Prescription opioids or narcotics, such as morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, are commonly prescribed to treat acute and chronic pain. Although opioids can reduce inflammation and pain, these medications can lead to various side effects, such as itching, insomnia, depression, confusion, vomiting, and above all, addiction.
Anyone who uses opioids for pain management is at risk of high dependency and addiction. Opioids or narcotics are responsible for hundreds of thousands of death in the U.S. When you take these medications for a long time, your brain signals the body to slow down endorphins production.
As a result, you need a stronger dose to trigger good feelings. In simple words, your body develops tolerance toward the current dosage and requires a higher dose to make you feel good or experience analgesic effects. In today’s article, we will tell how laser therapy cures opioid addiction for pain management. Read on!
What is Laser Therapy for Pain?
Laser therapy uses a source of photonic energy that penetrates deep inside the injured tissue. It involves stimulating biochemical mechanisms, such as the electron transport chain in cells to reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and speed up tissue healing.
The therapy uses wavelengths of a visible light spectrum between 400 to 760 nm. These photonic energies or wavelengths penetrate your skin and enter your soft or hard connective tissues to promote healing.
Laser Therapy vs. Opioids
Research shows that over 11 million people in the U.S misuse opioids for pain management, leading to more than 17,000 deaths every year. On the other hand, therapeutic laser therapy that involves the photobiomodulation process is a non-invasive and safe procedure to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
According to the American College of Physicians, there are several pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic treatment options for pain management. These include opioids, narcotics, epidural injections, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, and multidisciplinary rehabilitation. However, the stand-alone modality that researchers support for chronic pain is low-level laser therapy.
Instead of taking opioids, the medical community encourages people to undergo laser therapy for pain relief. A few laser therapy sessions can help treat back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, neck and shoulder pain, muscle strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, bursitis, and tendinitis.
Opioids are safe when you use them for a shorter period to manage acute pain. On the other hand, laser therapy leads to long-lasting results without causing adverse effects. The FDA approval and wide acceptance of laser therapy by the medical community can reduce opioid misuse in the U.S, leading to better pain management and decreased addiction.
Benefits of Laser Therapy
There are various benefits of laser therapy for pain management. These include:
- Analgesic effects
- No dependency
- No addiction
- Accelerated tissue healing
- Improved vascular activity
- Enhanced cellular metabolism
- Decreased fibrous tissue formation
- Immunoregulation for fast healing
Although opioids can reduce inflammation and pain by producing analgesic effects, these drugs are prone to tolerance. You will require a higher dose after some time due to the tolerance developed by your body.
On the other hand, laser therapy is a non-invasive, safe, effective, affordable, and long-term solution for pain management. Lastly, laser therapy does not cause any adverse effects or addiction.