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Scenar and Myofascial Pain Syndrome



The Efficacy of SCENAR Therapy for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

In Bo Han, MD, Ji Young Moon, MD, Ryoong Huh, MD, Hye Young Yoo, RN, Sang Sup Chung, MD

Department of Neurosurgery, Bundang CHA hospital, Pochon CHA University, Sungnam, Korea

Corresponding author Ryoong Huh, M.D.

Department of Neurosurgery, Pochon CHA University, College of Medicine, Bundang CHA Hospital, 351, Yatap-dong, Bundang-Gu, Sungnam, 463-712, Korea Tel: +82-31-780-5260 Fax: +82-31-780-5269 E-mail :



Objectives: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a frequent cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain.

The purpose of this study is to verify the usefulness of SCENAR standing for Self-Controlled

Energo-Neuro-Regulator in patients with MPS.

Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 340 patients from March 2006 to December 2006 in whom SCENAR therapy was performed for MPS. SCENAR therapy consisted in 10 sessions lasting 20 minutes. Therapeutic effects were evaluated before treatment, at 1 week, and at month after the end of treatment using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and we categorized treatments as effective or ineffective.

Results: The patients treated by SCENAR therapy showed significant improvement in the VAS. One week after the SCENAR therapy, 296 patients (87.2 %) had experienced effective pain relief, and these improvements were maintained at the 1 month follow-up evaluation.

Conclusion: SCENAR therapy is a safe and effective means of treating patients with MPS.




Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a painful condition that is characterized by localized pain, muscle tenderness, decreased range of motion, mood and sleep problems. The pain in MPS most commonly occurs in the head, neck, shoulders, arms, legs and lower back. However, it can occur in any muscle group. It has been reported that a number of factors including poor posture over time, continuous pressure on the muscle, emotional stress, surgical incisions, repetitive motions and joint problems can trigger MPS. Numerous therapeutic approaches have been used with varying success rates to treat MPS.4) The common treatments for MPS are pharmacological therapy, ultrasound therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), relaxation techniques, acupuncture, and stretching exercise. However, the efficacy of these treatments remains controversial.

SCENAR (ZAO, OKB RITM, Russia) standing for Self-Controlled Energo-Neuro-Regulator was first invented in Russia in mid 80s under space and military research program. This is the first time that SCENAR therapy is used in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the short-term efficacy of SCENAR therapy in patients with MPS.




From March 2006 to December 2006, 340 patients were treated by SCENAR therapy in our department of neurosurgery. MPS was diagnosed by the presence of multiple sore spots or trigger points in the muscles. Additional symptoms used to diagnose MPS included impaired range of motion (ROM), mood disturbance, muscle tenderness, and sleep problems. The following patients were excluded from the study: 1) patients with clinical signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia; 2) patients aged below 18 or above 80 years; 3) patients with neurological deficits. Furthermore, we also excluded patients presenting contraindications for the SCENAR therapy, which compromised those having cardiac pacemaker. Institutional review board of the University of Pochon CHA approved this study. During the period of SCENAR therapy, none of the patients underwent any form of therapy excepted for the SCENAR therapy to check the effect of SCENAR therapy.

Method of SCENAR treatment

The SCENAR weighs approximately 208.5grams, is 180 mm in length and 60 mm width, with an electrical contact at one end and runs off a 4.5V battery (Fig. 1). The practitioner applies it onto patient's skin until the patient feels a tingling sensation. It would be slightly uncomfortable but not painful. The practitioner brushes the device over the patient's skin during treatment. The practitioner is looking for anomalies on the skin surface, which may be highlighted by redness, numbness, stickiness or a change in numerical display or sound (Fig. 2). Although these areas may not seem to directly relate to the obvious symptom, by treating these asymmetries, the healing process will commence. In most cases, the treatment lasted for approximately 20 minutes and required a minimum of 3 treatments. A course of treatment varied from individual according to such factors as the stage of the pathological process, the patient's age, state of health, and other relevant factors.

Testing procedure

Patients were clinically evaluated before treatment, after 1 week and 1 month following the end of treatment. Evaluation parameters included the following: 1) measurement of the subjective intensity of pain visual analogue scale (VAS); 2) evaluation of the myofascial trigger point characteristics through manual palpation; 3) evaluation of the ROM of the spine (cervical and lumbar) and shoulder.


340 patients (138 male, 202 female; ages 23-76 years; mean age 43.5 years) who met all enrollment criteria were included in this study (Table 1). The patients treated by SCENAR showed a significant improvement of performance in pain score (VAS) and in the evaluation of myofascial trigger point characteristics. A significant increase in the ROM was also achieved. One week after the end of the SCENAR therapy, 296 patients (87.2 %) had experienced effective pain relief, and these improvements persisted at 1 month pos-treatment (Table 2). The patients were classified into subgroups; low back pain subgroup and neck pain group including shoulder pain. The reduction in the pain intensity was achieved in 83.1% among the low back pain subgroup (n=95) and in 88.7% among the neck pain subgroup (n=245). The effect of SCENAR therapy in cases of neck pain was superior to that in cases of low back pain. No serious complications occurred during the treatment.


The results of the present study show the possible short-term therapeutic effects of SCENAR in the treatment of MPS. The use of SCENAR for musculoskeletal pain is new. There have been no studies investigating its mechanism of action. The SCENAR is a hand held, electric stimulation therapeutic medical device. The device sends out electrical impulses similar to neuro-impulses through the skin and measures the response. In respond to a SCENAR impulse, reflex biofeedback, which means the communication between the brain and the affected part, proceeds at real time and biological speed. It is able to instruct the brain and body to generate specific neuropeptides, the key biochemicals used by our body to heal itself. By continuously using biofeedback, the SCENAR modifies each successive input signal to either amplify or dampen the form of the pathological signals that exist in the body. The SCENAR is very different from other electrotherapy such as TENS. The feature of TENS impulse is asymmetrical biphasic square wave. TENS only stimulates A and B fibers and lack biofeedback capability. However, SCENAR device has a fixed and constant distance between cathode and anode (Fig. 1). The SCENAR impulse (Fig. 3) is high amplitude so it stimulates C-fibers, which make up about 85% of all nerves in the body. This explains the speed and effectiveness of SCENAR therapy. Moreover, SCENAR impulses contain numerous random features to prevent the body from adapting to the stimulation, compared to TENS.1)j)5)6)

The C-fibers react most readily to the electrical stimulation and are responsible for the production of neuropeptides and other regulatory peptides. The SCENAR catalyzes the process to produce regulatory peptides by stimulation of C-fibers in the body for it to use where necessary. It is these neuropeptides that are responsible for the healing process. As these peptides last up to several hours the healing process will continue even after treatment is over."' Pain is the most common complaint to be dealt with in the SCENAR therapy by block of transmission of the pain impulses in the nerve endings of the peripheral nerve fibers, pain focus suppression of brain cortex, and reduction of the edema around the nerve fibers leading to reduction of pressure effect. 

It is very important to achieve a change in patient's condition and to find 'asymmetries' on the skin surface. As the SCENAR device is moved over the surface of the skin, there are five large diagnostic symptoms: stickiness, sensitivity alteration, skin alteration, sound alteration and change in numerical output display. When the device is moved over the skin, it can "stick" so that we cannot get it moving forward without applying force. It means there is a pathological nidus over there. "Sticking" area needs to be treated additionally for 2-3 minutes. Highly sensitive skin area also coincides with the projection of the pathological nidus and is optimal for SCENAR application. Skin reddening during the treatment indicates the increased functions in this area and is up for additional treatment. If a pale skin area stands out against the red background, it indicates the decreased functions in this area and is also up for additional treatment. Any change in tonal sound during SCENAR application indicates a pathological nidus. Skin area of the altered sound needs to be treated additionally for 2-3 minutes. By treating these asymmetries, the healing process would commence and the devices give real relief from pain.


The present study demonstrates that SCENAR therapy is a safe and effective method of treating patients with MPS. However, we should perform further research aimed at establishing the long-term effect of SCENAR therapy in the treatment of MPS.


