Patients who have suffered through chronic pain for several years say a relatively new treatment has changed their lives for the better.
One patient described the results as a “miracle” which allowed her to resume her active, athletic lifestyle. Another patient said pain relief has allowed her to become a “normal mom again” after years of suffering.
Health professionals administer the Calmare pain therapy treatment, which is owned and marketed by Fairfield, Conn.-based Competitive Technologies, Inc., at 15 centers in the United States. Most of the centers are concentrated in the northeastern U.S., although there has been some expansion into other parts of the country, according to the treatment’s website.
The FDA approved product is also being studied by such institutions as the Mayo Clinic, VCU Massey Cancer Center, and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Center.
Treatment involves the use of the electronic device, also known as “Scrambler,” to fight neurological or cancer-related pain by sending signals through electrodes placed on the body that stimulate nerves in pain areas. The device signals mask the body’s pain signals, thereby reducing or eliminating pain.
Treatments, originally developed by bioengineer Giuseppe Marineo, include 45-minute sessions on weekdays for two consecutive weeks.
While some patients no longer feel pain after the initial sessions, others may need to continue with additional “booster” treatments.
Understanding Neurological Pain
Neurological pain is a chronic pain resulting from an injury to the nervous system. The pain occurs when nerves are damaged or disrupted which causes the feeling of burning or coldness, numbness, itching, aching, and pins and needles.
Two patients interviewed for this article said the brain thinks pain is there even though a problem has been fixed.
The Calmare device “tricks” the brain into believing there is no pain, which in reality, there isn’t.
Patients who received treatment spoke with Medical Daily about their experiences after years suffering with chronic pain. One patient felt pain after multiple surgeries while another suffered from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a disease of the nervous system.
Recovering from Surgery
Jill Baeter, 45, of Salt Lake City, Utah had been a lifelong skier. But after falling on black ice and crushing the cartilage in her knees she was unable to ski again. Baeter underwent 6 failed surgeries to try to repair the damage but nothing worked for her.
After receiving the Calmare treatment she said she is now pain free.
“These treatments were a miracle. I really don’t know what I would have done without it. The pain had become unbearable. I even considered amputating my leg,” she said
She went through five sessions and received a pain free profile, although she ultimately went to nine sessions.
“I went on a hike! I haven’t been able to do that in 5 years,” she said.
Quality of Life Improvement
Shannon Kelly, 42, of San Diego, Calif., who suffered from severe RSD for 5 years said the debilitating pain wouldn’t let get her get out of bed.
“The pain is so severe it’s so hard to hold a conversation with my daughter, it’s been so long she hardly knows a mom without RSD,” the mother of three said.
In her case, treatments with the anesthetic medication ketamine and a spinal cord stimulator were useless.
“Pain killers didn’t work for me, I only took them because I was advised by doctors, but they did nothing for me,” she said, adding she expected the treatment would end her use of medication.
Kelly says after treatment she feels no pain for two weeks and enjoys life “to the fullest” but the pain begins to increase in the third and fourth weeks. She says traveling to receive booster treatments every 4 to 5 weeks is worth it because she gets to spend time with her family.
“All I want is to be a normal mom again and the treatments help me achieve that,” she said.