In this blog I will address the question “can laser therapy help neuropathy?”, I will also define the term ‘neuropathy’, and drive into what laser therapy is, and how it might help you and your current condition. You may have heard of laser therapy for hair removal, but it is also used by chiropractors and physiotherapists to help treat a wide of range conditions, from chronic low-back and neck pain, to sports injuries, joint sprains and muscle strains.
Laser therapy has gained popularity in recent years, as people look for alternatives to medication and surgical intervention for painful conditions. Laser therapy being drug-free and non-surgical, researchers began conducting and producing more and more research on its potential uses and benefits for people suffering from neuropathic conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy and sciatica, even dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a term used to describe any condition is which a nerve or the nervous system (the brain, mid-brain, or spinal cord) is involved. ‘Neuro’ meaning nerve, neuron or neurological and ‘-pathy’ meaning ‘disease’ or ‘suffering’. Neuropathies include but or not limited to, carpal tunnel sydrome, sciatica or sciatica nerve pain, trapped or pinched nerves, diabetic neuropathy, brachial plexus injuries, drop-foot, or post-operative neuropathy.
The severity varies depending on the degree of nerve damage or compression. A full rupture or tear of a nerve results in complete paralysis of the effected area. However, partial compression, may result in pain or numbess, in the case of a herniated disc compressing a spinal nerve in the neck or low-back causing nerve pain and weakness in the arm or leg.
Symptoms Of Neuropathy
- Sharp shooting pain.
- A dull ache.
- Alternations in sensation.
- Numbness and tingling.
- Muscle weakness or paralysis.
Can Laser Therapy Help Neuropathy?
Yes, laser therapy can help relief bothersome symptoms that accompany neuropathies, such as a sharp shooting pain, a constant dull ache, numbness and tingling, or weakness.
How Does Laser Therapy Work To Help Neuropathy?
The principle behind how laser therapy works is quite simple. The term researchers use to describe the principle effect of laser therapy is ‘photobiomodulation‘, ‘photo’ meaning ‘light’, ‘bio’ meaning natural or biological, and ‘modulation’ meaning change or adaptation. In short, energy in the form of light stimulates a biological or natural adaptation in the body, at the targeted area.
The light energy causes an increase in oxygen and nutrient rich blood-flow, an increase in cellular communication and activation, inhibits cellular degeneration, and increases cellular energy or ATP production. This reduces inflammation and relieves nerve pain, with the long-term effect being the formation of new, healthy collagen fibres, restoring the tissues natural integrity, restoring its tensile strength, elasticity or conductivity, in the case of nerve involvement.
The Effects And Benefits Of Laser Therapy
- Reduces pain and inflammation.
- Reduces swelling.
- Reduces bruising and discolouration.
- Increases cellular ATP production.
- Increases cellular regeneration.
- Stimulates the production of new, healthy collagen fibres.
- Stimulates recovery of damaged tissues such as, muscles, tendons, and nerves.
- Restores the natural integrity and quality of damaged tissues.
- Restores tensile strength of tissues, such as tendons.
- Restores elasticity of tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and nerves.
In the case of neuropathies, conditions when the nerves is damaged or compressed, laser therapy can help relief symptoms and rebuild the damaged tissue on a cellular level.
Is Laser Therapy Safe?
This a important question is discuss, as with anything there are potential hazards to be aware. Laser therapy is a very safe treatment option, in the right hands, meaning in the competent hands of a trained professional. Lasers can be harmful to the eyes and to a lesser extent, the skin, if misused laser therapy can burn the skin and cause permanent damage to the eyes. Therefore, it is important to wear protective eye wear and seek out a trained professional, a chiropractic, physiotherapist or laser therapy technician.
Is Laser Therapy Painful?
Laser therapy is not painful, and many clients find the warmth of the laser soothing and relaxing.
How Many Laser Therapy Sessions Will I need?
There are a number of factors that influence the correct dosage of laser therapy. As a general rule of thumb, in the clinic, we recommend 5-12 sessions of laser therapy, each session lasting 10-15 minutes, 2-3 days apart. However, some clients may need 12-15 sessions if the treatment area is quite large and the degree of damage is quite severe. The number of sessions also depends on the kind of laser device being used and the power it can emit.
A study published in 2020, stated that the exact dosage of therapeutic laser therapy is still uncertain. The Laser Therapy Institute mentioned a review that used varying degrees of power and dosage, and yet they still found positive results, such as, long-term pain relief for the participants.
In conclusion, the dosage of laser therapy is complex and very broad. However, is it known that the degree of energy applied has be to high enough for the desired effect. If it is too low, it will not stimulate the desired positive adaptation.
Laser therapy is an effective therapy for relieving nerve pain and discomfort that accompanies neuropathies, but also for restoring long-term function and improving quality of life. It works by emitting high-powered light that stimulates cellular activity, reducing inflammation and regenerating healthy cells. If you have any other questions that I missed in this blog, do not hesitate to contact me [email protected], and mention you came from this article and will get back to you as quickly as possible.