Chronic pain sufferers may have a new therapy to try out, and it's the first of it's kind in Idaho.
The Calmare, or Scrambler Machine, made it's Idaho debut in June of this year. It is specifically for people who suffer neuropathy or other chronic neurological pain, which is generally a burning, stabbing, tingling pain that is constant. That kind of pain can result from certain injuries, chemotherapy, diabetes, and amputations.
Curtis Jaussi lost his leg in May from a hunting accident, and has since been haunted by phantom pains.
"I still have feelings in my foot, my shin, my ankle, I can be very specific about where I feel that pain," he says.
He decided to try out the Scrambler Machine at the Pain Center of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
Another patient, nurse Dian Jackson, has been dealing with sensations she described as hitting her funny bone, only it is excruciating and constant. Other therapies and countless pills have not helped.
"The doctor explained to me about what it was and how it worked; I thought okay, we tried other things similar, but not quite this so I want to try anything," Jackson said of the Scrambler. Now, just over a week later, Dian is completely off pain medication. She said her medicine costs were once astronomical.
"When we look at the treatment costs and compare it to how much they would spend on their medications, it is very comparable," said Dr. Jake Poulter of the Pain Specialists of Idaho.
What the machine doesn't necessarily compare to is other forms of electrotherapy. The Scrambler sends a "no pain" message from the site to the brain, while the popular Tens Unit blocks pain. The Scrambler also sends a variety of messages, so that the brain will be less likely to become resilient to the treatment.
Dr. Poulter calls it a potential "game changer," also citing its lack of side effects.
"We haven't seen any side effects and only benefits, which is very unique in today's modern medicine world," said Dr. Poulter.
As for Curtis, he looks forward to the day he is free of pain, but for now, he is thrilled with his results.
He said, "When you don't have the pain, life just feels so much better. It's easier to find the joy when I am not worried about the pain."
The Mayo Clinic and University of Wisconsin are conducting ongoing studies to determine more about the Scrambler.
Idaho's Scrambler machine is at the Pain Specialists of Idaho. http://www.idahopainrelief.com/