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Can laser light therapy relieve pain in place of opioids?

The technology has been around for years, but only recently is gaining popularity to not only help manage pain, but also help heal the source.

Members of Multi Radiance Medical, a Solon medical device company, took part in congressional hearings about using light therapy as a replacement for opioids.

The technology has been around for years, but only recently is gaining popularity to not only help manage pain, but also help heal the source.

Eric Schumacher retired from his assistant football coaching position at Massillon High School five years ago. He understands aches and pains, but the pain in his partially torn Achilles tendon was something else.

“Hot sensation at times a stabbing sensation,” Eric described

He had no interest in taking pain meds like opioids so when he found Canton Chiropractor Dr. Brent Ungar, he was thrilled to learn how a laser could help his body heal itself.

“It’s non-invasive, extremely safe there’s very little if any side effects and it’s very effective and great clinical outcomes,” Dr. Ungar said.

Multi Radiance Medical makes the device. It’s used by most professional sports teams, college athletes and some high schools too. But anyone suffering from muscle and joint pain, arthritis, neck or back pain might benefit.

“This uses visible and infrared light which is safe for the body and we make sure the device is safe for the eyes so it’s not bright and won’t damage the eyes so the patient can actually take it home and apply the therapy themselves,” said Douglas Johnson, Senior Vice President of Clinical and Scientific Affairs at Multi Radiance Medical.

The laser is smart, too. Based on the speed it takes for the light to get from one electrode to the other, the device can essentially tell where exactly the injury is located and then stimulate the cells around it.

Eric noticed a difference in four visits -- that’s what kept him coming back.

“Fifteen treatments and no pain whatsoever now,” he said.

The company also makes consumer-sized models that run about $2,500, but some doctors in Northeast Ohio will rent them to patients to use at home if they can’t afford to buy their own. You can contact Multi Radiance Medical directly to find a doctor near you here.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for a number of conditions, making it, a validated alternative for people seeking pain relief without having surgery or taking drugs.

More than 400 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have been published. Low-level laser therapy has been proven to treat a wide range of medical conditions such as:

  • Muscle & joint pain
  • Stiffness associated with arthritis
  • Pain associated with muscle spasms
  • Hand/wrist pain
  • Neck pain
  • Lower back pain