It is time for society to focus its efforts on pain remedies that do not lead to addiction. This is necessary, especially in the United States, where opioid addiction has reached an all-time high. In fact, “more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on [them]”, as reported by in an article by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
It is important for Pepperdine students to be aware of alternative pain medication before graduating and beginning lives where their personal decisions will have greater consequential impacts on their futures. These students will need access to safer pain management now that there is limited access to other pain medications.
Red-light treatment, which also takes the name photobiomodulation, is a form of therapy that does not require pills of any kind. This type of therapy is great as it can replace addictive pain medicine.
Red light treatment is a process that only involves concentrated wavelengths of light, without toxic UV rays or excess heat. These wavelengths of natural light stimulate the mitochondria in the human cells and turn it into usable energy for bodies to use through the process of cellular respiration. This information is described by Scott Nelson in the article ‘How Does Red Light Therapy Actually Work?’
Cancer is an illness that unfortunately torments a lot of people. “A common complication of cancer chemotherapy … [that] causes the mucosal lining of the mouth to atrophy and break down, forming ulcers,” is known as oral mucositis, as depicted by Nathaniel S Treister in the article ‘Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis.’ But luckily, light treatment has succeeded notably in preventing this ordeal.
“Many cancer patients can now benefit from this treatment,” according to Praveen Arany, assistant professor of oral biology at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, in the article ‘Light Therapy Could Replace Opioids As Main Treatment For Cancer Treatment Mouth Ulcers.’
Also in many cases, if a patient was to undergo this treatment before initially receiving chemo for cancer, the adverse effects such as oral mucositis could be avoided altogether. The treatment eradicates the pain element which strengthens the patient in fending against cancer, as oral mucositis often leads to a decrease in eating due to the pain it causes.
The primary cons of this treatment include its price. Novothor, a company that sells light therapy products to businesses as well as consumers, provides products with prices that begin at $20,000. The average American has a yearly income of $46,800, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report on the Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers.
Therefore, the tempting option may be to use that money elsewhere and just rely on plain and simple drugs. However, this would not be the most advisable option to take because pills simply disguise pain while photobiomodulation targets pain at the source by “[relaxing] and [redeveloping] muscles,” as revealed by a representative of Novothor.
The side effects of red light therapy are minimal in comparison to what can occur when opioids are mishandled. The aftermath includes burns that can develop if someone falls asleep in a red light bed. Nevertheless, the benefits of this therapy outweigh the cons. Hopefully, in the coming years, photobiomodulation’s popularity will rise, allowing it to be a treatment option that can be shared by all.
As a college, Pepperdine should invite more guest speakers who are knowledgeable in photobiomodulation to come and speak to its students. If students are provided with this information more often, they will be more conscious of the variety of options they have. This will eventually reduce the dependency many young people have of turning to drugs as a convenient option for pain relief.
Email Anita Okoroafor: firstname.lastname@example.org