In this double-blinded, randomized controlled trial we evaluated the effects of Calmare®, a non-invasive neurocutaneous electrical pain intervention, on lower back pain intensity as measured by the "worst" pain score and on pain interference using the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form, on measures of pain sensitivity assessed by quantitative sensory testing, and on mRNA expression of pain sensitivity genes. Thirty participants were randomized to receive up to 10 sessions of Calmare® treatment (n = 15) or a sham treatment (n = 15) using the same device at a non-therapeutic threshold. At 3 weeks after conclusion of treatment, compared with the sham group, the Calmare® group reported a significant decrease in the "worst" pain and interference scores. There were also significant differences in pain sensitivity and differential mRNA expression of 17 pain genes, suggesting that Calmare® can be effective in reducing pain intensity and interference in individuals with persistent low back pain by altering the mechanisms of enhanced pain sensitivity. Further study of long-term pain outcomes, particularly functional status, analgesic use and health care utilization, is warranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01896687.
Keywords: Calmare®; chronic pain; gene expression; low back pain; scrambler.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.