By Michael Cooney, DC, Guest Columnist
As a chiropractor who treats various pain conditions caused by injury or disease, my biggest frustration is when our therapies do not achieve a successful patient outcome.
Often, “treatment-resistant” patients are forced to seek out more invasive procedures – surgeries, spinal cord stimulators, or powerful narcotics such as ketamine − where success has been uneven, but side effects can be significant.
I wasn’t comfortable recommending these “next level” neuropathic pain treatments for my patients. So my partner Dr. Robert Kelly and I spent two years looking for a non-invasive therapy that didn’t cause pain or come with added side effects.
Through a contact in Italy, we discovered Calmare scrambler therapy, which treats several types of drug and treatment-resistant pain, a big plus for our practice. After undergoing clinical training to use the machine and eventually testing it on patients, we saw results after just a few treatment sessions, in the majority of cases.
I’ll be honest, our aim in adding Calmare to our treatment offerings was designed to help our patients who were not responding to traditional pain therapies. No one was more surprised than I to experience the global interest in this alternative treatment option.
We have been performing Calmare Therapy since 2011, treating patients from coast-to-coast and as far away as Australia, the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
Today, we treat children, adults and seniors battling CRPS/RSD, fibromyalgia, neuropathy after chemotherapy treatment, and pain that develops after surgery or from diabetes. We have also treated many people with neuropathic pain after a shingles diagnosis.
How Scrambler Therapy “Talks” With the Brain
The brain’s reaction to pain can be compared to learning to play the piano or memorizing a poem. The more the body processes pain, the stronger the connections between pain nerves and the brain become.
When someone is injured, the brain sets up a process to heal the injury. For example, cells carry away dead tissue or it increases blood flow to the injured area. Eventually, the brain realizes the injury has healed, and cuts off the pain message.
But for some people, the brain never sends the all-important message: “There’s no more injury here. You can stop sending that pain signal.”
That’s where Calmare scrambler therapy comes in.
Using small electrodes (think EKG pads) judiciously placed in the region of the injury, the device sends a mild electric signal to the brain through the electrodes.
This message overrides the brain’s confused pain signal and corrects it to a “there’s no pain here” message.
We recommend a series of 10 daily scrambler treatments. But in many cases, the pain is lessened for the patient as soon as the first treatment.
The machine we use, the MC-5A Calmare device, has been tested in clinical trials at some of the most prestigious research institutions, including the Massey Cancer Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Mayo Clinic, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Their studies reported significant reductions in pain associated with cancer treatment and other chronic pain conditions.
The Value of Alternative Medicine in Treating Neuropathy
The majority of patients we treat with scrambler therapy come to us frustrated and exhausted by the endless search for pain relief. They have often resorted to unproven surgeries, experimental procedures, or have used powerful pain medications that leave them mentally and physically debilitated by the drug’s side effects.
I encourage people with treatment-resistant neuropathy and their families to research and consider less invasive, alternative solutions to combat the effects of chronic pain. In some cases, the cost can be comparable to prescription medications and in-patient co-pays. The outcome can be life-changing.
Regardless of the pain therapy you choose, keep in mind there are treatments that do not involve narcotics, surgery or invasive procedures, which can result in more pain and discomfort.
Keep looking -- network with people who have your medical condition, conduct your own research, and reach out to doctors who understand the value of alternative therapy. Ask the provider to put you in touch with another patient who had the treatment. We enthusiastically offer this service through our Patient-2-Patient program.
There may very well be a solution out there to minimize your pain. But often, it’s up to you to discover it.
Michael J. Cooney has been a doctor of chiropractic for more than 30 years at Rutherford Allied Medical Group and Calmare Therapy NJ in Rutherford, New Jersey. He is one of six certified providers of Calmare in the U.S. Dr. Cooney can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to: editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.