There may be hope for people suffering from chronic pain with a laser treatment promising to give some relief from agony.
Dr Roberta Chow has worked all her life to prove today's magic can be tomorrow's science.
She has spent 21 years treating neck pain with a low level (or cold) laser, a high tech version of acupuncture.
But despite more than 1000 satisfied patients, a PhD and even a federal government research grant, the medical establishment would not take her work seriously.
"Academic ivory tower medicine cannot cope with the fact that a GP, out in the back blocks of suburbia, could know something and could find out something that they don't know," she said.
Now Dr Chow has something to silence her critics: world first findings published in the British medical journal, The Lancet.
Neuroscientist Dr Patricia Armati from Sydney University's Brain Mind Research Institute led the team of researchers that showed just how cold laser stops pain.
"So what we have hypothesised is that the laser stops the nerve conducting information," Dr Armati said.
"It does this because it interrupts the little cyto-skeleton that runs along nerve fibres. That stops the little powerhouses that are run up and down your nerves called mitochondria from moving, so that the whole cell function is blocked."
Dr Roberta Chow
Castle Hill Medical Centre
(02) 9634 5000
About Dr Chow
The Brain and Mind Research Institute, Sydney University
Dr Patricia Armati
About Dr Patricia Armati
The Lancet, November 13, 2009
"Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials."