GREENWICH, Conn. Dr. C. Evers Whyte, a Greenwich native, is drawing chronic pain sufferers from all over the country seeking relief with the help of a new device at his New England Center for Chronic Pain in Stamford.
Whyte's facility is one of 10 in the country to have the new Calmare MC-5A, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
I just finished treating a woman who was in a car accident four years ago and suffered from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, in which the body starts interpreting the injury as if it happens again every day, said Whyte. The woman was addicted to the narcotics prescribed to manage her pain, he said.
She just wrote us a letter that after a course of therapy the pain kept coming down and down to the point where she could enroll in a detox program, her leg had healed and she was totally pain free.
The machine originated in Rome by a scientist looking to help terminal cancer patients who had become resistant to morphine and other narcotics. He realized through his research that there are these certain pain fibers communicating pain signals that wont shut off even with drugs that try to interfere with the signal, Whyte said. The scientist decoded the electrical signal through these nerves to create the Calmare, which means calm in Italian.
The device acts like one of the patients own neurons. It is applied through electrodes that attach to the skin and is programmed to send a canceling signal to the nerves that were overexcited. When you think of it like a message, nerves send a pain message and this device sends a no-pain message that is much stronger than that original message, said Whyte.
After a series of 10 to 12 treatments over and over, the brain begins to take in this new message and stamps it and takes in this new picture of no or vastly reduced pain, said Whyte. In half the cases, the pain will not come back. In the other half, patients need booster treatments every 60 to 90 days, Whyte said.
He recently purchased three more Calmare devices and reorganized his practice into the New England Center for Chronic Pain , now located in Stamford.
The device has successfully treated cancer pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, post-shingles pain and sciatica, among others. The U.S. Navy recently purchased 11 more devices because of its effectiveness in treating phantom limb pain.
Everyone wants to find out what else we can treat with the Calmare device, Whyte said. Right here at NECCP, were discovering new conditions that respond to the Calmare therapy.
Whyte says that because its a new device that requires some advanced training, its not covered by insurance. His practice charges $250 per treatment, or $2,000 for 10 treatments. Interested patients can try it free with an evaluation. Patients with chronic pain will know immediately whether the Calmare offers relief, Whyte says.
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