Monday September 10, 2018
Current treatments for muscle injuries include two promising therapies: low-level laser therapy and cryotherapy. But what are these therapies and how do they help relieve pain associated with muscle injury? And which is better for relieving pain associated with strained muscles?
Typical sports medicine injuries, or injuries to the musculoskeletal system, are the result of strains, contusions, ischemia (poor or inadequate supply of blood to muscle tissue), and nerve damage. These injuries can be contributed to a singular traumatic event or may result from damage due to degenerative processes.
What is cryotherapy and how is it used on strained muscles?
Cryo treatment, or ice pack therapy, helps relieve muscle strain by lowering the temperature of the blood circulating through the tissue; it can further numb the pain of sore muscles by cooling down the nerves. The effects are usually temporary and may cause numbness or tingling, and redness or irritation of the skin where the ice pack was applied.
Acute muscle injuries generally create a pro-inflammatory response; current therapies that are most commonly used to treat these injuries include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin or ibuprofen, and cryogenic therapy. Cryotherapy treatment describes the commonplace protocol of applying localized, freezing temperatures for the improvement of tissue health—in other words, icing an injury to help in muscle recovery.
What is laser therapy and how is it used on strained muscles?
A new approach to relieving muscle pain is the use of low-level laser therapy. Laser therapy has only recently been used in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, but is proving more effective than NSAIDs or cryotherapy. Laser therapy for muscle recovery can help by improving regional circulation.
In clinical studies, the use of low-level laser therapy on sports medicine patients has not only shown a significant reduction of symptoms post-workout, but when applied before and during gameplay, low-level laser can help the overall health and recovery of strained muscles1,2.
How is laser therapy applied to sports medicine today?
Developed specifically to treat muscle injuries in a sports medicine capacity, the MR5 ACTIV PRO series offers more power and features for athletic trainers, clinicians and athletes on the go. The portability of these cordless lasers allows ATs to safely deliver game-side treatments, offering powerful pain relief for superior results.