Chronic pain is something that plagues many Canadians. It may start with a small ache that comes and goes. Then, that small ache turns into excruciating pain that keeps us from sleeping, working, or living our lives fully. Instead of taking pain medication that only masks the pain and leaves you in a bloated haze, laser therapy can help treat chronic pain efficiently.
What is laser therapy?
Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is a non-invasive treatment that uses intensified beams of light of various wavelengths to reduce pain and inflammation. Generally, laser therapy is classified as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and the light types used are red and infrared. When these lasers are applied to the skin, they are able to improve soft tissue and relieve pain.
How does the laser work?
When you have a particular pain, the laser is applied directly to that area of the body. When the light of the different wavelengths are directed on the target area, they produce a physiological change in your cells called photobiomodulation. As the laser gently passes through your skin (without breaking it or causing pain), it reacts with your cells. Your cells trigger energy that stimulates your body’s natural healing process. Cell growth is also stimulated, which in turn leads the heart to move more immune cells throughout your body to help relieve your pain.
Are there different types of pain and does laser therapy work on all of them?
There are three different types of pain. Each can be treated effectively by laser therapy:
This type of pain occurs when receptors on our body’s surface or musculoskeletal tissues are triggered. This pain manifests itself as a dull ache and often feels worse when you are active.
Neuropathic type of pain starts in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. It results from an injury or malfunction and gives off a tingling or burning sensation.
This is the most common type of pain you can experience. When our internal organs incur damage or become injured, we feel a deep squeeze or dull pain. Visceral pain is hard to localize since it affects our internal system.
All three types of pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pain is what we normally feel, which then fades. However, pain can shift from acute to chronic when it lasts more than three months. Chronic pain can also be present after an injury has fully healed.
How laser therapy is effective in the treatment of chronic pain
Laser therapy has been proven to effectively treat chronic pain and has many benefits:
No side effects
Traditional pain medication comes with side effects that range from headache to dry mouth to constipation, whereas laser therapy does not have any after-effects.
Laser therapy provides patients with relief that lasts. The number of treatments necessary to achieve relief depends on the person and the severity of their pain; although, some people report relief after only 1-2 treatments.
Perfect for post-injury rehabilitation
Laser therapy can be administered shortly after you’ve sustained an injury. As long as there is no active hemorrhaging, laser therapy will speed up the body’s natural healing process and restore any functions lost by the injury.
Treats different chronic conditions
Laser therapy is effective at treating chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, constant neck pain, fibromyalgia, incessant headaches, herniated discs, recurrent muscle injuries, and lingering joint problems.
Quick and easy
The size and depth of your chronic condition will dictate how much time each treatment takes. Most laser therapy sessions take between 5-10 minutes and people can schedule treatments on their lunch hour for quick relief from pain.
Treatments are customized
What works for one person with chronic back pain may not work for someone else who suffers the same ailment. For this reason, laser therapy is customized to the individual. Advanced software allows technicians to create specialized treatment with distinct wavelengths for different areas of the body, to create better outcomes for each person undergoing the therapy. Moreover, there are different heads that the technician will use for bony parts of the body vs soft tissue areas to ensure you receive a comfortable therapeutic session.
What does laser therapy feel like?
The treatment is painless and is often coupled with a massage-ball head to administer a more relaxing experience. Most people feel little to no sensation at all, while others report a soothing warmth as the laser passes over the injured area.
How safe is laser therapy?
Laser therapy can only be administered by a licensed technician and is approved by Health Canada and the FDA. The technician will give you special glasses to wear to protect your eyes from the bright light emitted from the laser.
At Focus Physiotherapy, we offer laser therapy to help those dealing with chronic pain. You don’t have to live with discomfort anymore. Contact us for more information.