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Using Calmare Scrambler Therapy to treat CRPS; Adam Cowan's Journey

This is the story of young teen Adam Cowan, a CRPS warrior from Canada who was diagnosed with the life-changing condition Complex Regional Pain Syndrome at the end of 2023.

Following successful treatment with Calmare, (also known as Scrambler therapy) Adam now has a new lease on life and wishes to share his inspiring story with the wider community.

Burning Nights CRPS Support was first introduced to Adam’s mother Nikki in a webinar presented by Dr. Michael Cooney, a leading Calmare therapy provider from the US and an expert in his field. In it, he discussed Calmare as an effective treatment option for CRPS, due to its distinctive benefits.



What is Calmare Therapy for CRPS?

Dr. Cooney says, “Calmare can be particularly effective for people newly diagnosed with CRPS; for those who have exhausted traditional pain management options and for whom medications no longer offer sustained pain relief.”

During treatment, small electrodes are connected to the pain site using sticker pads and a no-pain message is transmitted through electrical stimulation to the nerves, overriding the body’s previous pain signal.

In recent years, medical experts have seen an uptake of Calmare therapy amongst children and young adults. Along with being non-invasive and nearly completely pain-free, the treatment comes with little to no side effects, making it a safe treatment option for young people battling CRPS.

Adam’s CRPS diagnosis

In December 2023, Adam was hit by freezing rain while out doing chores and started to feel agonising pain shortly after. His family laughed it off initially and thought he was just being overdramatic.

The pain, however, persisted. Adam started having muscle spasms and suffered with allodynia, one of the symptoms of CRPS. It spread further into his neck, back and shoulders, soon taking over his entire upper and lower limbs.

The Cowan family consulted a multitude of medical professionals; their local GP, physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths, all of whom agreed that it was an amplified pain issue but were unable to identify the root cause or make a formal diagnosis.

Nikki knew it was time to take matters into her own hands. Her extensive research led her to Dr. Cooney, who practises out of a clinic in New Jersey, USA and was, fortunately, a stone’s throw away from them.

Discovering Calmare Therapy

Following an initial consultation, Adam was told that he was an excellent candidate for Calmare therapy and, after his very first session, he was pain-free for 6 minutes.

Nikki says, “I got my first hug in 3 or 4 months which was wonderful in every way. Adam started with a level 8 pain and by his fourth treatment, he was down to a 4. All the areas where the pain had spread to, (not the area it had originated from) such as his arms, legs, hands and feet were in remission.”

She goes on to say, “He was pain-free for half an hour after his fourth treatment. After this point though, his pain level wasn’t shifting much; he stagnated at about a level 4 for a while. It was wonderful but I wanted more….I was a bit greedy for it. So we stayed an extra few days (usual treatment is 10 days) and while that wasn’t typical, I’m so glad we did because it sent him entirely in remission.”

The additional sessions saw Adam completely pain-free and without the allodynia (extreme skin sensitivity leading to intense pain when stimulated by something that doesn’t normally cause pain, such as being touched by a feather) that had plagued him.



Success with Calmare Therapy

Adam was fortunate not to have any major side effects from therapy, barring itching during treatment and some fatigue afterwards. Dr. Cooney jokingly told him to love the itch because it meant therapy was working.

As the sessions proceeded, Adam would feel calm and the pain would slowly start to decrease. It was quite relaxing for the most part; reinforcing the meaning of the Italian word “Calmare”, literally translated as calm.

Nikki was overjoyed to see her son get his life back. As a parent, she absolutely recommends the treatment: “It really was an investment for me, undisputedly, but completely worth it. My son wasn’t at school, he wasn’t seeing his friends … for him to be pain-free and for it to be non-invasive…for me it was worth taking the risk, whether it would work or not. In my mind, it was a fairly little risk investment.”

Since becoming pain free, Adam has consistently worked hard and managed to catch up on all the missed school work from earlier in the year. He is now looking forward to a summer of sports camps and swimming, including an important end of year football game – a huge change from where he was merely months ago.

He has also gained his appetite back. Here’s Adam, following treatment, enjoying a favourite meal.



Calmare Therapy in the UK

Unfortunately, despite its proven efficiency in treating CRPS, Calmare therapy is not currently offered in the UK. The closest treatment centres are located in Ireland, Italy and Germany. It is hoped that sharing stories with positive outcomes such as Adam’s will provide some impetus to get the ball rolling.

Phoebe, another young CRPS warrior, also used Calmare therapy to successfully treat her condition. Her family, like Adam’s, is passionate about CRPS awareness and ensuring that those affected by the condition feel less alone. 

To find out more about alternative therapies for CRPS treatments in the UK, click here.

Stay in Touch

To stay informed about our work and receive updates on any news, appeals, events and campaigns relating to CRPS, you can sign up to our free newsletter.

Or why not make a donation so we can continue supporting people like Adam? Just £5 a month could help us in our mission to raise awareness and provide support to those affected by CRPS.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and look forward to building a better future for our CRPS warriors!

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