Why You Should Consider Laser Therapy for Pain Management
Nothing brings people in to see their doctor like pain. In fact, NCBI reports that pain is the main reason people decide to visit their physician, with a third of Americans suffering from chronic pain every year. Considering the societal devastation caused by the deadly opioid epidemic, many physicians treating patients in pain are seeking new ways like laser therapy as a treatment option.
What Is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy as a medical treatment using a concentrated beam of light for the purpose of cutting, burning or destroying tissue. LASER is an acronym that means light amplification by stimulated emission.
1. Has No Known Side Effects
Mayo Clinic reports that laser therapy is safe. One of the main reasons there has been so much research and hope for the future of laser therapy for the treatment of pain is because there are no discernible side effects, especially when compared to other treatments and pain medication. Of course, practically speaking, you can’t expose your eyes to laser beams for a long period of time without causing some problems.
2. Laser Therapy Offers Both Long-Term and Short-Term Relief
Research indicates that laser therapy offers both long-term and short-term relief. While studies continue, there is documented evidence of successful treatment of neurologic, rheumatologic and musculoskeletal pain conditions. Many patients suffering from debilitating pain returned to normal activities after laser therapy treatments.
Mayo Clinic tracked three different studies. The investigations resulted in 70% to 80% of patients reporting significant pain relief. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to suffer from pain understands the hope that these findings offer.
3. Laser therapy promotes a speedy healing process.
One area of research often associated with success as it relates to laser therapy is the healing process. NCBI reports that laser therapy promotes healing through improved collagen synthesis and angiogenesis. What this means is that laser therapy heals nerves, skin, bones, cartilage and tendons. Faster healing explains why surgeons are increasingly considering laser surgery treatments over more traditional surgery options.
4. Surgical lasers are more precise than surgical equipment traditionally used, reducing injuries and shortening the time in surgery.
Traditional surgery often leaves patients weak and in recovery for weeks. Since surgical lasers cut more precisely, the risk of injuries related to the actual surgery decreases significantly. This reality reduces the time in surgery which benefits both the hospital staff and the patient. It is common for laser surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis.
5. Laser therapy is considered cost-effective.
While there is still a lot of documented research that needs to be conducted before major insurance carriers approve the use of laser treatments, there are promising results reported about relative costs as compared to other treatments. Science Direct reports that the cost-effectiveness of low-level laser therapy was proven to be better than placebo treatments up to the first $5000 in mucositis cases on average. Oral mucositis relates to treatment costs of squamous cell carcinoma undergoing chemoradiation.
Pain management challenges have come to the forefront of politics and healthcare recently due to the opioid epidemic which has devastated the U.S. Essentially, opioids were over-prescribed for decades, turning many patients into addicts after surgery. In the aftermath, healthcare professionals are left to identify safer alternatives for pain management.
Laser therapy is one of those options, showing great promise. While it is still early in the process as judged by medical standards and conclusive research, there is plenty to celebrate. Physicians and patients have solid reasons to consider laser therapy.
The Future of Laser Treatments
Unfortunately, the insurance companies are still not paying for laser treatments yet. As studies continue to show the reduced costs and significant health benefits provided by laser treatments, insurance companies are expected to come around and start paying. Ultimately, cost-effective treatments will be approved.