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Laser Therapy and Nerve Damage

nerve damage laser therapy St. John's

We talk a lot about Bioflex Laser Therapy and its many benefits. For many conditions, laser therapy can help speed your healing process through nerve damage repair. But what does all that mean?

Having a nerve injury can mean several things, including effects on motor nerves that enable movement, and sensory nerves which allow us to feel touch and pain.

There are three main categories of nerve injury

  • Stretch: when a nerve’s limit is exceeded, it can tear apart and cause mild to severe nerve damage;
  • Crush: crush injuries occur from an acute traumatic compression of the nerve from a blunt object that does not result in a complete cut of the nerve;
  • Partial to complete disruption: this is a more severe nerve injury that can have life-lasting effects even when treated.

Bioflex Laser accelerates recovery from nerve injury, especially stretched and crushed injury, by improving cell metabolism, clearing out injured and dead cells, reducing scar formation and increasing the development of new nerve cells. It also provides pain relief when it is absorbed by the nerves which transmit pain, providing relief for an average 48 hours at a time. This is particularly beneficial for those who can’t tolerate, or prefer not to take, prescription pain medication.

While not every nerve problem can be helped with laser therapy, many can. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, sciatica, and even diabetic neuropathy are just a few examples of conditions laser therapy can aid. If you’re suffering from mild to moderate nerve damage, give us a call to see if Bioflex Laser Therapy can help speed your healing.

Photomodulation is a relatively new modality offered for pain relief, scar management and accelerated healing; and available in St John’s, NL in only a few health clinics. It is more commonly referred to as ‘low intensity laser’ or just ‘laser’. Because it is relatively unknown, we spend a lot of time educating clients and colleagues about what’s reasonable to expect from it. A recent question from a client gave me pause; he was suffering from sciatica, and wanted to know if laser could work on nerve pain.

His question gave me pause, because I thought we were clear when we explained that laser worked on all tissue types. He had used laser before, following a knee sprain. He knew it worked, yet needed further assurance for nerve injury and pain. When I thought about it, I understood his question. Nerve pain is often reported to be the worst pain a person can experience; sometimes overwhelming and certainly in a category beyond the pain caused by other tissue injury. With pain that bad, could laser possibly be effective?

The short answer is, yes, it really is. It provides pain relief and accelerates healing; and there’s a lot of science and published clinical research to back this up. But that’s not really what our client wanted to hear. His doctor had never heard of laser, and was skeptical about its usefulness. Neither had most of his friends…but they had lots of suggestions… Why should he try laser for relief of nerve pain?

Beyond the science and the skepticism, it really comes down to personal beliefs and past experiences. Our client had plans to travel and enjoy cabin life; and it was important to him to retain his mobility and not have to rely on pain medications to function. He was proactive regarding his health. He regularly saw both a chiropractor and a massage therapist; and he was a regular at the gym. He wanted another choice.

Photobiomodulation or laser works because it stimulates a natural body process. It is akin to sunbathing or suntanning. When we suntan, our skin absorbs the ultraviolet rays to tan skin. In a similar process, injured or diseased cells in our body absorb red and infrared energy to stimulate production of ATP (cell fuel) and re-energize these cells. Photobiomodulation stimulates and accelerates natural healing. Natural healing is a process, ranging in time from just weeks for a muscle injury to months for some nerve injuries. Similarly, healing times are variable when accelerated by laser. The acceleration factor is generally considered to be around 40% faster than normal healing times. Faster healing means less time in pain and less risk of painful scarring and recurrence. Photobiomodulation also directly targets pain pathways and can provide a temporary analgesia, lasting up to 48 hours, with subsequent applications associated with longer periods of pain relief. It is non-invasive and generally safe, with far fewer risks than medications and other modalities.

Laser treatment plans for nerve pain and injuries are variable, depending upon whether the nerve was stretched, crushed or partially severed; and where, along the length of the nerve, the injury occurred. Our client with the question has had 14 lasers, physiotherapy and massage as part of a collaborative program; and self reports at 60% improved. I reviewed our recent files, and the last couple of clients we had who suffered with sciatica, required an average of 18 visits over 3 months; with 3 to 4 treatments in the first week, then twice per week and continuing to taper down over the course of treatment. A better estimate can be provided once the extent of injury is understood.

Adding ‘Laser’ to your treatment plan goes a long way to: Feeling better, Moving better and Looking better…to cabin play and travel dreams!


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