Cold Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia: Here's What You Should Know

Sep 13, 2023
Cold Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia: Here's What You Should Know
As persistent, fatiguing, and debilitating as fibromyalgia pain can be, it can also be successfully managed with the right approach. Find out how cold laser therapy works to ease FM pain and restore an improved quality of life.

Some four million people in the United States — or about 2% of American adults — live with the effects of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain. If you’re one of them, you know just how persistent and far-reaching FM and its effects can be. 

On top of causing extensive, pervasive pain that leaves your whole body feeling stiff, achy, and tender, this complex disorder can leave you feeling perpetually exhausted, distressed, irritated, and depressed. Fortunately, it can often be managed with the right approach. 

At Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center in Manassas, Virginia, our expert team takes a comprehensive approach to fibromyalgia treatment to minimize your day-to-day symptoms, control unexpected pain flares, and support your overall health and well-being. 

Here, Dr. Lincoln German and Dr. Mikaela Foley discuss the ins and outs of fibromyalgia pain and explain how cold laser therapy can provide swift and sustained relief. 

Understanding fibromyalgia pain 

Fibromyalgia is a complex, long-term condition that triggers widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness. These persistent body aches often give rise to related symptoms, too, such as unrelenting fatigue, ongoing sleep disturbances, and mental distress. 

While researchers are still working to understand the mechanisms behind fibromyalgia, they believe the disorder affects how the brain processes pain signals. Specifically, it prompts the brain to release excess pain chemicals in response to routine pain signals, effectively amplifying these sensations so they feel more intense than they are.

Fibromyalgia pain is often described as a constant dull ache that occurs on both sides of the body and above and below the waist. Although the pain is widespread, it can also migrate to previously unaffected areas or co-exist with separate pain conditions.

How does colder laser therapy work? 

There are many various types of medical lasers, each of which is categorized and approved by the FDA based on its intensity and intended use. Surgical lasers, which use high-intensity wavelengths of hot light energy to cut, coagulate, and vaporize tissue, are on one end of the medical laser spectrum; non-surgical, low-level “cold” lasers are on the other.

As its name implies, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) uses low-intensity wavelengths of cold light energy to foster healing and alleviate pain in body areas affected by injury, degeneration, or dysfunction. 

Class 3A cold lasers, which don’t penetrate beyond the surface of your skin, are used to heal superficial wounds and conditions. Class 3B cold lasers — the type our team uses to treat fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions — emit energy waves that pass through your skin to stimulate healing in deeper body cells and tissues. 

Cold laser therapy for fibromyalgia

Noninvasive cold lasers are FDA-approved to treat a wide range of pain conditions, from muscle strain and spasms to joint stiffness, chronic back pain, and, yes — widespread fibromyalgia pain. 

Effective for all cell types

Low-level laser light is an effective pain reliever because it stimulates a deep healing response in all cell types, from those that comprise your muscle, ligament, and tendon tissues to those that form your cartilage and nerves. 

Painless and highly targeted

The cold laser device is a handheld tool that looks like a flashlight. When we gently pass it over the treatment area, its non-thermal light photons painlessly diffuse through your skin and subcutaneous fat tissues. Depending on the nature and location of your fibromyalgia pain, we can set the laser to reach two to five centimeters below your skin. 

Absorption, then interaction

As the cold energy reaches the predetermined depth, cells in the area absorb and interact with it through their light-sensitive receptors. This absorption/interaction process is like photosynthesis: When plant leaves absorb sunlight, they convert it into growth-fueling energy. 

A cascade of healing effects

Similarly, when body cells in a damaged or dysfunctional area of pain absorb cold laser energy, it sets a cascade of healing effects into motion. This process unfolds in five steps:

  1. Metabolic activity increases within the targeted cells
  2. The transfer of nutrients into the affected cell improves
  3. Vital cellular energy (ATP) production ramps up
  4. Blood flow to the area increases as circulation improves
  5. Healing oxygen and nutrients are drawn to the area 

Cold laser therapy helps reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, alleviate pain, and restore healthier body tissues by effectively setting this fundamental reparative process in motion.

Part of a comprehensive plan

By targeting the underlying cause of your discomfort to advance healing, cold laser therapy helps increase the efficacy of other beneficial interventions for fibromyalgia pain, including massage therapy and physical therapy. Each cold laser therapy session lasts for just a few minutes, and most patients receive maximal benefit from a series of treatments. 

To find out how cold laser therapy can help you control fibromyalgia pain and improve your quality of life, call or click online to schedule an appointment with our experts at Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center in Manassas, Virginia, today.