Scientists find a promising non-invasive pain treatment

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Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide, making it a significant health concern. For those living with chronic pain, finding effective treatments is crucial to improving their quality of life.

A recent review paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that scrambler therapy, a noninvasive pain treatment, may offer substantial relief to a large portion of patients suffering from chronic pain.

What Is Scrambler Therapy?

Scrambler therapy, also known as Calmare therapy, received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009.

This innovative treatment approach involves using electrical stimulation applied through the skin via electrodes.

These electrodes are strategically placed on the body, targeting areas above and below where the patient experiences chronic pain.

The primary goal of scrambler therapy is to intercept the pain signals generated by damaged nerves. Instead of allowing these painful signals to reach the brain, the therapy replaces them with signals originating from adjacent areas that are pain-free.

This process effectively “scrambles” the pain signals before they can reach the brain, providing relief to the patient.

How Does Scrambler Therapy Work?

The underlying principles of scrambler therapy are rooted in our understanding of chronic pain and the nervous system. Chronic pain often arises from two main factors:

  1. Pain impulses continuously traveling from damaged nerves to the brain, creating a constant experience of pain.
  2. Inhibitory cells failing to block these impulses, allowing them to become chronic.

Scrambler therapy targets both of these factors. By blocking the ongoing pain impulses and enhancing the inhibitory system, the therapy can potentially reset the brain’s perception of pain.

It’s as if it’s hitting the “reset” button for the brain’s experience of chronic pain, providing significant relief.

Effectiveness of Scrambler Therapy

According to the review paper, scrambler therapy has shown remarkable effectiveness. It appears to offer substantial relief for approximately 80–90% of patients with chronic pain.

Many patients experience significant and long-lasting relief, often reducing their reliance on opioid medications.

One of the key advantages of scrambler therapy is its noninvasive nature. It doesn’t involve surgery or medications with potential side effects. Instead, it relies on precisely applied electrical stimulation to disrupt chronic pain signals.

Comparing Scrambler Therapy to TENS

The review paper also indicates that scrambler therapy may be more effective than another noninvasive pain treatment known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

While both therapies involve electrical signals applied through the skin, TENS uses a different approach.

TENS therapy utilizes a pair of electrodes placed directly at the sites of pain. However, the relief provided by TENS is often temporary and may disappear once the electrical impulses are turned off.

In contrast, scrambler therapy aims to create lasting relief by “rewiring” the brain’s perception of pain.


Chronic pain is a challenging condition that significantly impacts the lives of those affected.

Scrambler therapy offers new hope by providing a noninvasive and highly effective treatment option.

By intercepting pain signals, enhancing inhibitory mechanisms, and resetting the brain’s perception of pain, scrambler therapy has the potential to improve the quality of life for many individuals living with chronic pain.

It represents an exciting development in the field of pain management and offers a promising path towards lasting relief.

If you care about pain, please read studies about vitamin K deficiency linked to hip fractures in old people, and these vitamins could help reduce bone fracture risk.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and eating yogurt linked to lower frailty in older people.

The research findings can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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