Table 1. Demographic and clinical features

Parameter Myofascial pain syndrome

Total number 340

Mean age, y (range) 43.5 (23-76)

Sex (male : female) 138 : 202

Pain location (neck: low back) 245 (72.1%): 95 (27.9%)


Table 2. Outcome at one week after SCENAR therapy


Reduction of pain intensity (%)

All groups (n = 340)                              296 (87.2%) 

Low back pain subgroup (n = 95)            79 (83.1%)

Neck pain subgroup (n = 245)               217 (88.7%)



1. Bertalanffy A, Kober A, Bertalanffy P, Gustorff B, Gore O, Adel S, Hoerauf K. Transculaneous electrical nerve stimulation reduces acute low back pain during emergency transport. A cad Emerg Med I2(7):607-6ll, 2005

2. Chen C, Lu Y, Kallakuri S, Patwardhan A, Cavanaugh JM. Distribution of A-della and C-fiber receptors in the cervical facet joint capsule and their response to stretch. J Bone Joint Surg Am 88(8): 1807-1816, 2006


3. Chiu TT, Hui-Chan CW, Cherin G. A randomized clinical trial of TENS and exercise for patients with chronic neck pain. Clin Rehabil 19(8): 850-860, 2005

4. Farina S, Casarotto M, Benelle M, Tinazzi M, Fiaschi A, Goldoni M, et al: A randomized controlled study on the effect of two different treatments (FREMS and TENS) in myofascial pain syndrome. Eur Med Phys 40:293-301,2004

5. Harvey J, Tanner S: Low back pain in young athletes. A practical approach. Sports Med 12:394- 406, 1991

6. Khadilkar A, Milne S, Brosseau L, Wells G, Tugwell P, Robinson V, et al: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review. Spine l;30(23):2657-2666, 2005




Terry Waller, Insurance Manager, London (Frozen Shoulder)

"After lifting some heavy machinery, I found that trying to raise my left arm above my waist was very painful. My osteopath told me I had a frozen shoulder and although I got some relief from his treatment, he said it could take up to 12 months for things to normalise. Some weeks later I was introduced to Paul and his Scenar equipment. I was a little sceptical at first but after 2-3 sessions I began to notice improvement. To my amazement, after just 8 sessions I realised that I could raise my left arm as high and easily as my right. It's now just over a year later and I have remained completely pain free ever since. There is no hard sell with Paul who I found to be very knowledgeable and a consummate professional."


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John Hayward, Engineer and Landscaper, Westham, Sussex (Neck + Shoulder Pain)

"The pain had reached levels that stopped my physical workload. The diagnosis was nerve compression due to an old injury to the C5/6/7 vertebrae. After four Scenar treatments, I was able to stop the painkillers. After three months and 10 treatments I can sleep on my side again, write and sign my signature fluently again, turn my head fully to the right and left..." 

Six months followup: "I'm doing heavy physical work again as part of my job, and despite needing occasional top-ups, I'm basically pain-free. Altogether, a phenomenal success."


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Don Elwick, Managing Director, Brighton Media Centre (Cracked Ribs)

"On December 21st, 2009, I went out running, slipped on some ice, and fell heavily on my back. A nurse and a doctor both confirmed I had two or three cracked ribs. I spent the next week hardly sleeping due to the pain. On December 29th I saw Paul Lowe for a Scenar treatment, and that night I slept properly again. Over the next few days, almost all the pain had gone. I had a second Scenar treatment January 1st, and on January 4th, the doctor found it hard to believe there was nothing left from the accident."


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Venus Villa, First Artist, The English National Ballet, London (Muscle Injury)

"I had a very painful injury to my leg and I tried several therapies. Scenar was the best for really deep healing. Thank you Paul."


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Tali Saar, Shiatsu and Cranio-Sacral Therapist, Lewes, Sussex (Facial Paralysis)

"I was treated by Paul Lowe for facial paralysis, I also had pain in my face and ear canal. The pains disappeared after the first two treatments, and soon there was a huge improvement in the paralysis and my energy levels. The treatments reminded me of a deep, relaxing place I had lost for many years. I experienced changes at many levels, far beyond my original symptoms. Paul has been both supportive and inspiring. He is a unique practitioner with vast knowledge in his field."


