Finding Muscle and Joint Pain Relief with Laser Therapy
Muscle and joint pain are common ailments, whether it’s a chronic issue like arthritis or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after a workout. While you might be tempted to reach for ibuprofen for these aches and pains, long-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause other issues, like stomach ulcers or liver damage.
One way to address muscle and joint pain without medications is laser therapy. This non-invasive treatment uses the power of light to stimulate natural healing processes, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation.
If you’re looking for an alternative to pain medication (even OTC solutions) or surgery — or just want more information about this unique treatment option—read on!
What Causes Muscle & Joint Pain
Many factors contribute to muscle and joint pain, but overuse, traumatic injury, and infection are the main categories. All of these cause tissue damage, leading to inflammation and, ultimately, pain.
Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury or infection in which blood vessels dilate (or widen) to deliver white blood cells and nutrients to heal damaged tissue more efficiently. The resulting swelling often causes pain and stiffness, which makes it hard for you to go about your daily activities.
Overuse injuries result from repetitive motions that wear down and damage tissue over time. Tendonitis and osteoarthritis are two types of overuse conditions that cause joint pain.
A traumatic injury can happen due to a fall, a car accident, or a sports accident. With a traumatic injury, force causes immediate damage to the tissue, like tearing muscle and joint tissue.
Infection is less common in muscles in joints, but it’s still possible. An infection in a muscle or joint can result from an injury like a laceration that allows harmful microbes into the body. Infection can also happen after surgery. Healthcare professionals take many precautions to prevent infections from surgery, so if you had or will have surgery soon, follow your provider’s instructions to avoid infection.
The Difference Between Muscle Pain & Joint Pain
Muscles and joints work together, but they are different. When determining the cause of your pain, it’s important to know whether it is in your muscles or joints.
If you have a sore muscle in your forearm, you’ll feel pain in your arm when you lift weights or that basket of laundry. That’s muscle pain. Muscle pain is very common — you probably know what it feels like! Muscle soreness after an intense workout or activity is normal and nothing to worry about. Pain caused by injury to the muscle, such as a strain (also called “pulling” your muscle), will be most intense when that muscle is moved.
Joints, on the other hand, are where two bones meet at their ends. Joints are made up of cartilage, a slippery substance that cushions the ends of bones so they slide smoothly against each other when we move our bodies.
Joint pain happens when that cartilage is damaged. In the case of a condition like arthritis, that cartilage has worn down, so the bones may rub together, causing pain and stiffness. If you’re experiencing joint pain, the pain will be localized to the affected joint(s). For example, only your knee joints or one wrist may hurt. The pain will probably be most intense when you’re moving that joint, such as pain in your knees when walking or writing with a sore wrist.
Any muscle or joint pain that lasts more than a few days and comes with inflammation, redness, skin that’s warm to the touch, fever, or sets in after an accident or surgery should be evaluated by a doctor.
Benefits of Laser Therapy for Muscle & Joint Pain
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses red and near-infrared light concentrated in a laser to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. It is a safe and effective treatment for many different types of pain, including muscle and joint pain.
Laser therapy works by stimulating cells through light energy sent through the skin into your muscles and joints, which helps boost blood flow and increase collagen production within those areas. The increased blood flow allows oxygenated blood cells to reach damaged tissue faster than normal; this may help reduce inflammation during recovery from injury or illness so that you can recover faster!
Laser therapy has no lasting side effects. Some patients may feel dizzy upon standing from a laser treatment, but this is a side effect of vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) caused by the treatment and should only last a few moments.
Laser therapy can be combined with other treatments, like traditional RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) therapy and physical therapy. A comprehensive treatment plan with multiple therapies can help you come back stronger from muscle and joint pain.
If you’re experiencing muscle or joint pain and want relief without relying on pain medication, find an Aspen Laser provider near you.