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Low Level Laser Therapy (Photobiomodulation) – as a potential treatment in the management of neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult to treat of all chronic pain conditions. This severe and sometimes unrelenting type of pain, is often described as burning, painful, cold or electric shocks and may be associated with tingling, pins and needles, numbness or itching.

Neuropathic (nerve) pain is caused by damage, injury or dysfunction of nerves due to trauma, surgery, disease or chemotherapy. Treatment may often include a combination of medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and anti-epileptic medication.

Examples of conditions with this type of pain are trigeminal neuralgia, shingles, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, some types of post-operative pain, causalgia, entrapment neuropathy (ie. carpal tunnel), occipital neuralgia and orofacial pain.

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is showing promise as a potential treatment to help reduce neuropathic pain. In a recent paper (2019) titled Low level laser therapy for the patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy – A systematic reviewthe authors concluded that “LLLT has a positive effect in controlling diabetic neuropathic pain.”

LLLT has been used for decades to accelerate tissue repair/wound healing, and to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling in the body. This therapy uses light in the near infrared (NIR) spectrum which penetrates deep into the affected area and is absorbed at the cellular level by our mitochondria. The mitochondria are then able to produce more energy for cellular repair and healing. At the same time, it promotes more blood flow, oxygen to our cells, immune function, and opens up our lymphatic system. It also triggers the release of signalling molecules that have downstream epigenetic effects.

Our resident chiropractor Sam Gill has been using this therapy in practice for the last 2 years and is a member of the Australian Medical Photobiomodulation Association. “It’s a very direct and non-invasive way to boost the body’s natural healing ability and help reduce pain and inflammation” says Sam.

Sam is available for appointments at The Health Lodge on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.



Anju M, Saleena Ummer V, Arun G. Maiya, Manjunath Hande, “Low Level Laser Therapy for the patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy – A systematic review.”Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, Volume 13, Issue 4, 2019.

Avci P, Gupta A, Sadasivam M, et al. “Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.” Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013;32(1):41-52.

Cotler HB, Chow RT, Hamblin MR, Carroll J. “The Use of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain.” MOJ Orthop Rheumatol. Volume 2, Issue 5, 2015

de Pedro M, López-Pintor RM, de la Hoz-Aizpurua JL, Casañas E, Hernández G. “Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy for the Therapeutic Management of Neuropathic Orofacial Pain: A Systematic Review.” J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2020

Hopkins JT, McLoda TA, Seegmiller JG, David Baxter G. “Low-Level Laser Therapy Facilitates Superficial Wound Healing in Humans: A Triple-Blind, Sham-Controlled Study.” J Athl Train. 2004;39(3):223-229.

Kocić M, Lazović M, Dimitrijević I, Mancić D, Stanković A. “Evaluation of Low-Level Laser and interferential current in the therapy of complex regional pain syndrome by infrared thermographic camera”. Vojnosanit Pregl. 2010 Sep;67(9):755-60. Serbian.

Konstantinovic LM, Cutovic MR, Milovanovic AN, Jovic SJ, Dragin AS, Letic MDj, Miler VM. “Low-Level Laser Therapy for acute neck pain with radiculopathy: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study.” Pain Med. 2010 Aug11(8)

Li ZJ, Wang Y, Zhang HF, Ma XL, Tian P, Huang Y. “Effectiveness of Low-Level Laser on carpal tunnel syndrome: A meta-analysis of previously reported randomized trials.” Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(31)

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