Hollings Cancer Center

A National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center

Scrambler Therapy

An older man sits in a chair, shoes and socks off and pants rolled up, as a doctor and nurse chat with him

Millions of Americans are affected by chronic pain. Here at MUSC Health we offer scrambler therapy as a pain management approach to treat chronic neuropathic pain and cancer pain resistant to other types of treatments.

This non-invasive therapy is FDA approved, drug-free and has no reported side effects. Studies have shown that it is a safe and effective treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Scrambler therapy is an FDA approved for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain that has not responded adequately to traditional treatment (Ex: medication, physical therapy, injections, surgery, etc.)

  • Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN)
  • Chronic Cancer Pain
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
  • Sciatic and Lumbar Pain
  • Phantom Limb Syndrome
  • Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
  • Post-surgical Neuropathic Pain
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathy
  • Low Back Pain (LBP)
  • Chronic Neuropathic Pain

Scrambler therapy is a pain management approach that uses the MC5-A Calmare scrambler therapy device to block pain signals. This device uses electrical impulses to provide "non-pain" information to nerve fibers that have been receiving "pain" messages.

Scrambler therapy is administered by a trained professional who has undergone specialized training in this device and technique.

Electrodes are applied to the skin around the affected area of pain. These electrodes will then deliver a very mild electrical impulse.

Initially, you may feel a very mild pinch/bite/prickly sensation, as the dose is gradually increased, you will feel a vibration/buzz/hum/pulsing sensation.

This treatment is not painful. We are sending a non-painful message.

If at any time you report any pain or discomfort, your nurse will immediately turn the impulse off and reposition the electrode. It is essential to notify the nurse if you feel any negative sensation.

Initial scrambler therapy is given daily for 10 to 12 days, over a two week period, with 2 days off for the weekend.

Depending on the results of therapy, you may need fewer or more treatments.

Each session is usually 30-45 minutes on the machine once electrodes are placed.

You will be scheduled for a 1-hour appointment in the Scrambler Clinic. Your first therapy day may run a little over since it will be your first meeting.

Scrambler therapy cannot cure or correct the underlying condition that is causing the pain. It treats chronic neuropathic pain as a separate and distinct problem by changing the message the nerves are sending to the brain from pain to non-pain.

It cannot eradicate your pain forever. Eventually, your pain will return, usually in 1 to 6 months. That time frame may vary based on the individual's response to therapy. When pain reoccurs, we can then provide booster therapy. This treatment is usually 2-3 additional sessions to regain previously experienced comfort levels.

Make an Appointment

If you would like an appointment to the Scrambler Therapy Clinic, you can ask your provider to send a referral.

MUSC Health providers can send an order for an ambulatory referral to the Scrambler Therapy Clinic. The order will automatically come to the clinic, and our staff will contact you.

Providers outside of MUSC Health can have a referral with medical records sent to:

Attention: Scrambler Therapy Clinic at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Fax: 843-792-1190 | Phone: 843-792-9300

Our scrambler staff will then contact you.

Currently, most insurance companies are not covering the cost of this therapy.