Photobiomodulation (light therapy for pain) improves patients’ quality of life, with research showing that infrared therapy is effective in reducing chronic low back pain
According to the American Chiropractic Association, approximately 31 million Americans suffer from back pain (LBP). And back pain is the number one cause of disability around the world and one of the most common reasons many people miss their jobs. And LBP doesn’t discriminate – people of all ages, from teenagers to the elderly, suffer from it, with the combination of chiropractic and light therapy providing pain relief.
While many people recover from the cause of the pain, it turns into a chronic condition for others, and the financial impact of LBP is staggering – at least $ 50 billion in health care bills a year. And that number soars to $ 100 billion when you factor in lost wages and productivity drops. That’s a lot of aching bodies looking for relief on your adjustment table.
Chiropractors are prime candidates for back pain. While healing others, it can be difficult for the body to make adjustments day in and day out. We’ll look at chronic pain and its effects on the lower back. For a patient or for yourself, learn how the combination of photobiomodulation, also known as low-level light therapy, can help you extend your career as a chiropractor and help your patients by extending the benefits of their treatment .
Think of everything you do to your body, not just to adjust, but just to prepare for the arrival of your patient. Aside from your hands, your back is probably the most important tool that you will use to effectively work on your patients and give them the results you expect. But if you’re standing on your side with a sprain, strain, or worse, a herniated disc, you might expect weeks or months of recovery and possibly surgery. And you certainly won’t see any patients.
Prevention is important
Keeping your back and core healthy will be critical to your ability to continue working on patients. You know the anatomy of the body and understand the stress and strain on your back when working on patients as you are treating the same problems with your patients.
Prevention is the key to longevity. Regular exercise and stretching these muscles will help, but once the inflammation sets in, you’re in the middle of the fight. With just 20 minutes of LED light therapy for pain, you can keep inflammation at bay, and these stretches and exercises will help keep your back strong and healthy.
Remember that low-level light or LED therapy uses the distribution of light and frequencies to accelerate therapeutic chemical processes in the cells of the human body that ultimately aid the body’s ability to promote healing and pain relief . In contrast to the highly focused light from a laser, low-level light therapy for pain uses LED diodes with the most commonly used wavelengths of red and near infrared light to deliver diffuse light over a larger area of the body. As this light spreads through the lower back muscles, blood flow increases. As blood flow increases, more nutrient-rich blood is delivered to nerves, muscles, joints, and tissues. When blood flow and circulation are increased, there is a natural reduction in pain and inflammation, allowing the body’s natural healing processes to take their course.
All you need to do is place a flexible medical grade LED pad with powerful multiple infrared and visible red diodes right on your lower back, select your preprogrammed setting, and relax for 20 minutes while the light does all the work. As the light penetrates your tissues, increasing blood flow helps expand the microscopic vasculature as new capillaries form and replace damaged ones.
These new capillaries transport nutrients and oxygen in addition to removing waste products. Increasing your own circulation and reducing inflammation will help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of injury so that you can continue working on the patient.
Help hurting patients
Low back pain is an incredibly common complaint and you probably spend a lot of time discussing this problem with your patients.
As a chiropractor, you know that two main muscles are usually associated with back pain: the quadratus lumborum and the gluteus muscle. When these muscles are tight or tense, especially to the point where blood flow is obstructed, you will be doing some serious work to loosen things up and get the necessary blood flow back into those areas to relieve the pain. However, if your patient has a job that requires a lot of time sitting or lifting, they may find themselves back on your table if they are unable to relax the muscles and keep inflammation to a minimum.
If your patient uses low-level light therapy before your treatment session, these blood vessels can be opened, reducing inflammation, before treatment begins. If you restore that blood flow and then work on these muscles, you can save your own back while you work on yours. It also extends the benefits of the great customizations you’ve provided your patient – and when they get results on your table, they’ll be back.
A 2006 study in the journal Pain Research and Management found that the use of infrared light therapy for pain was effective in reducing chronic low back pain without the adverse side effects of stimulatory processes at the cellular level that affect cell repair mechanisms, the vasculature, and the lymphatic system. “2
The same study also reported: “Recent and increasing quality studies have shown the effectiveness of LLLT in the treatment of multiple musculoskeletal pain syndromes such as neck or lower back pain, tendinopathies (especially the Achilles tendon) and epicondylopathies, inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or degenerative arthritis large and small joints. In addition, there is recent evidence that LLLT has a preventive effect and can increase muscle strength and accelerate muscle regeneration. “
Science confirms low-level light therapy for pain as a safe, inexpensive, and non-invasive option for your patients as well as for your own preventive care.
DAVID CHRISTENSON is the founder and CEO of Neurocare Pro, which serves medical practices across North America. He regularly advises healthcare professionals on advanced modalities of photobiomodulation with an emphasis on business development for medical practices. He speaks nationally and internationally about the many uses of PBM light therapy, highlighting research in the areas of brain health, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and chronic pain relief. He has also been an author on PBM light therapy in various health publications and can be reached at [email protected]
- Pain Res Manag. 2006 autumn; 11 (3): 193-296. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2539004/)
- 2. Z-Rheumatol. 2017 Nov .; 76 (9): 806-812. Doi: 10.1007 / s00393-017-0309-1. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28466181)