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Red-light laser therapy an alternative to pain meds

Posted at 7:53 AM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 09:09:14-04

CORPUS CHRISTI. TEXAS — More people are looking for ways to alleviate aches and pains without the use of medication.

One of those ways is the use of a red-light laser, which helps the body heal itself.

This technology has been available for years, but only recently has it gained popularity to help manage pain.

Photobiomodulation, also known as Low-Level Laser Therapy, is a whole-body light-therapy device that uses red and near-infrared light to repair damaged cells beneath the skin to treat injuries, reduce pain, relax muscles/joints, and increase blood circulation.

“So, it is a deep tissue, or class 4, laser that is utilized to enhance the body’s natural healing response through a high dosage of light energy,” said physical therapist Dr. Anthony Avila.

This FDA-approved treatment is helping some get relief from pain without surgery, or the use of opioids.

“It gives people a natural healing response so you are not using any invasive strategies or techniques," Avila said. "(You use) your body’s own natural process to go through that healing phase. So, if you are looking for something other than injections, or pain meds, this is an option you can utilize.”

Laser therapy is used by most professional sports teams, college athletes, and some high schools, too. But anyone suffering from muscle and joint pain can also benefit from the treatment.

“Typically we see an immediate response after use of the laser, and the clients will say anywhere from 50 percent pain reduction immediately after that lasts about 24 hours," he said. "And as they utilize the laser more frequently, it becomes more of the normal status.”

The number of conditions red-light can treat continuously is expanding.

“Someone who would benefit from use of the laser is someone who has neck pain, shoulder pain, maybe a back pain, hip pain, knee pain," Avila said. "These clients typically have difficulty bending, turning, twisting, and maybe reaching over head. Those are the clients that will benefit from the use of the laser. They have pain with mobility or movement that could be tied to a musculo-skeletal injury.”

The treatment is non-invasive, safe, and there are very little, if any, side effects.

Low-level laser therapy has been proven to treat a wide range of medical conditions such as:

• Muscle & joint pain

• Pain associated with muscle spasms

• Hand/wrist pain

• Neck pain

• Lower back pain

• Tendinitis

• Plantar Fasciitis

• Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

• Osteoarthritis (OA)

• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

• Chondromalacia Patellae