Efficacy of scrambler therapy on breast cancer-related lymphedema

Ju Sang Lee, PhD, PT1). J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 30: 1370–1371, 2018

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Efficacy of scrambler therapy on breast  cancer-related lymphedema

Ju Sang Lee, PhD, PT1). J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 30: 1370–1371, 2018

[Purpose] This study aimed to determine the effect of scrambler therapy on upper extremity pain in patient who had undergone breast cancer related lymphedema. [Participant and Methods] The patient was a 39-yearold woman who developed pain and lymphedema in the right upper extremity after mastectomy. Scrambler therapy was administered once a day every 45 minutes for 10 days to patient. [Results] After 10 sessions of scrambler therapy, pain was reduced 6 points. Bioimpedence and circumference was not increased after 10 treatment sessions. [Conclusion] Thus, scrambler therapy reduced pain without increased lymphedema.

Main findings

  • Scrambler therapy is a novel approach to pain control that attempts to relieve pain by providing “non pain” information via cutaneous nerves to block the effect of pain information. The scrambler creates synthetic action potentials similar to endogenous action potential waveforms, which are dynamically assembled and processed by an innovative algorithm to create strings of “non-pain” information. Scrambler therapy differs from transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation because Scrambler uses different stimulation types to mimic natural nerve impulses.
  • In this single case report, they applied a scrambler therapy to a patient with BCRL and investigated its effects and efficacy on lymphoedema.
  • Using a MC-5A Pain Scrambler Therapy (GEOMC, Seoul, Korea), they attached five channels with electrical stimuli to an upper area that was three finger joints away from the patient’s painful area (toward the shoulder) and to each finger. The frequency of the stimuli was 43 to 52 Hz. The stimulus strength was 5 mA, which provided a natural electrical signal to human body. They raised the strength to the degree that the patient felt a stinging pain. The patient was treated for 45 minutes at a time for 10 days except for weekends and did not receive any other treatment during this period. After 10 sessions, they re-measured her pain, the circumferences, and performed another BIA.
  • The patient’s pain was reduced from VAS 8 to VAS 2. The circumferences showed no changes. The post-treatment BIA showed that the body water was 1,130 ml and the water percentage 0.38, which showed a reduction of 10 ml and 0.007%, respectively.
  • Because the participant of the study consisted of only one patient, a correlation between the scrambler therapy and LE was not clearly determined in this report. However, given that a positive result of pain reduction was observed without an increase in LE, this report may serve as a basis for performing a larger-scale research in the future.