Before we look into chronic pain management, let’s have a look at what is chronic pain? Chronic pain is different from acute pain. Acute pain lasts for a few days while chronic pain lasts for weeks, months or years in severe conditions after injury. Chronic pain is usually defined by the doctors as a type of pain that lasts for 4-6 months. Chronic pain is felt through a series of nerve impulses carried to the nervous system. Once you are injured, the chronic pain activates the pain receptors which sends electrical signals to the brain leading to painful sensation.
In acute painful conditions, the pain sensation usually stops once it is repaired and the body tries to heal it. However, in chronic pain conditions, the pain nerve signals keep firing even when the injury is healed.
The most common conditions which result in chronic pain include, past surgeries or injuries, back issues, migraines or severe headaches, nerve injury, infections, arthritis, cancer, Lyme disease, endometriosis, fibromyalgia or muscle pain. The symptoms felt during chronic pain include a dull ache, burning, shooting, throbbing, squeezing, soreness, stiffness, stinging, mood swings, lethargic, trouble sleeping and many others.
MORE ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT
Chronic pain management is essential to be treated as it affects your daily routine and prevents you from performing daily activities. It hurts your self-esteem, causes you to be depressed and frustrated. So, let’s dive in and have a look at how one can receive chronic pain management?
Visit a pain specialist or a primary care doctor who can help you out with pain-relieving treatment. First, the healthcare practitioner will ask you the following questions for complete diagnosis: when did you start feeling pain? Where does it hurt? What is the pain like? How severe is the pain threshold? What initiates the pain and suppresses it? Which treatment options did you utilize to relieve it?
After the history taking, some imaging tests are performed to evaluate the cause of pain such as CT scan, MRI or X-ray.
Some therapeutic options for chronic pain management include:
- Medicines- this includes the use of medicines like antidepressants, NSAIDS, anti-seizure drugs or muscle relaxants.
- Relaxation therapy- this includes meditation or deep breathing techniques.
- Acupuncture- this therapy enhances the release of chemicals i.e. endorphins which helps in blocking pain.
- Physical therapy- this includes the cold or hot stimuli over the painful part that hurts, stretching exercises, massage and TENS i.e. transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation.
- Surgical procedure- this is performed to treat the painful condition.
- Counseling therapy- this therapy involves the one-on-one session with the patient where he discusses the painful sensations, depression, anxiety, and other related troubles.
- Biofeedback- this therapy helps you to gain control over the involuntary actions of the body and helps in treating conditions like migraine, incontinence, chronic painful conditions, and others.
- Lifestyle changes- the patient is advised to eat healthy foods, perform exercises like walking and sleep well at night to avoid any painful conditions.
- Low-level laser therapy- this therapy is the latest and a viable option that helps in treating a wide range of medical conditions without any invasive procedure.
HOW CHRONIC PAIN CAN BE TREATED WITH LOW-LEVEL LASER THERAPY?
So, let’s dive in and find out how chronic pain can be managed with this latest technology. BioFlex lasers have come up with the cold laser technology i.e. non-invasive and offer the patient’s immediate relief through a few sessions of therapy. Laser therapy can treat various conditions ranging from lower back pain to fibromyalgia.
Laser therapy poses no side effects and allows the patients to return to their normal living after a few sessions. It just poses a smooth, warm tingling sensation without any major surgical procedure. The use of laser therapy reduces the amount of chronic inflammation within the body which occurs in response to the injury. Individuals suffering from chronic inflammation are at a higher risk to suffer from stroke, diabetes, heart disorders, along with other severe medical conditions. It is therefore recommended to get rid of chronic pain as soon as possible.
So, how is laser therapy effective in treating chronic pain? Laser therapy is useful in promoting cell regeneration, tissue repair and enhances the healing process within the body. It is highly effective in treating chronic conditions which cause pain like back pain, knee pain, arthritis, muscle pain or others. Therapeutic BioFlex lasers deeply penetrate within the skin and work over the cellular level targeting the area of chronic pain. Laser therapy results in faster wound healing with reduced scar formation once the surgery is performed. It enhances the functioning of damaged nerves which results in chronic pain sensation. The damaged nerves are the cause of constant firing of impulses that results in pain. Once the lasers are used it stops sending abnormal impulses which cause pain. The use of lasers improves the quality of life of an individual in a safe, soothing and non-invasive way.
MECHANISM OF ACTION FOR LOW-LEVEL LASER THERAPY TO TREAT CHRONIC PAIN:
The mode of action for LLT is not well-understood but different studies indicate the following: it results in increased nociceptive threshold which results in nerve blockage by reducing the transmission of pain impulses through A and C nerve fibers. The use of lasers enhances the production of endorphins which reduces the painful sensation. LLT offers anti-inflammatory effects by reducing the number of prostaglandins and inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2. It also enhances the levels of Nitric oxide which acts as a vasodilator that in turn results in increased blood flow. This, in turn, results in improved healing and repair of the damaged tissues. The use of LLT in combination with other modes of therapy proves to be highly effective for managing chronic pain symptoms.
Chronic pain management is one of the major challenges faced by healthcare practitioners to treat. It cannot be completely diminished through pharmacological or non-pharmacological measures. The sensation of pain can only be reduced while offering maximum functions with improved quality of life to the individual with a different mode of treatment, especially low-level laser therapy.