Low-level laser therapy is a red or near infra-red light, applied from a low power laser specifically for therapeutic usage, where the light penetrates deep into the tissues. But is it suitable for chronic neck and back pain? Clinical Trials say Low level laser light therapy, with its proven anti-inflammatory ability, offers a simple non-invasive option for the reduction of chronic neck and shoulder pain.
Apart from it being used for back pain, it is also employed to treat musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, as well as Fibromyalgia. A low-level laser differs in that it operates at very low levels of power and unlike high-power lasers, it does not heat or damage human tissue.
It can help back pain by reducing pain and inflammation. You would probably need several treatments before you notice much pain relief and combined with exercise can be more beneficial than exercise alone. They call it the cutting edge of nonsurgical pain relief and tissue repair. Laser therapy uses light waves to stimulate healing in soft tissues. It has a similar effect to ultrasound.
It is a low-level cold laser and is pain-free; it works from the infra-red spectrum which penetrates up to 3cm into the muscles tendons and ligaments of the body. The laser light then stimulates the cell body within muscles, tendons or ligaments causing them to oxidize and increase healing at twice the normal rate.
It can improve healing, pain reduction, increase circulation and decrease swellings. It is not available on the NHS, but there are a number of clinics throughout the UK which perform this type of pain relief. There are a number of hospitals that do this type of treatment from the City Back Pain Clinic in London, the Orchard Clinic in Northants to The Secret Glowin Manchester, with lots more clinics throughout the UK.
Pain News Network wrote Positive results have been reported for a very broad range of conditions, including the following:
- Wound healing
- Back and neck pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Peripheral nerve injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Postherpetic neuralgia (lingering pain after shingles)
LLLT speeds up healing significantly in acute injuries and substantially reduces or eliminates chronic pain. Effects are long lasting. There are no negative effects.
Can long term use of opioids cause respiratory problems and is it time for a change?
The straight answer is ‘yes’, according to Desert Home Treatment who say that ‘ The long-term effects of opioids on the bowels are significant, but it is the damage they do to the respiratory system that is behind most of the overdoses and fatalities that are related to opioid use. As opioids depress the central nervous system, they directly interfere with the body’s breathing mechanisms.’
Science Daily pointed out that ‘ Opioids are highly effective at killing pain, but they can also kill people by depressing their breathing and at the same time sedating them so that it can be impossible for them to wake up from oxygen deprivation,” says Richard Horner, a professor in the departments of Medicine and Physiology.‘
Most pain killers opioids or otherwise can cause side effects but they tend to improve shortly after starting the treatment or following an intended dose increase. The most common side effect being constipation and itching but a respiratory problem is feared by many. They say it is mostly a concern in acute pain management where patients have not developed tolerance.
So should we be right to be sceptical about taking opioids for long term pain when they keep appearing in the news as sceptical ? Drug Abuse has written a great article on a ‘Need for Change’ with a list of 10 opiate alternatives. They include –
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Serotonin and Norephinephrine
Physical Therapy Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
It’s certainly something to ponder about.
This infographic from Inversion Table Review Blog has 10 very important habits that can cause back pain.
They are simple every day movements that can greatly affect your back.
Sitting for too long is the classic one and one I think young children are doing far too much of that nowadays.
Having poor posture. When we were young you were awarded posture belts for good posture at school. They don’t seem to do that now.
Skipping exercise. Again the younger generation seem to prefer to sit with their iPhones which seems to have become the norm now.
Overlooking an unhealthy diet. With so many ready meals available, it has also become the norm to just buy a meal to pop in your microwave or oven but until home cooking is taught from an early age I don’t think this will alter quickly.
Sleeping on an old mattress. This is a fairly new idea to alleviate back pain. We do change ours regularly but was something that you probably didn’t do years ago,
Wearing high heels. I’m afraid I was very guilty of that but the fashion now is easy to follow in low or flat heels when not out on the town.
Letting stress build up. This is something I have written about before and is definitely applicable for people in any type of pain.
Watching too much tv. I guess this applies to point three and skipping exercise as so many people just watch some of screen for hours on end.
Ignoring back pain. This is very very important as the longer you leave it before you seek advice or help the harder it will be to sort the problem out.
Prolotherapy addresses damaged ligaments (bands of connective tissue that help keep bones attached to each other) to relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Prolotherapy is an injection of a liquid solution into soft tissue like your ligaments and tendons. This then triggers local inflammation and the body’s natural healing response which repairs the weakened soft tissues and relieves pain.
Unlike conventional drugs, Prolotherapy is thought to address the underlying pain problem coming from aggravated nerves.
Once the areas that require treatment are found, the consultant will insert a thin needle with the solution into the inflamed area. You will probably experience mild pain, but it can be reduced if you need it by using a local aesthetic first.
A typical course of treatment is around 10-25 sessions.
Preliminary studies have found that pain responds well to this treatment. The American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine state that Prolotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for selected cases of lower back pain, and other chronic myofascial pain syndromes.
The British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine holds a list of Prolotherapy practitioners in the UK.
According to Wellness Pharmacy Patients occasionally experience a great deal of relief after their first injection; most, however, note improvement after 3-4 injections, with the duration of treatment then determined by the rate of progress. Studies suggest a success rate (“greater than 50% improvement in pain level”) of 80-90%. They also have 20 common questions and answers about Prolotherapy, here.