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Ask Dr. True - March 2015

Q:Can laser therapy help my back pain?

A: Absolutely. I’ve used laser therapy in my practice for more than 10 years with phenomenal success. The laser therapy device produces concentrated wavelengths of light to speed up healing and reduce pain. Clinical effects of laser therapy include reduced muscle spasms, improved flexibility in cases of mild to moderate arthritis and increased blood flow that promotes healing. The positive effects from laser treatments result from the wavelength, or color of light used, and the dosage, or the amount of photons delivered.

Laser therapy can be tremendously beneficial for patients with back and neck pain. For example, the pain associated with sciatica (a condition that causes pain to shoot into the leg from the back) often reduces or goes away after a few treatments. The majority of patients often report an improved quality of life and greater mobility.

The cellular mechanisms of pain relief and healing with laser therapy are only partially understood, and researchers throughout the world are actively trying to discover why laser produces its dramatic positive effects on the body. Even though laser therapy may provide a significant improvement in a patient’s quality of life, it is not covered by insurance or Medicare. However, in any “wait and see” medical decision for treatment of musculoskeletal pain, it is a safe alternative that should be considered before undergoing back surgery or other invasive procedures.