Monthly Archives: January 2013

Emerging Chronic Pain Device Improving Lives

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Emerging Chronic Pain Device Improving Lives

Patients who have suffered through chronic pain for several years say a relatively new treatment has changed their lives for the better.

BY ANGELINA TALA | DEC 28, 2011 11:40 PM EST

Patients who have suffered through chronic pain for several years say a relatively new treatment has changed their lives for the better.

(Photo : (Patrick Hoesly/Flickr)) An illustration of a neuron connection.

(Photo : (Patrick Hoesly/Flickr)) An illustration of a neuron connection.
  • 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.

Patient Experiences

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.

Click here for the original article online.



Calmare: Kenley prepares to leave NJ–wheelchair free (Dr. Cooney)

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Kenley prepares to leave NJ–wheelchair free

January 17, 2013

no wheelchair imageSince we started providing Calmare Therapy, we have seen some remarkable patient outcomes that we will never forget. During the past two weeks here in New Jersey, our patient Kenley, from West Virginia, has experienced a tremendous outcome that we would like to share─


She started treatment with us Monday, January 7. Kenley is a smart and kind 24-year-old who has been wheelchair-bound with RSD from her left knee to her foot for the past two years. Her dream is to overcome the RSD pain and be able to return to college.


When she arrived, her pain level was 8-10. After her third treatment, she left with a pain level reduced to a 2. It increased that evening but each might her pain decrease lasted for a longer span of time. Yesterday, we completed treatment number eight and she walked out of the office reporting a 0 pain level for the first time. Best of all, she did not use her wheelchair when she left (which brought tears to my front office staff).  Kenley also said,  “I have been wearing loose slippers for so long I had forgotten what it’s like to wear real shoes–I love it!”


When she arrived this morning, Kenley was walking without the wheelchair, although taking tentative steps. She reported some overnight muscle soreness which I attribute to using her legs independently again for the first time in two years (there is “good” pain sometimes). Hopefully, Kenley can videotape her experience and share it personally with you all. She has an inspiring story to tell and we are honored to be part of it.

Click here for the original article online.


For some people, is there an RSD/CRPS and TMJ connection?

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* * * * * Click here to watch the video on * * * * *


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* * * * * Click here to watch this video on * * * * *






News: A Pain-Drug Champion Has Second Thoughts


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Thousands Die Annually From Pain Med Overdose

More than 16,000 people die from opioid overdoses every year. Now, Dr. Russell Portenoy, who campaigned for wider prescription of pain medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet, is having second thoughts. WSJ’s Thomas Catan reports. Photo: Bryan Thomas.



* * * * * Click here to watch the video on the original site * * * * *




Research: The ‘Disinhibited’ Brain: New Findings On CRPS

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The ‘Disinhibited’ Brain: New Findings On CRPS — A Disease Characterized by Severe Pain

Sep. 22, 2011 — Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as Morbus Sudeck, is characterised by “disinhibition” of various sensory and motor areas in the brain. A multidisciplinary Bochum-based research group, led by Prof. Dr. Martin Tegenthoff (Bergmannsheil Neurology Department) and Prof. Dr. Christoph Maier (Bergmannsheil Department of Pain Therapy), has now demonstrated for the first time that with unilateral CRPS excitability increases not only in the brain area processing the sense of touch of the affected hand. In addition, the brain region representing the healthy hand is simultaneously “disinhibited.”

The researchers, who have been performing research on and treatment of CRPS for a number of years, are reporting the new findings in the journal Neurology. The study was supported by the Research Funds of the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV).

Is there a predisposition for CRPS?

CRPS can develop after even slight injuries and often leads to long-lasting severe pain, impairment of sensation and movement, as well as changes to the skin and the bones of the affected extremity — in many cases it even causes permanent disability. The precise cause of the syndrome is not known. Alongside inflammatory phenomena, changes in the brain also contribute to the disease becoming chronic. “Although the symptoms are mainly limited to one side of the body, some changes in the brain appear to affect both sides — a finding which could hint at an individual predisposition for the development of CRPS,” says Prof. Martin Tegenthoff.

Faulty programming in the brain

As yet, the origins of the disease remain largely unclear. Pain researchers assume that not only inflammatory factors, but also changes in the central nervous system may be a possible cause. For example, in a number of studies researchers found the representation of the affected hand on the brain’s “body map” to have shrunk, a phenomenon closely associated with the patients’ pain intensity and tactile discrimination abilities.

Excitability changes on both sides

In a previous study, the Bochum group already made an astonishing discovery in the motor system of CRPS patients: the excitability of their motor hand area in the brain is increased — not only in the half of the brain controlling the affected side, but also in the half correlating to the healthy side. Following these findings hinting at a systemic disorder of the central nervous system, in the current study the group examined whether bilateral disinhibition can also be found in the brain area processing the sense of touch (somatosensory cortex). CRPS patients with unilateral symptoms of the hand were examined. After an electrical stimulation, the researchers measured the brain waves in the somatosensory brain area of the affected and the unaffected hand. Results show: the reduction of inhibition which is found on both sides in CRPS is not limited to motor areas. Those areas of the brain that process sensory perception of the hands exhibit distinct changes too.

“Disinhibition”: typical of neuropathic pain

The scientists validated these findings by comparing CRPS patients with healthy volunteers and with patients suffering from pain that — in contrast to CRPS — was not caused by a disease of the nerves (so-called non-neuropathic pain). Here too, the researchers found an amazing result: the control patients showed no altered inhibition whatsoever in the hand area, they did not differ from the healthy volunteers. “This shows that the disinhibition of the brain in CRPS patients appears to be specific for neuropathic pain,” says Prof. Tegenthoff.

Systemic changes raise questions

The results indicate that the changes in the central nervous system caused by CRPS are much more complex than scientists have assumed up to now. Bilateral changes in the central sensorimotor systems that manifest in unilateral symptoms raise questions — for example: are they a cause or a consequence of the disease? The RUB scientists are presently undertaking a first approach at answering this question: in a long-term study they will accompany the patients to perform two further measurements in intervals of six months between dates. In this way, they can relate potential changes in the brain to the healing process. If a successful therapy reverses these changes, they are most probably a consequence of the disease.

Factoring in the brain

“Our research results make clear that changes in the brain play a prominent role in CRPS,” says Prof. Dr. Christoph Maier. “As we already do in current pilot studies performed in the Department of Pain Therapy at Bergmannsheil, future therapies should take this aspect into account, in order to improve the treatment of what continues to be a problematic illness.”




Click here to see the original article online.