Non-specific back pain can be difficult to treat since an exact cause for the discomfort can’t be identified. While pain relievers may help, some patients experience relief through unconventional means. One such approach is light therapy, a conservative spine treatment involving the application of specific wavelengths of light.
Promising Results in Adults with Chronic Non-specific Back Pain
A study of 125 patients conducted by the Institute for Sports Medicine in Hall in Tyrol, Austria showed positive results using this light therapy technique. Over a three-week period, subjects with non-specific back pain were exposed to supplementary light with many participants reporting noticeable changes in pain intensity.
How Light Therapy Works
Traditionally used to treat patients with sleep disorders and seasonal affective disorder, light therapy is a controlled exposure to light. It’s believed that light waves can increase the activity of certain hormones responsible for various processes within the body, including metabolism and immunity. In the case of back pain, studies suggest that light may help reduce inflammation. During light therapy, the following steps take place:
- Light is delivered through artificial means (usually a light box)
- Patients are exposed to light for a specific period of time
- Light is directed towards the area where the pain is experienced
The most significant side effect of light therapy for the treatment of back pain is the possibility of thermal burns for individuals who are on the thin side or prone to skin sensitivity. Additional side effects may include headaches or heat rashes.
While light therapy for non-specific back pain has shown promise in studies, additional research is necessary to determine how to apply the treatment for pain relief. For instance, it’s still unclear how much light exposure is necessary to achieve positive results or whether or not the benefits are temporary.
For more information about treating back pain, reach out to the LA Spine Institute today. Our board-certified spine physicians are some of the best in the Los Angeles area, and can help you determine the cause of your back pain as well as the best options for treatment. To request free information or to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 310-828-7757 today.