Suffering From Headaches?
Headaches can have a wide variety of triggers, from hormonal, genetic, and environmental, to emotional or neurological causes. The pain can be dull and mild, or sharp and stabbing, lasting for several minutes to several days. Current treatments can produce results that are just as variable. And with over 4 million people still suffering from chronic daily migraines, laser therapy can provide some hopeful relief.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been shown to treat temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), sinus headaches, cluster headaches, tension headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic headaches. It does this by increasing local microcirculation, increasing the levels of serotonin in the blood (the body’s natural feel good chemical), releasing endogenous opioids (the body’s innate pain relieving system), and altering cholinesterase levels (the enzymes needed for proper functioning of the nervous system).
One study found that light therapy increases serotonin and blood flow in patients with TMJ syndrome. All patients reported pain relief, the average pain score decreasing from a 9.1 to a 3.3 (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most painful). The seratonin levels of the patients were found to be elevated even three days after each laser therapy treatment.
Another study concluded significant improvements in headache intensity, duration of attack, and median number of days of headache per month in 50 people with chronic tension headaches treated with LLLT. And lastly, another study showed a 39% improvement in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after two weeks of LLLT treatment, and a 46.34% improvement after four weeks!
Types of Headaches Treated
Cold Laser Can Help
Treatment with the LLLT device to correct the chronic tension of the neck muscles is similar and painless. It requires the doctor to set certain parameters which will affect the body part being treated. These parameters will involve the frequency setting, the cadence, duty cycle and the dosage of photon energy. All of these settings are able to enhance the function of the tense muscles, causing them to relax, but at the same time affecting the known physiology of the nerves and restoring the normal blood supply to the muscles.
When these features are met for the muscles, not only at the base of the neck, but also the TMJs, the muscles relax, taking the pressure from the nerves. This breaks the normal cycle of the tense muscles, which relaxes and relieves the pressure on the nerves. But the LLLT is not just relaxing the muscles. It is providing photon energy to the cells – tissues – muscles, which improves their function so that the muscles may take a longer time to get tense again, thus preventing future tension headaches. LLLT devices are the only modality that provides therapeutic energy to enhance the function of tissue.
In rehabilitation medicine, LLLT is considered to be the most advanced, effective and non-invasive form of therapy for pain control and healing of tissue. It is safe (emitting no radiation), painless, and results are shown to be significant, with no known or reported side effects.
In conjunction with the LLLT, specific neck/TMJ exercises are prescribed for strengthening key muscles, thus restoring balance and normal function to the head/neck.
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