A new Australian study appearing in the journal Lancet shows that using cold laser therapy to treat chronic neck pain can be very effective.
Low-level laser therapy, also knows as LLLT involves using a laser's light -- but not its fiercely concentrated heat -- to stimulate tissue repair and ease pain.
Lead researcher Roberta Chow of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Australia's University of Sydney carried out an overview of 16 randomised trials that put this increasingly popular procedure to the test.
820 patients were enrolled in the trials and divided into two groups – 1) that received either the therapy 2) one that received a dummy treatment.
In five trials, patients given LLLT were around four times likelier to have reduced pain compared with a placebo, the paper found.
In the 11 other trials, for which there was a detailed analysis of pain symptoms, LLLT patients reported reductions of chronic pain by around 20 points on a scale of 100 points. The pain reduction continued for up to 22 weeks.
LLLT compares favourably with other drugs and other remedies for effectiveness and its side-effects are mild, says the study. The researchers further suggested that low level laser therapy be used in combination with an exercise program for neck pain as well.
Why LLLT works, though, is unclear. The authors of this study have suggested it could interfere with pathways of inflammation, muscle tiredness and the transmission of pain signals along nerves.
At the Neck pain support blog, I always trying to find treatments for neck pain that are natural, non invasive – ones that will benefit the patients in the best way. Sure, it is easy to get a prescription from the Dr, or a steroid injection- but this is not in the best interest of the patient, as there can be side effects. Treatments like chiropractic, acupuncture, traction, yoga, neck stretches, non surgical spinal decompression and cold laser therapy can help one to treat chronic neck pain. I urge all my readers to try all non surgical, and non invasive treatments before considering other treatments. Your body will thank you for that.
**Side Note*** Practitioners have been using low level cold laser therapy to treat other conditions as well such as
- lower back pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- knee pain
Source: Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials, November 2009
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