December 08, 2023

Photobiomodulation And Pain Management

Chronic pain is defined as pain persisting longer than 3 months, and based on Pain Canada, 8, 000,000 people in Canada live with chronic pain. Dr. Charmagne Sia Lu explains:

Chronic pain affects the mental and physical health of those experiencing it and can inhibit their ability to be active in their lives – this includes enjoying time with family and friends, working, and their quality of life.

Based on a study done in 2011, done by Dr. Schopflocher, et al; Alberta had the second-highest prevalence of chronic pain in Canada in 2007 with 20.6% reporting persistent pain, while British Columbia reported 21.8%. This was a while ago, and it would be reasonable to assume that this number has increased since. 35.5% of surveyors experiencing pain reported lower back pain, making it the most common area of pain, followed by upper back with 15.4% and knee with 14.9%. Of those surveyed, 22.5% reported that they have been experiencing chronic pain for 20+ years with their last pain flare-up being at least a 5/10 (10 = worst), and 40% of the surveyors had experienced pain for 2-10 years.

Unfortunately, the most common prescription for pain is opioid drugs – which are highly addictive and have contributed to the opioid crisis. As a result, alternatives are being sought after as a way to decrease pain without causing addiction. Photobiomodulation (PBM) is one of these therapies that are of interest.

Photobiomodulation has many different mechanisms of action that can lead to a decrease in pain, and it is a very safe therapy, with few side effects. This makes PBM a very promising therapy to use for pain management. It is able to create more ATP energy in the cells by interacting with cytochrome C oxidase in the mitochondria increasing membrane potential. It also reduces swelling and inflammation, increases circulation, increases nerve regeneration, increases collagen and cartilage production and increases bone formation. This last one is particularly helpful with fractures, while the other is extremely helpful for healing in general.

In acute cases, the sooner and more regularly you can come for PBM, the better it is for outcomes. That being said, it can help with chronic pain or difficulty healing as well, it is common for more chronic concerns to take longer to heal than the typical 5-10 treatments. Treatment time depends on the area being treated, with most areas requiring between 30 or 45 minutes.

If you want to book an appointment for PBM, book with Dr. Charmagne today.

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