Light Therapy to Heal Chronic Pain

June 1, 2018  Source: Ddu 195

The type of chronic pain named neuropathy arises due to damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Even the slightest touch might cause severe pain in this condition.

A research team from Italy reported that a glance of light might provide relief from pain. They first identified the oversensitive nerve cells that cause chronic pain. Then, a light-sensitive chemical was developed and injected, which binds to these nerve cells. Next, a flash of near-infrared light was passed to the exact nerve in order to provide instant pain relief. This strategy was experimentally proved in mice.

The lead researcher Paul Heppenstall at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Rome said, "It's like eating a strong curry, which burns the nerve endings in your mouth and desensitizes them for some time."

This temporary therapy exactly targets the nerve cells sensitivity to gentle touch. Other nerve cells are not affected by the light therapy. However, the treatment is only temporary since the nerve endings grow back after about three weeks, and the person would become sensitive once again.

The researchers still need to check the safety of this treatment in humans and whether the level of sensitivity to gentle touch is the same in mice as in people.

Heppenstall further said, "A lot of work needs to be done before we can do a similar study in people with neuropathic pain; but the researchers want to develop the technology further, with the hope of one day using it in the clinic."

By Ddu