A common reason people will seek out a chiropractor in Rochester, NY is to help with managing pain after surgery. Recently, the use of Class IV laser therapy has been introduced in the management of post-surgery patients. This new tool can be helpful in the management of pain after surgery, improving recovery time, and reducing scar tissue formation.
Managing pain after surgery is a very important step in the healing process. Poorly controlled pain can lead to delayed recovery, longer treatment, increased costs, and a higher chance of the pain becoming chronic. While surgery techniques have improved over the years to be less invasive, there will still always be a need for more postoperative pain management.
Previous methods for pain management were prescribing the patient enough opioids to be used through the recovery process until they are no longer in pain. Unfortunately, this technique leads to many people becoming addicted and suffering as a result. Today more than 150 people die each day from opioids in the United States. The opioid crisis has created a shift in how we manage postoperative pain and new ways to deal with pain have started to be utilized.
The Multimodal Approach To Pain Management
The current method for managing pain post-surgery is called the Multimodal Approach (MMA). Instead of strictly using opioids, the multimodal approach tries to fight off pain through multiple different mechanisms. Pain signals are sent to the brain through a number of different neural and chemical pathways; different drugs or therapies can be used to slow down or stop pain at each pathway.
Drugs like gabapentin, NSAIDs, and acetaminophen are used in varying doses to help block pain on a chemical level in the body. Physical medicine, such as chiropractic care, is implemented to help improve mobility and restore motion. Movement is an inhibitor of pain which makes restoring full range of motion very important. With all of these therapies combined, the use of opioids can be drastically reduced and becomes only necessary in extreme cases of pain.
Laser Therapy After Surgery
Laser therapy is starting to make its way onto the scene when it comes to dealing with pain after surgery. Recent studies have shown that Class IV laser therapy has a significant effect on both pain levels and recovery time. Patients being treated with Class IV laser therapy were able to discontinue other pain medications faster and were able to return to normal activities 3 to 4 weeks sooner than non-laser patients.
Class IV laser therapy works to reduce pain and stimulate the natural healing of the treatment area through a process called photobiomodulation. Light-sensitive proteins turn the laser light into extra energy that is used by the damaged tissue to accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. The extra energy also forces the acceleration of cells responsible for clearing out any inflammation that is causing pain and swelling.
Light from Class IV laser therapy has also been shown to reset the sensitivity of damaged nerves at the injury site. These overly sensitive nerves will activate with fewer stimuli, increasing overall pain in the area. Resetting these nerves helps reduce the number of pain signals being sent to the brain.
Laser Therapy and Scar Formation
Using laser therapy after surgery may also improve the appearance of any scars that form. After an injury, scar tissue forms as a temporary fix while the body starts to heal. The scar is made up of disordered bands of the protein collagen. As the wound heals, the body tries to replace and reorganize the bands of collagen in the scar. In some cases, the body is unable to reorganize all of the collagen and the appearance of the scar will stay.
Laser therapy helps improve the rate of reorganization of collagen in damaged tissue. The extra help reduces both the size and density of scar tissue. Studies have shown that the sooner laser therapy is applied to the wound, the better the outcome for a scar’s appearance.
If you have had or are about to have any surgical procedure, ask your Rochester chiropractor about Class IV laser therapy. At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, our chiropractor in Rochester is utilizing Class IV laser therapy with diversified chiropractic treatment to help individuals recover faster and return to the activities they love. Schedule an appointment today and give class IV laser therapy a try!