Dear Pain Matters blog readers,
I will introduce the topic of low level laser therapy (LLLT) for chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia) here, and in future blog posts.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is relatively safe, and has no known adverse effects.
People with fibromyalgia often have extreme fatigue, pain and insomnia. For some sufferers, even getting dressed in the morning can be a daunting task.
Ms Kay Greenlee (aged 70, of Indiana, USA) had suffered from fibromyalgia for years. This painful condition made it difficult for her to perform domestic chores including washing windows without incurring pain in her legs, shoulders and elsewhere. Due to allergic reactions, she was unable to take pain medication for pain.
A study by the Indiana State University allocated fibromyalgia patients into 4 groups that performed:
- Resistance training only;
- Low level laser therapy (LLLT) only;
- Placebo (instead of LLLT) only; and
- Both LLLT and resistance training.
The patients who were in the 4th group enjoyed the most improvements, compared to the other 3 groups.
Ms Greenlee was randomly allocated to the 4th group. Following months of LLLT and resistance exercise training including chest presses, leg extensions, seated rowing and leg curls, Ms Greenlee had reduced fibromyalgia pain.
In other words, months later, Ms Greenlee is almost pain free. As a result, she was able to exercise (see photo). Quoting Ms Greenlee:
“I have gone from having a lot of pain to very minimal amount of pain in the shoulder. I have little or no pain at all in the legs.”
“It is exciting to be able to go for several hours and be energetic and do the work that needs to be done at home and to enjoy things.”
Targeted LLLT and resistance training may facilitate increased blood flow into the painful areas as well as the release of endorphins, hence contributing to reduced pain.
Quoting Ifeanyi Osude (LLLT researcher, see photo):
“I’ve seen great results. Women came in with immense pain they have had for weeks or even months and after they have done the laser treatment, along with the resistance training, they came to me and said, ‘Ifeanyi, I feel a lot better.'”
Thus, LLLT can help reduce fibromyalgia pain, while physical activity can help keep the painful symptoms at bay.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) plus exercise may be useful for reducing pain in fibromyalgia by increasing blood flow into the painful areas (Taylor, 2013).
“Sedare dolorem divinum opus est”
“It is divine to alleviate pain”
Galen, 130-200 C.E.
(1) Research uses lasers, resistance training to zap fibromyalgia pain
Indiana State University Newsroom (10 June 2013)
(2) LLLT a treatment option for fibromyalgia patients
Chiropractic Economics (21 August 2014)
(3) Kingsley JD, Demchak T, Mathis R
Low-level laser therapy as a treatment for chronic pain. Front. Physiol. (2014), 5:306.
Refer also to References section of paper by Kingsley et al (2014) for additional information.
(4) Ruaro, JA, Fréz, AR, Ruaro, MB, et al.
Low-level laser therapy to treat fibromyalgia. Lasers Med Sci (Nov. 2014), 29(6):1815-1819.