Laser for Pain

Back pain is a common affliction that affects millions of people worldwide. Among the various causes of back pain, disc-related issues are particularly prevalent. The intervertebral discs, located between the vertebrae of the spine, play a crucial role in maintaining spinal flexibility and cushioning the vertebrae. When these discs become damaged or degenerate, they can lead to chronic and debilitating pain. In recent years, laser therapy has emerged as a promising treatment option for individuals suffering from disc-related pain. In this post, we will explore the science behind laser therapy and its effectiveness in alleviating disc pain, based on research articles.

How Do Discs Cause Back Pain?

Before delving into laser therapy, it’s essential to understand the mechanisms behind disc-related back pain. There are two primary conditions that are connected to disc pain that we will talk about today. 

  • Herniated Discs: Also known as slipped or ruptured discs, herniated discs occur when the soft inner core of the intervertebral disc (nucleus pulposus) bulges out through a tear in the disc’s tough outer layer (annulus fibrosus). These act as cushions between the vertebrae in the spine, providing flexibility and shock absorption. The bulging (inflammation) of the nucleus pulposus can compress nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the back and extremities. 
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: This is a common spinal condition characterized by the gradual deterioration of the intervertebral discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine. Over time, these discs lose their flexibility and ability to absorb shock, often due to the natural aging process, genetic factors, or excessive wear and tear on the spine. As the discs break down, they can lead to a range of symptoms, including chronic back or neck pain, stiffness, and in some cases, radiating pain or numbness in the arms or legs if the damaged disc compresses nearby nerves.

Laser Therapy!

Laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, is a non-invasive medical treatment that utilizes low-intensity laser light to stimulate cellular processes. To read more about the science behind PBM, read our blog post about it here! Laser therapy has gained attention as a potential solution for disc-related pain due to its ability to reduce inflammation, promote tissue repair, and alleviate pain.

How Can Laser Help Your Back Pain?

  • Reduction in Inflammation: A study published in the “International Journal of Academic Research” in 2016 investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of laser therapy on herniated discs. The researchers found that laser therapy reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, thus aiding in decreasing inflammation in disc tissues.
  • Pain Relief: Laser therapy has been approved by the FDA as being an effective treatment option for pain management. For herniated disc related pain, a large part of the pain comes from the bulging and inflammation of the nucleus pulposus. As the laser reduces the inflammation, the pressure on surrounding nerves is reduced and therefore, pain is reduced.
  • Tissue Regeneration: Laser therapy has also been shown to stimulate tissue regeneration. Research published in “Lasers in Medical Science” in 2017 demonstrated that laser therapy enhanced the proliferation of intervertebral disc cells, which is a fancy way to say increased cellular growth. A study in 2020 showed an increase of MRI disc signal of the intervertebral discs within the first year after treatment; which, confirms regenerative response of the disc to laser therapy.


In the quest for effective treatments for disc-related pain, I am pleased to report, laser therapy has emerged as a promising option backed by scientific research. Its ability to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and stimulate tissue repair makes it a valuable tool in the management of herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. Laser therapy offers a non-invasive approach to not only help with pain, but also possibly working to repair and regenerate the discs. How exciting!

Professional Acknowledgments

It is important to note, however, individual responses to treatment may vary, and laser therapy should be used in consultation with a healthcare provider or completed with a certified and trained professional. As research in this field continues to evolve, laser therapy may become an increasingly integral part of the comprehensive approach to managing disc-related pain. If you have back pain or specifically disc pain and would like some relief, call us today at +1(623)632-0242 to get scheduled for an evaluation with our highly trained staff, or schedule one online here!