A 2015 study of low back pain published in Arthritis Research and Therapy evaluated 221 randomized controlled trials in which photobiomodulation (PBM) was compared to placebo for sufferers of low back pain. The study found seven trials — comprising 394 patients altogether — that met their criteria for inclusion in the analysis. Five of those seven trials (i.e., more than 70%!) found that PBM was significantly better than placebo in alleviating low back pain.
The authors were unable to explain how PBM achieves this small miracle, but they hypothesized five mechanisms by which PBM might alleviate low back pain:
- it increases the internal production of opioid neurotransmitters
- it raises the pain threshold and enhances blood circulation
- it causes the cellular mitochondria to increase their oxygen consumption
- it increases the production of anti-inflammatory proteins
- it increases the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within cells.
Pain Relief Anywhere in the Body
Did you notice something interesting about this list? Yes, each of these mechanisms is relevant to pain, not just in your lower back, but anywhere on your body.
Researchers are trained to restrict the size of their conclusions. If they discover a treatment that cures a medical condition in rats, for example, they will only say they have discovered a treatment that cures a medical condition in rats. Applicability to human beings will require “more study.” But I think it is fairly safe to say that PBM is useful in managing many kinds of human pain. In fact, we have clients who come to us regularly for PBM to manage pain. Researchers would dismiss this as “anecdotal” evidence.
If you think photobiomodulation could be useful in managing your own pain, you must conduct “more study” on your own. Fortunately, that’s easy to do. PBM won’t hurt you, and it doesn’t even take very long.
Should you get full-body PBM for your pain? You might, but if your pain is in a small, focused area of your body (e.g., neck, shoulder, knee), you might want to try the focused PBM known as Celluma.
Celluma in Action
Here’s how it works. While you relax in a private room with low ambient lighting and soft music, your Peak recovery technician will check to make sure the area of your pain is free of makeup, clothing, or anything else that may deflect light. Then the recovery technician will place the Celluma as closely as possible to the target area and will make sure you are in a comfortable position, usually reclining or semi-reclining. The device then shines on your pain for 30 minutes. It may be slightly warm, but there is no discomfort. Many clients fall asleep during the session.
The photons from the Celluma are absorbed by your cells, causing them to boost ATP production and accelerating healing. The process may also produce some of the other pain relief mechanisms listed at the beginning of this post. In any case, Celluma is FDA-cleared, and dozens of clinical studies and thousands of applications have shown it is non-toxic, non-invasive, safe, and painless. It requires no recovery time.
It’s Your Pain, You Can Manage It
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes the self-management approach to chronic pain: “In self-management programs, the individual patient becomes an active participant in his or her pain treatment — engaging in problem-solving, pacing, decision-making, and taking actions to manage their pain.” Celluma may be one of the actions you can take. Try it by booking a session at Peak Recovery & Health Center today.