Laser Therapy for Neck Pain
Neck pain is the second most commonly reported type of pain at the doctor’s office. At any given time, approximately 10% of the entire population has neck pain, and 14% of adults have recurrent or chronic neck pain. With treatments such as analgesics, physical therapy, and massage producing moderate to unsatisfactory results, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can bring profound relief to both acute and chronic neck pain patients.
There are many different causes of neck pain such as whiplash, trauma, osteoarthritis (including stenosis and spondylosis), rheumatoid arthritis, stress, prolonged damaging postures, muscle strain, disc herniation, torticollis, and fibromyalgia. All of these conditions have one thing in common: inflammation and damaged cells. Laser therapy treatment helps reduce pain and inflammation while enhancing tissue healing in soft tissue cells, muscle cells, and even ligaments and bones. It increases oxygenation of tissues and allows injured or damaged cells to absorb photons of light, which speeding up the healing process at the cellular level. The anti-inflammatory effects of LLLT are directly comparable with those of pharmacological agents such as celecoxib, meloxicam, diclofenac, and dexamethasone.
One of the major targets for treating neck pain with laser therapy is the stellate ganglion, the main switching station for the sympathetic nervous system in the neck. The stellate ganglion controls the blood flow and certain pain sensors in the face, neck, arm, hand and upper chest.
Low-level laser therapy has been shown to reduce pain by blocking painful stimuli by sensory neurons (antinociceptive effect), reduces inflammation by removing inflammatory markers, and reduces muscle spasm. It also treats swelling around nerve roots by improving lymphatic flow and stimulates tissue repair and wound healing by initiating fibroblast activity, increasing collagen production, and angiogenesis. LLLT also stimulates the central nervous system by increasing serotonin and endorphin levels. All of these factors have a systemic effect, which makes lasers unique as a therapy because of its multiplicity of effects that operate simultaneously. Effects of LLLT can last from days to weeks after a treatment!
A study by Roberta Chow published in the Lancet concluded that “...LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.” This study included 90 subjects who suffered from acute or chronic neck pain for a mean duration of 90 months, with an average of a 6/10 pain level. The effects of the laser lasted from 12 weeks to 6 months after a course of treatment.
Call Acubalance at 604-678-8600 to book a free 15 minute Q&A to see if laser therapy & acupuncture is a right for you.