If you have fibromyalgia, you know that managing pain can be an ongoing and difficult process. The most common methods of pain management for the disease involve medications that may help but often have side effects of their own.
There is, though, a new noninvasive treatment called cold laser therapy that doesn't involve medication.
What is Cold Laser Therapy?
Low level laser therapy—commonly known as cold laser therapy—is the use of of low-powered lasers to stimulate and encourage cells to function.
There are essentially two ways that cold lasers are used for pain management. The first is similar to acupuncture, with the lasers specifically directed at small pressure points that are traditionally used in acupuncture treatment. The second technique involves flooding the affected area with infrared or red light using the handheld device in order to stimulate cell growth and energy absorption.
Such laser treatment is generally believed to reduce inflammation, which causes chronic pain in many fibromyalgia sufferers. It also increases production of beta-endorphins that have natural analgesic effects. And there's some indication that it may even speed cell healing through the stimulation of adeno-triphosphate, an energy booster inside the cell itself.
Does It Work?
There hasn't been a lot of research into the relatively new field of cold laser treatment, but there are some promising signs. Double-blind, controlled studies involving chronic pain have up to four times as much pain relief as with placebo over the short and medium terms. There have been few side effects noted.
Is it Safe?
No serious side effects have been reported after use of cold lasers. Some may report flare-ups of old injuries to the areas being treated, but these have been mild and temporary. The eyes should always be protected during therapy sessions, as with any use of lasers.
There is too little research yet to determine effects on pregnant women or unborn babies, so the treatment is not recommended if you're expecting. Because it's a laser, it should also never be used over cancerous melanomas or carcinomas or around spots suspected to be such skin cancers. And those with suppressed immune systems (such as lupus patients) may not want to be treated until their immune systems are healthier.
The Bottom Line
For fibromyalgia patients who don't want to take large amounts of pain-management drugs or who have tried other treatments, cold laser treatment is a new option with few downsides. Talk to a professional like Pro-Active Chiropractic for more information.