Home » Computers » Pain, Pain, Go Away! Lasers Usher in a Brand New Day

Pain, Pain, Go Away! Lasers Usher in a Brand New Day

Inflammation is the word-of-the-year in health – and in fact, it’s not a new discovery. If a bee stings you, and the spot gets red, swollen, and itchy: inflammation. You go out romping in the snow without adequate foot protection, and you end up with red, swollen toes? Inflammation. You wake up one morning with painful, tender, stiff elbows, wrists and ankles? Yep, inflammation.

While it may not be pleasant, inflammation is usually a sign that your body is trying to protect itself: send more blood, fluid, and immune cells to the injured or “offended” area of the body. Where it goes wrong, however, it if the body can’t react as it’s supposed to, or it overreacts. In the first case, the initial insult to the body may not heal properly; in the second, the process of racing to protect itself may result in more damage that the initial injury.

For years, medical science has tried to find way to assist your body in this self-healing process, while at the same time minimizing the discomfort and – usually temporary – disability that goes along with it.

Whether because of our diets, or the many chemicals we’re exposed to, we’re living longer – or likely some combination of these things, inflammatory response and associated auto-immune problems (your body treats itself as the enemy and starts to attack its own tissue) have become the focus of much research and investigation.

Some of the methods of treating inflammation are quite old and relatively innocuous, like aspirin for mild pain and inflammation; more recently anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen have been a real boon to people suffering from moderate levels of pain from sprains, or osteoarthritis. But, as with any cure, there are usually side-effects – in the case of many of these agents, and their more potent and therefore more dangerous cousins, opioids, kidney damage, and the need for ever-increasing doses to net the same reduction in pain and swelling have led researchers toward non-chemical methods of helping patients deal with these problems and remain active and relatively pain-free.

Recently, I was had a chat with Dr. Vincent Sportelli at Sportelli Chiropractic on James Street in Syracuse. He was positively gleeful with enthusiasm about a new tool in the war against pain and inflammation: therapeutic laser treatments.

Laser? Isn’t that like, Luke Skywalker and lightsabers that can slice and dice you in no time flat? Yes, and no.

Laser (which is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is a device that – well, it emits light, but amplified, so that it actually uses light to cut, weld, scan, and read information. What’s special about lasers is that the light is highly concentrated – focused – in a tightly coherent spot, hence its ability to act like a thing rather than just a beam of light. Normally, light will diffuse as it moves away from its source, but in the case of a laser, the excited particles stay concentrated and from this point on we wander off into very complicated physics.

The LightSpeed HealingTM non-thermal laser treatment, can be used to treat patients presenting with a variety of aches, pains, sprains, degenerative conditions and repetitive motion injuries, among others.

What’s significant for our everyday life is that science has found ways to use this concentrated “ray” to perform jobs, some of them within the medical field. Most of us are familiar with surgery that is aided by laser – bloodless surgery, surgical stone treatment, eye surgery, dentistry, and laser healing. It’s this last that Dr. Sportelli has found so promising for helping his patients.

One of the problems with lasers in any application, but certainly with medical treatments is heat – burning. As you know from sitting on a beach on a warm summer day, light can be hot and can even burn, not exactly what you want when you’d like relief from pain and inflammation (sunburn itself is an inflammatory response!). But cold laser has shown great promise in bringing the healing properties of light without the heating properties. Cold laser therapy is super pulsed and multi-phased and allows the laser light to penetrate the skin and surface tissue at such accelerated speeds that no heat is emitted therefore the “cold” laser treatment is completely painless and effective in healing the condition and eliminating the pain.

Sportelli recently completed a demanding course of training in the use of Theralase’s newest versions of LightSpeed HealingTM non-thermal laser treatment, and has begun treating patients presenting with a variety of aches, pains, sprains, degenerative conditions and repetitive motion injuries, among others.

The treatments are brief – anywhere from 2-20 minutes per session – and painless. Light hits body tissue, and, on a cellular level, light energy is converted into chemical energy which then activates and accelerates healing.

Sportelli explained that this second generation cool laser treatment is far more powerful than its predecessor, and has shown remarkable promise for painless, no-side-effects treatment of common miseries that overused, aging, and injured bone and muscle tissue suffer. Already the darling of many athletic teams, it could be just what you’re looking for if you’re just not that into pain, and don’t want to hop on the medication bus!

Nancy Roberts