by Dava Stewart
Low level laser therapy (LLLT), which is also sometimes called cold laser therapy, has many uses in the chiropractic office. From pain relief to wound healing, LLLT offers DCs a side-effect-free treatment option that allows patients to enjoy a better quality of life. And when patients live with less pain, they may also enjoy increased longevity.
Consider a hypothetical scenario:
A 65-year-old female patient visits the chiropractor in a last-ditch effort to find relief for pain in her knees. She has been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) and has tried over-the-counter analgesics and prescription pain medications but has not found the relief she needs. The pain in her knees is interfering with her day-to-day activities, disrupting her sleep, and is preventing her from gardening and walking, two activities that she enjoys and that keeps her healthy.
The chiropractor begins a series of LLLT treatments, which reduce the inflammation in her knee. With less inflammation the patient feels less pain. The pain no longer disturbs her sleep, and she is able to return to gardening and daily walks, which help her heart remain healthy. Although there is not 100 percent proof that the LLLT extended her lifespan, it did allow her to do the things that have been shown to increase longevity.
Exercise is known to help prevent heart disease, some forms of diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and lowers the risk of stroke. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, asthma, and arthritis, as well as many others, are known to improve with exercise. Unfortunately, those same conditions often make it difficult to exercise due to pain. LLLT, with its analgesic properties, can help alleviate pain, making it possible for patients to exercise and gain better health — which may well lead to a longer life.
For patients who suffer from a variety of complex and challenging conditions, the risk of a dangerous downward health spiral is ever-present. The symptoms of the condition make it difficult to exercise and the patient therefore becomes less active, causing the condition to worsen. Although there is no direct link between LLLT and longevity, there are plenty of reasons to believe that the treatment can help patients live longer.
Even pain that many people consider normal or that is not related to a medical condition, such as low back pain, neck pain, or achy joints, can significantly decrease a patient’s quality of life. People in pain find it difficult to exercise, suffer from disrupted sleep patterns, or have the desire to overeat, drink too much alcohol, or take part in other unhealthy behaviors. Lack of sleep or overeating may not necessarily lead to a shorter life, but potentially could.
Regardless of the cause of patients’ pain, they are likely to be more capable of taking care of themselves without it. In the vast majority of cases, exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep lead to a healthier, longer life. LLLT can make it possible to achieve a more active lifestyle, which contributes to greater longevity.