WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Any pain lasting more than twelve weeks is often defined as chronic pain. Acute pain on the other hand is a normal, if unpleasant sensation. It’s an alarm mechanism that alerts our body to possible injury. Chronic pain is persistent, often lasting for months or even years.
Arthritis for instance, causes long term inflammation and damage to the joints, and it may hurt as long as the inflammation lasts. This pain has become chronic because the underlying problem does not heal.
Levels of chronic pain can range from mild and inconvenient, to completely excruciating.
Pain not only affects individuals, whole families are often involved. The emotional toll on the chronic pain sufferer will inevitably spill over into the psyche of those close to them.
The emotional turmoil, and the resulting negative emotions triggered by pain, can actually heighten the perception of pain . Stress, fatigue, anxiety an depression are all common negative feelings associated with the onset of long term pain symptoms.
The holistic approach to chronic pain often involves addressing the psychological as well as physical aspects of the condition.
Astonishingly the AAPM ( American Academy of Pain Medicine) estimates that 100 million Americans are currently suffering from some for of chronic pain
In fact pain has become a universal disorder, and a very costly one too. It is a challenge for both the families, and the health care providers who support the person suffering the physical as well as the emotional consequences of pain.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT
Within the general category of medications, there are numerous options for the treatment of chronic pain. Both oral and topical therapies are the most common treatment strategies.
Oral medications might include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and opioids. Topical therapies applied to the skin as an ointment, cream or by patch that is applied to the skin.
Fortunately there are many strategies that assist pain management that do not involve medications.
Examples of alternative, but common modalities are:
- Transcutaneous Electro Nerve Stimulator (TENS)
- Radio-frequency Ablation (RFA)
- Red and Infrared Light Therapy
PAIN MANAGEMENT USING LIGHT THERAPY
Light therapy has become an important component of pain management and rehabilitation.
Clinicians often find it to be one of their most rewarding modalities, because the results can sometimes be visible, and often immediate The effects can provide great improvement in quality of patient life.
The bio-mechanisms of light therapy help to reduce pain in several ways. One study found the anti-inflammatory effect of light therapy to be very similar to the pharmacological treatment of pain. The non-intrusive option of light therapy, is a much used alternative to prescription drugs. Long-term OTC or prescription medication users have the obvious potential for unpleasant or even serious adverse effects.
By reducing oxidative stress and increasing the release of endorphins light therapy can help control pain. It is also cited to improve blood vessel formation, and promote collagen synthesis and skeletal repair.
LIGHT THERAPY CONTROLING PAIN.
A randomised controlled trial showed that certain light frequencies were able to suppress the activity of nociceptors. These are the sensory receptors that send the signals that cause our perception of pain. The suppression of nociceptor activity, and reduction of pain signalling results in relief of acute and chronic pain.
There are a multitude of high-quality peer-reviewed research trial and, systematic reviews. They have analysed and supported the effectiveness of light treatment in very many applications.
Science has now demonstrated the biological effects of light, and study has now moved on to determining the best and most efficient parameters to treat different pathologies.
Even though evidence is overwhelming, the use of therapeutic light treatment is still considered controversial by some. One reasons for this could probably be because the bio-mechanic principles are as yet not fully understood.
Given the huge number of variable parameters involved in light therapy, a comprehensive study varying all the individual parameters one by one has essentially remained elusive.
For more information on Infrared Treatment for Pain visit our Complete Guide >>>
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Our Pain Management Device Reviews
From our research the LightStim for Pain stands out as the best all round combination device for arthritis treatment . It offers a range of scientifically tested therapeutic red and infrared wavelengths, It is the only device that offers two different red light wavelengths, and two infrared. This gives the user a wider light treatment envelope to insure a better outcome.
The DPL Flex offers single red and infrared wave lengths, but it allows hand free treatment if you find that important. It is a strap on device, whereas the Lightstim is a hand held corded device. It’s all a matter of how you think they would fit into your lifestyle.