Low-level laser therapy could be effective pain relief for diabetic neuropathy

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 29 Mar 2017
Low-level laser therapy could be effective pain relief for diabetic neuropathy
Low-level laser therapy for pain related to diabetic neuropathy has shown to be effective in a new research trial.

The laser therapy, a non-invasive treatment, was tested on rats during a study in Brazil, which showed it helped to decrease pain often associated with nerve damage.

Neuropathy, a nerve disorder, can be very painful for some patients, and in some extreme cases may lead to limb amputation. Keeping good control of blood glucose levels can help people with diabetes to avoid developing neuropathy.

Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo's Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) initially scheduled ten sessions of phototherapy every day ten days in rodent models of diabetic neuropathy.

As treatment progressed, the condition of the rats' nerves was found to return to the same levels as before the study, with significant improvements observed after the fourth session.

"We plan to apply the technique to humans, so we used similar therapeutic protocols," said principal investigator Professor Marucia Chacur.

Chacur added that "behavioral responses" improved in all the animals who were treated with the laser therapy.

"We began the treatment after 45 days, when the neuropathic condition was well-established and had become chronic. We used a 904-nanometer laser, which can penetrate deep into tissue," said Chacur.

The researchers concluded that the use of low-level therapy is a feasible treatment for reducing nerve pain and protecting nerve fibres from damage. However, they added that more tests will be needed to confirm its full biological effects.

The study has been published in the journal Lasers in Medical Science.
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