HomeNewsArticle Display

Nerve Scrambler Therapy lessens pain for warfighters, Tricare patients

Lt. Col Candy Wilson, right, 779th Medical Group nurse practitioner, consults a human anatomy chart to determine where to place a Calmare electrode for treating Carol Celeste Gray, a patient at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 30, 2017. Gray suffers from chronic regional pain syndrome on the left side of her body that developed after being treated for a broken elbow.
 (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Lt. Col Candy Wilson (right), 779th Medical Group nurse practitioner, consults a human anatomy chart to determine where to place a Calmare electrode for treating Carol Celeste Gray, a Tricare beneficiary, May 30, 2017, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Gray suffers from chronic regional pain syndrome on the left side of her body that developed after being treated for a broken elbow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Nerve Scrambler Therapy lessens pain for warfighters, Wounded Warriors

Lt. Col. Candy Wilson, 779th Medical Group nurse practitioner, activates a Calmare pain therapy medical device to begin treating a patient using Nerve Scrambler Therapy May 30, 2017, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. NST is a non-invasive, non-narcotic medical treatment of chronic and high-intensity neuropathic pain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik)

Nerve Scrambler Therapy lessens pain for warfighters, Wounded Warriors

Lt. Col Candy Wilson, 779th Medical Group nurse practitioner, increases the electrical stimulation voltage of a Calmare pain therapy medical device while treating a patient using Nerve Scrambler Therapy May 30, 2017, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The patients’ treatments vary from 20-60 minutes per session. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Yanik. This photo has been modified to protect PII)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- At first glance, Nerve Scrambler Therapy is a name that some might confuse with an experimental, avant-garde rock band from the 1970s. Think The Velvet Underground, Electric Light Orchestra or Grand Funk Railroad.

In reality, NST is one of the 79th Medical Wing’s most cutting edge methods for managing chronic and debilitative nerve pain that impacts warfighters’ job performance and long-term quality of life.

“Like many civilians, military patients sometimes experience nerve pain after they’ve healed from injuries or have been treated for diseases,” said Lt. Col. Candy Wilson, 779th Medical Group nurse scientist and NST practitioner. “NST has proven to be a viable alternative to opioids for reducing or eliminating this kind of pain.”

Nerve pain that indicates no underlying injury or disease, technically known as peripheral neuropathic pain, can affect patients who undergo chemotherapy or suffer from diabetic or sciatica pain, drug/toxin exposure, infections stemming from surgical complications or incidents of trauma.

“A common case we treat with NST is a condition found among some wounded warriors known as phantom limb pain,” said Wilson.
Phantom limb pain is a condition in which an amputee experiences pain sensation from the part of the body that was removed.

Wilson and her nursing colleagues at the 779th MDG’s Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center administer NST using a Calmare machine. Calmare is the name of the manufacturer and it means “to soothe” in Italian.

NST involves sending a low voltage current of electrical stimulation through two electrode pads placed on the skin of the patient. One pad is placed on a part of the body inches away from the source of a nerve pain; the other pad is placed on a part of the body not affected by pain.

According to the Calmare Therapeutics Company’s official website, the stimulation scrambles the pain nerve signals to the brain. A “no pain” signal to the brain replaces a pain signal. Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, the Calmare machine has been used successfully in Europe for the past 15 years and in the U.S. for the past few years. The website reports the treatment is painless, non-invasive and patients experience no adverse side effects.

“In effect, NST means we’re able to re-train the brain for reducing or eliminating pain,” Wilson said. “Recurring treatments over a certain amount of time result in prolonged pain relief for the patient.”

Patients needing treatment at Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center require a referral from their primary care provider. Then, their treatment is determined by one of the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center’s physician acupuncturists.

“Referrals are necessary to ensure we are providing the appropriate and most effective treatment for our warfighters and other patient beneficiaries,” said 1st Lt. Folake Niniola, 779th MDG registered nurse. “Because of our thorough screening process, we’ve been very successful with this therapy and there have been no known or reported side effects or injuries from the use of this machine.”

Because of the Nerve Scrambler Therapy’s ability to reduce patients’ pain without side effects, the 79th MDW exemplifies the Zero Harm tenet of Air Force Medical Service’s patient care philosophy.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AFEnergy: If you don't measure progress, you can't affect change. #FuelMoreFight #MondayMotivation https://t.co/80sg3un0ov
The latest roundup of the best #AirForce photos is out. See them here: https://t.co/wU5rxsXJRq https://t.co/JUE9Yd0cKS
RT @WarriorCare: Have you missed some of the action? Check out our photo gallery on Flickr and get caught up on your favorite athlete makin…
#USAF Critical Care Air Transport team members, transport mother & 7-month-old son on a #C130 flight from… https://t.co/o1aNSelM1t
RT @DOD_Outreach: Pedaling on! @usairforce Capt. Heather Wright races an upright bicycle during the #DOD #WarriorGames2019 today. This is t…
#DYK, @WrightPattAFB became a Bee City in 2017, solidifying #AirForce's commitment to bee protection and revitaliza… https://t.co/jnoUyjQTiY
RT @ActingSecAF: Today the ⁦@usairforce⁩ has a historic opportunity to continue our leadership in #space & secure the final frontier for ou…
RT @DOD_Outreach: Feel the calm. 😌 @AFW2 Tech Sgt. Ricardo Rivera practices his freestyle swim techniques for today’s competition at the @…
#WarriorGames2019 Track competition is happening NOW! 🏃‍♂️💨 Head over https://t.co/jiYSkUGhmB to see it LIVE. GO… https://t.co/E2pYScoZSC
RT @WarriorCare: This isn’t your average morning run! Day 2 has started with Track competitions. We’re here at Yuengling Center at the Univ…
Our hearts go out to #TuskegeeAirman Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert J. Friend and his family. Thank you for decades of serv… https://t.co/CUHadFr0sC
“So far, as a wing, we’ve made all this look easy. But it hasn’t been." - Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squad… https://t.co/7YQnJV9yel
RT @WarriorCare: The weather is hot in Tampa. Perfect for a new 2019 Warrior Games competition: Golf 🏌️‍♀️ First on the greens is Staff Sgt…
.@AF_SMC's summer is booked with four back to back launch missions. Use #SummerOfLaunch19 to track their progress… https://t.co/9LsEMIvsaf
.@TeamEglin shows how "hot pitting" helps fuel the fight in real time. https://t.co/zIQUT2v9vj
RT @ActingSecAF: Being a good leader means caring for Airmen. Hearing how @GenDaveGoldfein has continued to take care of those who answered…
RT @DeptofDefense: “You inspire me!” Captain Marvel herself, @BrieLarson shares words of encouragement to the athletes of the upcoming @Wa
RT @ActingSecAF: Merci beaucoup to our gracious host & close ally France for bringing together countries from around the world to showcase…