Light Therapy as an Alternative to Opioids

Chronic pain: Where are we now?

Chronic pain has become a national emergency1. It is the most common debilitating condition facing US adults today. It is defined as pain that lasts more than several (3 – 6) months16. Over 105 million US adults suffer from chronic pain, more than are afflicted with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined15. Anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, weight gain, stress, among other conditions are comorbid with chronic pain19

The most common treatment for pain, prescription opioid medications have serious side effects. The addictive nature of opioids leads sufferers of chronic pain to crave opioids with the slightest of pain sensation; this leads to use beyond the intended prescription3. It is critical that individuals with chronic pain find alternatives treatment for their pain condition as the current solution of opioid prescriptions leads to terrible side-effects in the long term.  

Chronic Pain Management: Current Treatment Masks the Issue

Adding to problems of opioid guided pain management listed above, opioids do not treat any disease, nor issue. Opioids mask the problem. Opioids only treat the symptom, the pain arising from the disease or condition; they do not treat the actual condition itself18. Opioids decrease the pain, and rely on hope for a cure: the hope is that the body will heal itself. However, if this were the case, chronic pain would presumably not be an epidemic.

We are in dire need of an alternative that not only treats the pain (i.e., reducing pain experienced) but also helps to heal the body. Light Therapy, also known as Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT), has been considered as a viable solution for chronic pain18. It has been demonstrated to reduce pain while helping heal the underlying tissue. This is unmatched by any other current chronic pain treatment.

What is Photobiomodulation Therapy?

Photobiomodulation therapy (PMBT), a 50-year-old technology6, happens when wavelengths of light at 630 nanometers (nm), 660 nm, and 850 nm are applied to the body to create a therapeutic change. Essentially, when light that is in the red and near-infrared spectrum is properly applied on a body part (or the whole body). This can decrease inflammation10 and pain21 while regenerating tissue18 and accelerating healing10. It does this by reducing excessive oxidative stress at the cellular level. By reducing excessive oxidative stress in the body11, cells are able to function better by producing more energy and repairing the damage done by reactive oxygen species (ROS) 11.   

To date, there are no known nor reported negative side effects for PBMT11. In fact, this technology was developed in the 1930s13 and has a long history to draw from. PBMT operates at a very low intensity that is impossible to feel4

Types of conditions that PBMT can help with 

PBMT has been demonstrated in the laboratory and the clinic to help with numerous conditions that can lead to chronic pain, which is inappropriately managed with opioids and other inadequate pain management options. The key facts are that PBMT does not have any negative side effects associated with it, and it stimulates healing at the cellular level; no other pain intervention can claim this.

Conditions that PBMT can help with include (but are not limited to):

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome22
  2. Enthesopathy2
  3. Raynaud’s disease2
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis2
  5. Sciatica20
  6. Osteoarthritis14
  7. Shingles12
  8. Trigeminal Neuralgia8
  9. Back Pain9
  10.  Neck Pain5
  11.  Whiplash5
  12.  Muscle Pain4
  13.  Surgical Pain22

How can I Experience PBMT for Myself?

Our retail location is now open in Evergreen, Colorado! All our solutions are FDA listed and side-effect free. To schedule a FREE session, please visit or call us at 720-791-3000. Connect with at Facebook and Twitter where we post events and the latest news in the PBMT world.

  1. Allen, Gregand Kelly, Amita.“Trump Administration Declares Opioid Crisis A Public Health Emergency.” National Public Radio. October 26,2017. Source:
  2. Bales, J. G., & Meals, R. A. (2010). Low-level laser treatment. Journal of Hand Surgery, 35(3), 469-471.
  3. Chou, R., Turner, J. A., Devine, E. B., Hansen, R. N., Sullivan, S. D., Blazina, I., ... & Deyo, R. A. (2015). The effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop. Annals of internal medicine, 162(4), 276-286.
  4. Cotler, H. B., Chow, R. T., Hamblin, M. R., & Carroll, J. (2015). The use of low level laser therapy (PBMT) for musculoskeletal pain. MOJ orthopedics & rheumatology, 2(5).
  5. Chow, R. T., Johnson, M. I., Lopes-Martins, R. A., & Bjordal, J. M. (2009). Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. The Lancet, 374(9705), 1897-1908.
  6. See More Sources
  7. de Freitas, L. F., & Hamblin, M. R. (2016). Proposed mechanisms of photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy. IEEE Journal of selected topics in quantum electronics, 22(3), 348-364.
  8. Dueñas, M., Ojeda, B., Salazar, A., Mico, J. A., & Failde, I. (2016). A review of chronic pain impact on patients, their social environment and the health care system. Journal of pain research, 9, 457.
  9. Falaki, F., Nejat, A. H., & Dalirsani, Z. (2014). The effect of low-level laser therapy on trigeminal neuralgia: a review of literature. Journal of dental research, dental clinics, dental prospects, 8(1), 1.
  10. Glazov, G., Yelland, M., & Emery, J. (2016). Low-level laser therapy for chronic non-specific low back pain: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Acupuncture in Medicine, acupmed-2015.
  11. Hamblin, M. R. (2017). Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS biophysics, 4(3), 337.
  12. Hamblin, M. R. (2016). Shining light on the head: photobiomodulation for brain disorders. BBA clinical, 6, 113-124.
  13. Kevin, C. M., Naru, H., Parswanath, S. K., Copparam, S. J., & Toshio, O. (1989). A DOUBLE BLIND CROSSOVER TRAIALOF LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF POST HERPETIC NEURALGIA. Laser Therapy, 1(0_Pilot_Issue_1), 7-9.
  14. Lane, N. (2006). Cell biology: power games.
  15. Nambi, G.,Kamal, W., George, J., & Manssor, E. (2017). Radiological and biochemical effects (CTX-II, MMP-3, 8, and 13) of low-level laser therapy (PBMT) in chronic osteoarthritis in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. Lasers in medical science, 32(2), 297-303.
  16. National Institutes of Health. “NIH Fact Sheet Pain Management.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. March 29, 2013. Source:
  17. NIH. (2018, March 21). Chronic Pain: In Depth. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from
  18. Packaged Facts. Pain Management in the U.S.: Consumer Strategies. Jan 30, 2017. Source:
  19. Robinson, N. G. (2016). Photomedicine, not opioids, for chronic pain.
  20. Van Hecke, O., Torrance, N., & Smith, B. H. (2013). Chronic pain epidemiology and its clinical relevance. British journal of anaesthesia, 111(1), 13-18.
  21. Wang, C. Z., Chen, Y. J., Wang, Y. H., Yeh, M. L., Huang, M. H., Ho, M. L., ... & Chen, C. H. (2014). Low-level laser irradiation improves functional recovery and nerve regeneration in sciatic nerve crush rat injury model. PloS one, 9(8), e103348.
  22. Wang, P., Liu, C., Yang, X., Zhou, Y., Wei, X., Ji, Q., ... & He, C. (2014). Effects of low-level laser therapy on joint pain, synovitis, anabolic, and catabolic factors in a progressive osteoarthritis rabbit model. Lasers in medical science, 29(6), 1875-1885.
  23. White, P. F., Lazo, O. L. E., Galeas, L., & Cao, X. (2017). Use of electroanalgesia and laser therapies as alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management. F1000Research, 6.


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