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Scrambler Therapy

An Innovative Non-Invasive Treatment for Chronic Pain

Lifeworks Occupational Therapy is proud to be the only multidisciplinary pain management service in Western Australia offering Scrambler Therapy. This non-invasive treatment provides relief for patients struggling with nerve/neuropathic pain and helps improve their quality of life.

What is Scrambler Therapy?

Scrambler Therapy is a cutting-edge, non-invasive neuromodulation treatment designed to alleviate chronic pain, particularly neuropathic (nerve-related) and oncological (cancer-related) pain that does not respond well to other treatments. Developed by Prof. Giuseppe Marineo, Scrambler Therapy gets its name from the military device that scrambled or changed signals and information, making them unrecognisable.

Scrambler Therapy uses a unique device that delivers electrical stimulation through electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes are similar to ECG electrodes and are placed away from the site of pain. The device constantly varies its pre-set stimulation algorithm, with each treatment session lasting 30-40 minutes.

How Does Scrambler Therapy Work?

Scrambler Therapy aims to reorganise maladaptive signalling pathways by modifying the pain signals into ‘non-pain’ signals. This process is achieved through the concept of neuroplasticity, which involves rewiring the nerve pathways to change the pain signal transmission from the affected area to the brain.

In chronic neuropathic pain, nerve pathways constantly loop and send signals to the brain, even when there is no external source of pain. This ongoing signalling sensitises the brain and alters the pain pathways. Scrambler Therapy breaks this cycle by disrupting the pain signals and rewiring the nerve pathways to transmit ‘non-pain’ signals.

The electrical stimulation from Scrambler Therapy should not be painful. If it is, the electrode placement is modified, and the treatment is restarted. Once the electrodes are applied, patients usually experience a humming or buzzing sensation, which is not unpleasant.

Scrambler Therapy is distinct from TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) therapy, which is used for temporary pain management. TENS stimulates sensory (touch, pressure, vibration) nerve pathways at the site of pain and operates under the “gate control” theory of pain, while Scrambler Therapy focuses on altering the pain perception by reorganising the nerve pathways.

Suitable Pain Conditions for Scrambler Therapy

Scrambler Therapy is particularly effective for a wide range of chronic neuropathic pain conditions that may not respond well to other treatments. Some of the suitable conditions for Scrambler Therapy include:

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), CRPS is a chronic pain condition that typically affects one limb after an injury.

Low Back Pain

Chronic low back pain that is neuropathic in nature can also benefit from Scrambler Therapy.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

A chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain, causing severe facial pain.

Cancer Pain

Pain associated with cancer and its treatments, which can sometimes be neuropathic in nature.

Chemotherapy-Induced Painful Peripheral Neuropathy

This condition arises from nerve damage caused by chemotherapy drugs and often manifests as pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet.

Post-operative Associated Nerve Pain

Scrambler Therapy can help patients experiencing nerve pain after surgeries such as thoracotomy, spinal surgery, or mastectomy.

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

This condition is a painful complication of shingles, where severe nerve pain persists even after the shingles rash has cleared.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Persistent pain in the back and/or legs despite having undergone spinal surgery.

Sciatic Pain

Pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back.

Spinal Stenosis

A narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain in the back and legs.

Phantom Limb Pain

Pain that feels like it’s coming from a limb that has been amputated.

Fibromyalgia Pain

Chronic widespread pain, often accompanied by fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Nerve damage caused by diabetes, leading to pain and numbness, usually in the hands and feet.

NOTE: While Scrambler Therapy has proven to be effective in treating these and other chronic neuropathic pain conditions, it’s important to consult with a medical professional to determine if Scrambler Therapy is the right treatment option for your specific situation.

Who Should Not Undergo Scrambler Therapy

There are certain individuals for whom Scrambler Therapy may not be suitable or safe. These include:

Patients with implanted devices

People with pacemakers, aneurysm clips, vena cava clips, or skull plates should avoid Scrambler Therapy as the electrical stimulation may interfere with the functioning of these devices.

Patients with implanted spinal and peripheral stimulators

These individuals may still receive Scrambler Therapy, but their stimulators need to be turned off for a number of weeks before the treatment. This should be discussed with the individual patients and their healthcare providers.

Recent myocardial infarction patients

Individuals who have recently experienced a heart attack should not undergo Scrambler Therapy until they are cleared by their healthcare provider.

Epilepsy patients

Scrambler Therapy may not be appropriate for those being treated for epilepsy, as the electrical stimulation could potentially trigger seizures.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

The safety of Scrambler Therapy during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid this treatment.

Patients with unstable or untreated mental illness

Individuals with untreated or unstable mental health conditions may not be suitable candidates for Scrambler Therapy, as the treatment’s impact on their condition is not well understood.

Drug users

People who use recreational drugs or are abusive of drugs may not be eligible for treatment, as these substances could interfere with the effectiveness of Scrambler Therapy.

NOTE: It’s crucial to consult with a qualified medical professional to determine if Scrambler Therapy is appropriate and safe for your specific situation. If you fall into one of the categories mentioned above, your healthcare provider may recommend alternative treatments to address your chronic pain.

