As you look for a chiropractor to help you relieve back, neck or shoulder pain, consider asking the clinics you call whether they offer photobiomodulation, a type of laser therapy. You probably know about the use of lasers for vision correction, hair removal, and certain surgical procedures. Photobiomodulation has the ability to relieve pain through the laser's actions on the cells.
What Photobiomodulation in Chiropractic Care Involves
The chiropractor uses a device that sends red and infrared light into injured soft tissues. The doctor may place the device against the skin or very close to it. Each individual treatment does not take much time. You might first receive a spinal adjustment and then 5, 10, or 15 minutes of photobiomodulation therapy.
How Photobiomodulation Works
Essentially, the laser light boosts metabolic activity in the cells, which widens blood vessels and increases circulation. This improves the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the soft tissues, and makes the drainage of waste materials more effective. The activity also boosts adenosine phosphate (ATP) production; ATP stores energy to be used by cells. In addition, laser therapy enhances the activity of immune system cells in the area.
These effects can
- stop muscle spasms
- reduce inflammation and swelling
- regenerate damaged tissue
- prevent scar tissue development
All this activity leads to reduced pain and faster healing. You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your back, neck, or shoulder pain dissipates when receiving laser therapy.
A review of research that was published in 2010 found the treatment helpful for relieving both acute and chronic neck pain. People who had been dealing with chronic pain were still experiencing good results up to 22 weeks after they completed their therapy sessions.
A single research study that was published in 2003 found laser therapy effective for treating chronic low back pain.
Another review of studies that appeared in 2006 found laser therapy helpful for mild and moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. The researchers found five studies in which photobiomodulation was effective for relieving pain and two studies in which it wasn't. The dosage was higher in the research with positive results, and there was an 84 percent average success rate.
What You Can Do Now
Contact chiropractors like Chiropractor Plus in your area and express your interest in laser therapy. Give the strategy a try during a few sessions and determine how well it works for resolving your musculoskeletal pain. You're likely to experience noticeable results from your very first session.