Photobiomodulation (PBM) is an effective tool for the management of spinal pain including inflammation of facet joints. Apart from cervical and lumbar joint pain the upper cervical spine facet joint inflammation can result in the CGH (traumatic or atraumatic in origin). This condition affects children, adults and elders and is responsible for 19% of chronic headache and up to 33% of patients in pain clinics. The condition responds well to physiotherapy, facet joint injection, radiofrequency neurotomy and surgery at a rate of 75%. The other 25% being unresponsive to treatment with no identified features of unresponsiveness. In other conditions of chronic unresponsive cervical pain have responded to photobiomodulation at a level of 80% in the short and medium term.
A clinical trial was therefore conducted on a cohort of atraumatic patients from the ages of 5-93 (predominantly Neurologist referred / familial sufferers 2/3 generations vertically and laterally) who had responded to a course of PBM and physiotherapy. The CGH sufferers and their non CGH suffering relatives over these generations were then compared for features that distinguish the two groups. Fifty parameters were tested (anthropmetric, movement and neural tension tests included) and there was a noted difference in tandem stance between the groups (.04 significance with repeated measures).
As this impairment is common to benign ataxia and migrainous vertigo and in these conditions there is an ion channelopathy (especially potassium channelopathy). A postulated mechanism of action of PBM would involve modulation of ion channels and this is discussed in this presentation.
Ann D. Liebert and Brian Bicknell, "Clinical trial involving sufferers and non-sufferers of cervicogenic headache (CGH): potential mechanisms of action of photobiomodulation (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10048, Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation Therapy XII, 1004803 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251773.5370275135001.
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