New breakthroughs in medicine, including for treating knee pain, are nothing new. For the last two hundred years, leaps and bounds in the field have been made, taking society from the infancy of modern medicine through to today’s miraculous life saving and health improving maneuvers. One area of medicine that is growing especially rapidly is the field of alternative medicine which includes natural treatments as well. Two especially popular techniques, whole body cryotherapy and low level laser therapy, are both purported methods of natural, non invasive, non medicinal yet effective treatment.
In terms of treating knee pain, both methods have been used with varying levels of success. However, while some promising studies have been conducted that will be mentioned in this article, the use of these methods for knee pain treatment is perhaps more appropriately compared in terms of cost, usage, practicality and safety until more controlled and well documented studies provide more information about conclusive treatment successes.
Treating Knee Pain With Cold Laser Therapy
Low-Level laser therapy involves the use of low level (also known as low power or cold) lasers to stimulate (as opposed to damage or destroy) tissue, which is thought to help promote various cellular functions. It’s used primarily for conditions that affect the joints of the body such as is the case when treating knee pain, elbow pain, hip pain or other discomfort in the neck or back areas. Specifically thought to be useful in combating inflammation, low level laser therapy is also very popular in persons suffering from knee tendonitis.
There are not many studies in existence on the use of low level laser therapy in many conditions, however one in particular found that the therapy was very effective in treating knee pain associated with knee osteoarthritis and that the positive and successful results were in stark contrast to a placebo group. Here are more detailed overviews of 5 studies related to treating knee pain with cold laser therapy:
- Cold laser therapy can be effective for reducing knee pain and improving function in people with knee osteoarthritis. A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found that people who received cold laser therapy had significant improvements in pain and function compared to those who received a placebo treatment.
- Cold laser therapy can also be beneficial for reducing pain and inflammation in people with knee injuries. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that athletes who received cold laser therapy for treating knee pain after injury had significant reductions in pain and inflammation compared to those who received a placebo treatment.
- Cold laser therapy has been shown to increase blood flow and improve tissue healing in the knee. A study published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics found that cold laser therapy increased blood flow and improved tissue healing in people with knee osteoarthritis.
- Cold laser therapy may be a safe and effective alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for knee pain. A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that cold laser therapy was as effective as NSAIDs for reducing knee pain, but without the potential side effects of medication.
- The benefits of cold laser therapy for knee pain may be long-lasting. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that people with knee osteoarthritis who received cold laser therapy had significant reductions in pain and improvements in function that lasted for up to 12 weeks after treatment.
Of course, there are downsides to treating knee pain and other common conditions with cold laser therapy. One of these is cost. For many people and in many situations, up to ten treatments are required for measurable results. At $50.00 per treatment, this can really add up fast.
What’s also important to understand as well is that even if low level laser therapy successfully works to relieve sore knee joints or other types of chronic pain, it’s localized treatment specifically targeting only the area being treated. So if joint inflammation of the elbow is causing discomfort, cold laser therapy may help after numerous treatments, but it will not help any other area that is left untreated. This can be an issue when treating knee pain in particular. If both knees are problematic, individual treatments may be required for each knee which could be time consuming and expensive.
Safety is not considered to be an issue with cold lasers used by professionals in a medical setting. However the expense of the procedure has led some to purchase at home lasers, which can cost anywhere from $500-$2000.00 dollars or more. Unfortunately, these types of personal therapy lasers come with a whole mess of safety issues including damaging burns. Thankfully there is another type of therapy that is guaranteed safe for not only treating knee pain, but an extensive variety of other conditions and causes for discomfort, too.
Treating Knee Pain With Cryo
Whole body cryotherapy AKA cryo, the literal freezing of the external body via super cooled gases from liquid nitrogen, might sound like a brazen, dangerous and space aged treatment. But, there are no safety issues associated with the procedure in the absence of unknown health problems or improper usage. A cryo chamber (or, cryosauna) is used to completely enclose the body with the exception of the head. For a period of just a couple of minutes, the surface of the skin is rapidly cooled which surprisingly is not terribly uncomfortable.
There are numerous benefits to the procedure, which has become incredibly popular with athletes and celebrities like Tony Robbins alike. Though the way in which cold laser therapy purportedly works remains unclear, the mechanisms of action of whole body cryotherapy have been fairly well explored. It’s thought that through various response processes activated in the body from the external freezing, numerous healing processes can take place via the immune system, nervous system and endocrine system.
The benefits here are numerous, but in particular, whole body cryotherapy actually affects and treats the entire body every time it’s used, and the effects can be long lasting. So, an individual in for treating knee pain may experience inflammation reducing benefits as a bonus. This form of natural pain relief is still pricey and still requires numerous treatments that can be as expensive as $100.00 each. At our Cryotherapy Toronto clinic, however, our prices are very competitive and start at only $29 for a trial session for new customers. However, each treatment provides benefit to the whole body, and many people find the positive pain relieving and good feeling benefits last long after each session.
The use of cold technology is rapidly changing the way we think about and treat pain. No longer is the ice pack the only method of chilling painful joints, muscles and injuries. With new technology comes greater cost and in some cases, more risk. However, some advanced treatment options provide safe, effective treatment that is well worth their balanced price point.