LASER THERAPY - AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR SHINGLES (HERPES ZOSTER)
The CDC states that almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles (herpes zoster), at some point in their lifetime. There is an estimated 1 million cases of shingles per year in the US alone, and about 10-13% of people will develop a painful condition called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN). People with PHN develop severe pain along the areas where they had the shingles breakout. Even after the rash clears up, nerve pain and discomfort can be felt for up to years.
Current treatments for shingles are antiretrovirals, corticosteroids, and painkillers, often with mixed results. There is also no current treatment of prevention of postherpetic neuralgia. However, low level laser therapy (LLLT) has shown promising results for the treatment of acute shingles as well as PHN.
One study revealed that applying low level laser therapy within the first 5 days of a shingles eruption significantly reduce the incidence and possibly prevent PHN. Another study confirmed that, “This result might be explained by the anti-inflammatory effect, nerve regeneration, and indirect viral deactivation stimulated by LLLT.” One month after the eruption, 27.3% of the patients not receiving LLLT continued to suffer from pain and postherpetic neuralgia, while 8.3% of patients with acute shingles receiving laser therapy were diagnosed with PHN.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) uses red and infrared light to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and promote ATP production in the mitochondria of cells. They are designed to reduce pain and inflammation as well as enhance tissue healing. It increases oxygenation of tissues and allows inflamed and damaged cells to absorb photons of light, speeding up the healing process. LLLT breaks the cycle of chronic inflammation by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines for effective relief. Whether chronic or acute, laser therapy is a pain-free and non-invasive treatment for herpes zoster nerve pain with no side effects.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with shingles, postherpetic neuralgia, or is at risk for shingles, give us a call at 604-678-8600 to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation to see if laser therapy can be beneficial for you.