Pain affects at least 1 in 3 Americans, and there are about 116 million Americans affected by serious chronic pain annually.

This has created a public health crisis, costing the country $560 billion to $635 billion each year because of lost productivity and absenteeism from work and leisure activities.

Studied by NASA and long preferred by professional and Olympic athletes who need to get back into the game as soon as possible, laser technology for treatment of acute and chronic pain associated with neck, back and other musculoskeletal issues is just now becoming available to the general public.

This state-of-the-art approach to pain treatment is called Low Level Laser therapy and applies specific wavelengths of light to promote tissue repair and reduce inflammation in a noninvasive, nonsurgical way. The treatment is painless and for most patients offers relief after just a few appointments.

LLLT has been shown to accelerate healing by eliminating pain, reducing spasms and increasing function where ever the laser beam is applied.

Instead of a traditional invasive approach, LLLT allows patients to receive pain-free treatment that results in optimal return to daily activity. Physicians determine the correct synchronization of continuous pulsed laser emissions to use which are delivered to the affected area with calibrated precision.

Pain relief usually can occur as fast as 1 minute, decrease in inflammation in 1 hour and tissue repair begins in one day.

An acute injury requires one to five treatments and for a chronic injury five to 20 treatments. The sooner an injury is treated, the faster it recovers. The recommended frequency for treatment is usually two to three times a week.

Traditional pain therapies can result in addiction to prescription medication, liver and kidney failure, bleeding ulcers, infection, paralysis and even death.

A major benefit of laser technology for the treatment of pain is that it can eliminate the need for long term anti-inflammatory usage, steroid injections and other invasive pain treatments, and for many patients, allows them to avoid surgery all together.

FDA approved, the technology is safe, effective, scientifically supported and cost effective.

Dr. Howard B. Cotler is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in trauma and spine surgery. For information, visit or call 281-669-0675.

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