed 12 months if neuropathic damage is limited (mono-radicular) or the pathology has no evolution feature. Other variables that influence the treatment outcome are pharmaceutical interactions. Immediate analgesic efficacy during the treatment is a constant factor regardless of pathology and pain intensity.”
They further state that conditions where the device may prove beneficial include:
Chronic Neuropathic Pain
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Sciatic and Lumbar Pain
Brachial Plexus Pain
Low Back Pain
Is there any independent research?
There seems to be very little independent published research on the device. However, a review of preliminary studies of the device published in 2016 concluded that:
“The positive findings from preliminary studies with Scrambler Therapy support that this device provides benefit for patients with refractory pain syndromes. Larger, randomized studies are required to further evaluate the efficacy of this approach.”
Scrambler Therapy® is a licensed technology and that may explain why it remains relatively unknown, particularly in the UK where there do not seem to be any licensed practitioners.
I have, however, been contacted recently a gentleman whose wife travelled from the UK to undergo the treatment at the European Hospital in Rome under Dr Riccardo Barchetta. Dr Barchetta was recommended to her by Professor Marineo. The gentleman told me that “my wife had neuropathic pain for twelve years. She tried most analgesic medications and finally settled on occasional use of Lidocaine patches and just coping with the pain the rest of the time.”
Her treatment in Rome was very affordable (albeit excluding the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence!), with the first consultation costing €120 and thereafter €60 for each treatment. She was told that the maximum number of treatments is ten and treatment stops when it has been successful.
Her husband explained that she “had four treatments and is now 100% pain free. This usually lasts for 2 to 12 months, when a top-up can be given, usually no more than two sessions. The pain-free effect can then last indefinitely. For her to be pain-free is wonderful. We can’t quite believe it.”
Clearly, this account will be of huge interest to anybody in a similar position and I would be very interested to hear the experience of anybody else who has undergone this treatment.