By now, everyone has heard about the opioid epidemic that has developed worldwide, and the dangers of opioids when prescribed for pain treatment. So why don’t doctors simply stop prescribing these opioids, and instead substitute something just as effective but far less harmful to humans?
The obvious answer is that doctors around the country continue to choose to prescribe opioids. There are several reasons why they make this choice, even while knowing the potential for increased addiction levels among patients.
Why doctors prescribe opioids
First, alternative treatment options like laser therapy simply haven’t been around long enough to have generated long-term research data. True, the long-term outlook for patients using opioids is not very optimistic itself – and can be downright scary – but at least doctors know that opioids work to treat the pain in the short term. Although study upon study shows the effectiveness of laser therapy (both short and long-term), not everyone keeps up with industry innovations.
Secondly, despite those same studies, some doctors continue to question the analgesic effectiveness of laser therapy. It’s also true that both the FDA and the CDC have endorsed laser therapy as being effective in the treatment of chronic pain.
Which is better?
There’s no question about which of these two forms of treatment is better – laser therapy wins the contest, hands-down. It is far more effective than opioids because it not only treats the pain but also addresses the root cause of the pain. When laser therapy is used, it goes beneath the skin into the level of mitochondria, light wavelengths stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides increased energy to the body. It also increases cell reproduction, so damaged tissue can be replaced, and it brings extra oxygen into the cells to help repair them.
Lastly, it also reduces inflammation in the affected area, so that healing can occur. In short, laser therapy works to heal damaged body tissue, whereas opioids simply mask any pain for a while, until the medication wears off.
Will opioids be replaced?
Replacing opioids with laser therapy is not something that will happen anytime soon, even though mounting evidence makes a compelling case for why it should. Many older doctors are simply resistant to change and will continue to prescribe what they know, which are opioids. However, we believe laser therapy and other opioid alternatives will become the champion for pain relief. Until then, patients should take it upon themselves to learn the benefits of laser therapy, and the potential harm caused by opioids.
We invite you to visit our website to learn more or to contact us.
OrthoLazer Orthopedic Laser Centers offer patients and their doctors an innovative and effective alternative pain management option to treat acute and chronic orthopedic conditions. Founded by Dr. Scott Sigman – the original opioid-sparing surgeon – our centers further his mission of providing his patients with non-operative and non-opioid treatment options. If you’d like more information about OrthoLazer, please visit our website at ortholazer.com.