Being in constant pain takes a toll on you. It can disrupt your everyday activities, negatively impact your socialization, and give you a more pessimistic outlook. If you are one of the 20 million Americans who suffer from nerve pain, then the right pain management plan is in order.
Thankfully, science and technology have given us more options regarding neuropathy treatments and solutions. One of the most promising forms of modern treatment is infrared therapy.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is also known as nerve pain and neuropathic pain. It is a medical condition that directly impacts your nerves, causing you to feel pain, tingling, and even numbness in your arms, hands, and feet. In its advanced stages, neuropathy can lead to touch sensitivity, poor muscle coordination, muscle and body weakness, and paralysis.
When nerves are in pain, inflamed, or irritated, they send pain signals to your spinal cord, brain, and other body parts. Usually, nerve damage is due to injuries, directly to the nerves or indirectly from muscle injury, the result of an infection, or a symptom of a more serious autoimmune disease. There are also instances when your nerves get damaged for no apparent reason.
What Are the Traditional Methods for Neuropathy?
Whether you’ve been dealing with neuropathy for a while now or are just starting to get acquainted with the discomfort, frustration, and physical pain that comes with it, you will always encounter traditional ways of treating it.
Working closely with your doctor entails having a structured treatment plan. This often includes traditional treatment methods incorporated in one way or another. While these treatments are acceptable, they only work for some. When it does, the relief is only temporary.
Here are some of the traditional methods used in managing and treating neuropathy.
#1. Prescription Drugs
Managing your pain can be challenging and often frustrating, so your doctor—at some stage during your treatment—will always prescribe you medications. Note however, that taking prescription drugs is not as easy as it seems as there are plenty of factors that your medical professional has to consider, such as other underlying illnesses you may have, medications you are already taking, and how your body may react to additional drugs.
More often than not, the types of medicines you’ll be prescribed are antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Of course, you also have to consider that although these medicines can provide you relief from pain, you can also become too dependent on them. Additionally, there can be significant side effects to the medication and, in some pain situations, the medication can often make the pain worse.
#2. Yoga or Other Stretching and Breathing Exercises
Practicing yoga is a well-rounded traditional treatment for nerve pain because it helps with mobility and flexibility while building endurance and strength. It also enables you to channel your pain positively through its different breathing exercises and poses.
In Annals of Neurosciences, it was revealed that the more than 5,000-year-old Indian practice can help manage neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury by acting on your receptors throughout your nervous system. The body stretches in yoga also help control the pain by reducing your body’s inflammatory responses.
Yoga can strengthen your muscles and trigger a healthier blood flow to your nerves while encouraging your brain and body to better communicate and react to the pain. This neuropathic treatment is one of the best non-drug treatments that can boost your quality of life while expanding your range of motion and improving your mood.
#3. Change in Lifestyle
This is a more holistic approach for treating neuropathy but it can be one of the hardest ways to address nerve pain. Usually, doing a complete 180 on your lifestyle means:
Increasing Your Physical Activity
Exercise alone will not necessarily completely treat your pain, but it can guarantee a better quality of life and improved health. Being physically active is always included in any doctor’s multidisciplinary approach to neuropathy treatment. It can improve your blood flow, boost your body’s endorphin production (natural painkillers), minimize inflammation, and make you feel more productive.
Better Stress Management
If you are constantly in pain, you’ll find it hard not to be stressed and/or depressed. Stress can aggravate your nerve pain, causing more inflammation and making you more sensitive to discomfort.
Based on a study that was published in Molecular Psychiatry for neuropathy patients, inflammation and stress can make you more susceptible to becoming depressed. Hence, it’s best to engage in other activities and pursuits to keep you physically and mentally busy so you stop focusing on the pain.
Improved Sleep Quality
Getting enough sleep can help your body manage nerve pain better. Quality sleep lets your body repair the damaged nerves and recover so your pain sensitivity is reduced.
What Is Infrared Laser Therapy?
Today, there are more modern treatments to address neuropathy, including infrared laser therapy. It is an innovative light-based treatment that can treat pain caused by nerve damage and inflammation.
The primary purpose of infrared therapy healing is to promote cell regeneration. Using different wavelengths, the specific site in your body where the inflammation or nerve damage is located is subjected to infrared light. The light triggers cell repair by inducing various chemical reactions, and as your cells recuperate, you experience milder pain, discomfort, and other nerve pain symptoms.
Aside from treating pain, infrared therapy, a type of neurotherapy, is also used to improve blood circulation, skin purification, detoxication, and muscle tension relief.
The treatment is designed to treat the root cause of nerve damage and treat it accordingly, giving you back your mobility and quality of life. It has minimal risks, and the process is painless.
What Are the Advantages of Infrared Laser Therapy Compared To Traditional Treatments?
Having the option to avail of newer treatment alternatives is a huge win given that not all treatments, especially the traditional ones, can yield good, consistent, and long-term results. Additionally, infrared laser therapy comes with advantages that other treatments do not, such as:
#1. Infrared laser therapy directly targets the nerves.
One of the critical characteristics of infrared laser therapy is its ability to penetrate the skin by up to seven centimeters, allowing it to target damaged nerves directly. It is so targeted that it can enter the cells of your nerves, muscles, and bones. This means that it can offer better and immediate pain relief because the root cause of the pain is directly addressed.
Infrared wavelengths used in this therapy are usually from 700 to 1,000 nanometers. Hence, it can fast-track one’s recovery from inflammatory conditions.
#2. Infrared laser therapy can boost muscle and tissue repair.
Unlike traditional neuropathy treatments, infrared laser therapy can influence your cells’ mitochondria and boost new tissue growth, development, and repair. In cases where your nerve pain arose due to muscle injury, the infrared light can also accelerate the repair of the battered muscle which means the faster alleviation of your pain.
Once your cells’ photoreceptors absorb the infrared light, several metabolic processes are kickstarted on a cellular level. One significant effect is infrared therapy boosts nitric acid production. This nitric acid cascade is essential to your body, especially your arteries.
Nitric acid relaxes your arteries, reducing the likelihood of platelet clumping in your vessels and normalizing your blood pressure. All these internal processes help improve your blood circulation so oxygen and the nutrients your damaged nerves and injured tissues need are delivered more efficiently. In turn, the nerves and tissues can recover faster, reducing pain and inflammation.
#3. Infrared laser therapy offers long-lasting relief.
Traditional treatments for neuropathy can be frustrating because it can take months and even years before you start noticing their results. Although lifestyle changes have long-term positive effects, many setbacks can happen.
Taking medications, on the other hand, can make you dependent on drugs, and you may even develop an immunity to them. In addition, many of the medications are not healing the underlying problem, just acting as a “band-aid” to manage the symptoms. Infrared laser therapy has a significant advantage because it relieves your condition from progressing. Continuous infrared laser treatment can heal your affected nerves and enable you to get your life back.
Infrared laser therapy is not a band-aid solution that offers temporary relief. Instead, it’s a solution that can lead to complete and long-term recovery.
Infrared laser therapy for neuropathy has taken over traditional interventions. It is safe and painless with minimal, if any, side effects while delivering relief and being a solution to neuropathy and other medical conditions. It can help address the neuropathic symptoms from carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, neuropathy from chemotherapy as well as rarer causes of neuropathy including infectious causes. In addition, it addresses the pain from arthritis, tendonitis, neck pain, and back pain.
So, if you’ve given traditional neuropathic treatments a try and can’t seem to find any relief, it may be time to consider infrared laser therapy.