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  • Writer's pictureCornerstonePT

Light Therapy For Your Pain

Do you suffer from pain or neuropathy? If you answered yes, you may be interested in learning how FDA approved low-level light therapy can help your pain and neuropathy. Decades of research has gone into light therapy- it has been found that certain wavelengths of light within the red, blue, and infrared bands are valuable to our bodies tissues. In fact, light therapy has been FDA

approved for over twenty years to fight pain and increase circulation.

Light therapy sessions are completely non-invasive and last for twenty minutes. Clients describe it feeling like a gentle warming sensation wherever the pads are placed. The effect of the light isn't just the warmth it produces, in fact, the light energy from the pads dilates the blood vessels locally which causes an increase in circulation, this combined with the warmth often alleviates the clients pain. Physiologically, the infrared aspects of light therapy triggers the body to release nitric oxide from hemoglobin and endothelial cells in the part of the body being treated. What you may not know is nitric oxide serves as a signaling molecule which allows the relaxation of smooth muscle cells located in arteries, veins and lymph vessels. The release of nitric oxide essentially opens up these areas in order to allow for increased circulation and thus aid in decreasing pain. The release of nitric oxide has also been linked to angiogenesis or growing of more blood supply as well as being linked to improvement in nerve conduction.

So what is the difference between lasers versus low-level light? Both contain diodes (which is a small light with two wires connected to a filament inside), generally made from silicon with certain minerals added in order to produce the various colors. In lasers, the diode is housed in a well-shaped area with a reflective lining that will most generally send only one wavelight of light. The result of this system is a narrow, concentrated beam of light that scatters when it hits the skin. Most low level (cold) lasers have a total output of about 100mw. In low-level light therapy systems such as those used in therapy clinics, there are dozens of diodes spread over the pads and the output is over 17,000mw. This increase in power generally translates to increased nitric oxide release and shorter treatment times. Another valuable difference between the two is the fact that low level (cold) lasers are recommended to be used only under medical supervision in a clinic. Low-level light therapy however can be trialed in the clinic and if it is a key part of your success in fighting neuropathy, acute or chronic pain from inflammation or other pathologies you can purchase a unit to use at home.

If you would like to learn more about low-level light therapy please visit our website to learn about the light therapy offered at our Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy clinic.

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