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Erica Yonge, Energy Therapist, Marlborough, Wiltshire (Back Pain)

"Paul, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sorting out my back problem so effectively with Scenar. I was told I had a potential herniated disc in my lower back, and I was in a lot of pain for many years. In recent months, I was frequently unable to stand up straight for minutes at a time. After six Scenar sessions, not only am I completely pain free in my back for the first time in years, but my posture has corrected itself naturally. I wouldn't have believed I could be this pain free after so many years of pain.

Eighteen months followup: My back is still very good and posture is better than it's ever been. If you weren't so far away, I'd come for regular top-ups!"


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Lucienne Atkinson, Business Owner, Oulston, Yorkshire  (Back Pain)

"Life had been years of debilitating pain. I was at my wit's end. Finding Paul Lowe and the Scenar treatment has been nothing short of a miracle for me. After two long treatments with him, the worst problem area for pain changed, almost disappeared."

18 months followup: "It's truly a miracle. I have gone back to the athletic person I was before. I can train hard on my mountain bike for 3 or 4 days in a row with no back pain!"


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Tim Cornwall, Works Manager, Herstmonceaux, Sussex (Back Pain)

"I've had hip and lower back problems for over 30 years. This episode was the worst I've had for two years: I could hardly walk or drive. Until now, I'd go to the chiropractor for several treatments and take at least three weeks to recover. With Paul it took five days and four Scenar treatments to get back to normal. On day 1, I could barely walk. On day 3, I took the dog for a one-hour walk."


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Barry Chapman, Designer, Hove, Sussex (Leg pain)

"I would recommend anybody with health challenges to talk to Paul. I had a combination of polymyalgia, extremely sore feet, low energy and limited mobility. I thought I had tried everything and had resigned myself to sliding down the slippery slope. Paul, his guidance and treatments, gave me hope when I had none, and for this I am extremely thankful. I've adjusted my lifestyle and diet and worked hard. I am now fit, energetic and strong."


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Angela Gilroy, Media Designer, London (Back Pain)

"When I hurt my lower back, the pain made it impossible to move my right leg backwards when walking, so I had to shuffle. Paul Lowe gave me a brief Scenar treatment that night and I felt some relief immediately and got a good night's sleep. The next morning he gave me a full back treatment, and this produced a major change. It still felt a little tender but I could walk around almost normally."


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Marco Crivello, Artist, Lewes, Sussex (Shoulder + Back Pain)

"I had acute pain in my right shoulder. I tried osteopathy and cranio-sacral over several weeks, but with negligible results. Paul treated me with Scenar daily for four days, and by the end I was pain-free. On another occasion, I was in acute pain months after Achilles tendon surgery -- after one treatment from Paul, the pain went away. I also threw my back out twice. Each time, one Scenar treatment was enough to put it back to normal."


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Stephanie Davies-Arai, Sculptor, Lewes, Sussex (Back Pain)

"I was rushed to hospital on three occasions and given four strong painkillers including morphine. I finally collapsed at work in agony, unable to walk. After 10 daily treatments with Paul, I was able to stop the painkillers and drive 80 miles to a work event."

Six months followup: "I'm still pain free."


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Phil Turtle, Company Director, Brighton  (Fracture, Post Surgery)

"I broke the humerus bone in my arm and had it operated on, in January 2014. I then had frequent Scenar and pulsed electromagnetic field treatments from Paul Lowe and quickly regained use of the arm. Five weeks after the operation, I saw my consultant and he was obviously shocked at how 'back to normal' my arm was at such an early stage." 


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Dolores Goodey, School Teacher,  Newhaven, Sussex  (Chronic Whiplash Pain)

"It works, and I tried everything. I have more energy and I'm sleeping well. I used to get aches all the way down my back but not now. I'm also impressed that the treatments had such long lasting effects."


Plesae note: These testimonials are from real individuals but since every individual is unique, there is no guarantee that others will experience the same results.