Our Approach to Scrambler Therapy

At Lifeworks Occupational Therapy, our approach to Scrambler Therapy is focused on providing personalised and comprehensive care for our patients. We understand that each individual’s pain experience is unique, and we tailor our treatment approach accordingly. Our process involves the following steps:

Scrambler Therapy Process


Comprehensive assessment

Before commencing Scrambler Therapy, our team conducts a thorough assessment of the patient’s medical history, current pain condition, and any potential contraindications. This enables us to develop a customised treatment plan that addresses the patient’s specific needs and ensures that Scrambler Therapy is the most appropriate option for them.


Medical consent clearance

To ensure the safety and well-being of our patients, we require that they obtain medical consent clearance from their treating doctor prior to starting Scrambler Therapy. This ensures that the patient’s healthcare provider is aware of the treatment plan and that Scrambler Therapy is considered a safe and suitable option for their particular condition.


Treatment sessions

Once medical consent is obtained, patients undergo a series of Scrambler Therapy sessions. The usual treatment involves a course of up to ten daily 45-minute sessions over a period of up to two weeks (Monday to Friday only). During this time, the patient will also be provided advice on methods to optimise the benefits of Scrambler Therapy, such as the use of activity management or neural calming strategies.


Ongoing support and monitoring

Lifeworks Occupational Therapy is committed to providing continued support to our patients throughout their Scrambler Therapy journey. We closely monitor their progress and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan as needed. We also offer booster sessions for patients who may require additional treatment for recurring pain.


Scrambler Therapy has been shown to provide significant benefits and effectiveness in the management of various chronic neuropathic pain conditions. Its non-invasive nature, absence of side effects, and ability to provide long-lasting pain relief make it an attractive treatment option for many patients. Some of the key benefits and effectiveness of Scrambler Therapy are as follows:

Non-invasive and safe treatment

Scrambler Therapy does not involve any invasive procedures, anesthesia, or hospital stays. This makes it a safe and comfortable treatment option for patients who may be hesitant to undergo more invasive forms of pain management. Additionally, Scrambler Therapy has not been associated with any known side effects, further emphasising its safety profile.

Good success rate

Research studies have demonstrated that Scrambler Therapy can effectively reduce pain in approximately 80% of patients when applied correctly. This high success rate indicates that the majority of patients who undergo Scrambler Therapy can expect to experience significant improvements in their pain management.

Long-lasting effects

The effects of Scrambler Therapy have been shown to be long-lasting, with many patients experiencing pain relief for extended periods after completing their treatment sessions. Some studies have reported pain relief lasting between 3 to 12 months or even longer, depending on the individual patient and the nature of their pain condition.

Evidence-based treatment

The effectiveness of Scrambler Therapy is supported by numerous research studies and clinical trials. For example, a study by Ricci et al. (2019) found that Scrambler Therapy provided significant benefits for patients with refractory pain syndromes. Similarly, Marineo (2019) and Loprinzi et al. (2019) reported positive outcomes in the treatment of neuropathic pain and chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain, respectively.

Improved quality of life

By providing effective and long-lasting pain relief, Scrambler Therapy can help patients regain control of their lives and enjoy improved overall well-being. This can lead to increased mobility, better sleep, reduced reliance on pain medications, and an enhanced ability to engage in daily activities and social interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any known side effects or risks associated with Scrambler Therapy?

Scrambler Therapy is considered a safe and non-invasive treatment option for chronic neuropathic pain. There have been no reported side effects or complications related to its use. However, it is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting Scrambler Therapy to ensure it is appropriate for your specific condition and circumstances.

How can I be sure that Scrambler Therapy is safe for me?

It is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting Scrambler Therapy. At Lifeworks Occupational Therapy, patients undergo a comprehensive assessment and are required to obtain medical consent clearance from their doctor before commencing treatment. This ensures that Scrambler Therapy is an appropriate and safe treatment option for each individual patient.

What are booster sessions, and when might they be needed?

Booster sessions are additional Scrambler Therapy treatments that may be required when nerve pain returns and persists for 24-48 hours. If this occurs, patients should contact their healthcare provider to schedule 2-4 booster sessions. These sessions are of the same duration as regular Scrambler Therapy sessions and help to maintain the pain relief achieved during the initial course of treatment.

Is Scrambler Therapy covered by Medicare, health funds, or Worker's Compensation in Australia?

Scrambler Therapy is a relatively new treatment option, and as such, it is not currently covered by Medicare or private health insurance. However, some Worker’s Compensation insurers have recognised its potential benefits and provided approvals for this treatment. As more research data is gathered, there is hope for potential funding from Medicare, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and private health insurers in the future. 

Does the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) fund Scrambler Therapy?

The NDIS does not specifically mention funding for Scrambler Therapy. However, NDIS funding is often flexible and personalised, allowing individuals to access various supports and services based on their unique needs. It is recommended to discuss your interest in Scrambler Therapy with your NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to determine if funding can be allocated for this treatment under your individual plan. Keep in mind that the availability of funding for Scrambler Therapy through the NDIS may change over time as more research data and evidence becomes available.

Has Scrambler Therapy received approval from the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)?

Yes, Scrambler Therapy has received approval from the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. Lifeworks Occupational Therapy obtained authorisation for the importation of the Scrambler Therapy medical device in 2018 (ARTG: 30115). This approval is an essential step in ensuring the therapy’s safety and efficacy for use within Australia. As more research data is gathered, there is hope for potential funding from Medicare and private health insurers in the future.

Still Have Questions?

If you can’t find an answer to your question in the FAQ’s above, you can always contact us and we’ll respond asap.

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