If you suffer from chronic pain, you might be interested to learn about a relatively new pain treatment called “scrambler therapy.”
Recent research shows this treatment might help a lot of people with chronic pain. It might even be more effective than a similar treatment known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
The research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
What is Scrambler Therapy?
Scrambler therapy is a way of treating pain that doesn’t involve any surgery or drugs. It’s been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2009.
The treatment involves placing small electrodes on the skin. These are placed above and below the area where the person feels pain. These electrodes send electrical signals to the nerves.
The idea is to change the pain signals sent to the brain. Instead of sending signals from the painful area, the nerves send signals from nearby areas where there’s no pain.
In other words, the treatment “scrambles” the pain signals, which can help reduce feelings of pain.
How Does It Work?
Chronic pain, as well as nerve and neuropathic pain, usually comes from two things. First, there are pain signals coming from damaged nerves.
These signals are sent to the brain all the time. Second, the body’s normal way of blocking these pain signals doesn’t work properly. This allows the pain to become chronic.
Dr. Thomas Smith, the main author of the research study, explains that scrambler therapy can help with both these problems.
By blocking the pain signals and boosting the body’s pain-blocking system, the therapy can help “reset” the brain.
This can make the chronic pain feel much less severe. It’s like hitting the “reset” button on your computer over and over again, says Smith.
Many people who try scrambler therapy find it gives them a lot of relief from their pain. This relief can sometimes even be permanent.
Patients usually have between three and twelve sessions of therapy, each lasting half an hour.
Smith is very excited about scrambler therapy. As a doctor who treats chronic pain, he says it’s the most promising thing he’s seen in years.
It’s effective, it’s non-invasive, it can greatly reduce the need for pain medications, and the results can be permanent.
In contrast, TENS therapy also uses electrical signals to try and relieve pain. However, it doesn’t seem to be as effective.
Pain relief often goes away as soon as the treatment stops. A study of 381 clinical trials found little difference between TENS and a placebo treatment.
It’s clear that more research is needed. However, scrambler therapy seems to be a promising new way to help people with chronic pain.
If you care about pain, please read studies about how to manage your back pain, and exercise harder if you want to ward off pain due to ageing.
For more information about pain, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing common native American plant may help reduce diarrhea and pain.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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