What Is Laser Therapy?
Laser Therapy is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near infrared) to create therapeutic effects. These effects include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation, and decreased swelling. Most lasers on the market today have a power range from 5 milliwatts–500milliwatts, making them a class III B cold laser. Our FDA approved LiteCure laser will emit a power range from 1,000 milliwatts -10,000 milliwatts making it a class IV laser and several times more powerful than most other therapeutic lasers.
Is It Safe and Are There Any Side Effects?
Laser Therapy is very safe and there are no known side effects. It is contraindicated, however, for patients who are taking light sensitive drugs or who are pregnant. We also do not perform Laser Therapy over an area that has been injected with steroids within 7 days. It is not to be used over the thyroid gland or in the eye. It cannot be used on patients with active forms of cancer.
What Types of Conditions Can Be Treated With Class IV Laser?
How Do Lasers Work?
The photons of laser light penetrate through your skin and are absorbed by special components in your body's cells called chromophores. Just as photosynthesis creates energy for plants, the absorption of the photons by your cells causes increased production of cellular energy. In areas of injury or damage, this means there is more energy available to improve the rate and quality of healing. This is called biostimulation.
The skin absorbs photons via a photo-chemical effect, not photo-thermal; therefore; it does not cause heat damage to the tissues. Once photons reach the cells of the body, they promote a cascade of cellular activities. It can ignite the production of enzymes, stimulate mitochondria, increase vasodilation and lymphatic drainage, synthesize ATP, and elevate collagen formation substances to prevent the formation of scar tissues. This is a critical step in reducing long-term disabling chronic myofascial pain syndromes and joint hypermobility.
For patients, that means relief from acute and chronic pain, reduced inflammation, and muscle spasms, improved range of motion and restored function. Patients suffering from headaches, neck pain, carpal tunnel, low back pain, sports injuries, post-surgical pain and more have been helped with laser therapy.
Top Biological Effects of Laser Therapy
Laser Therapy has a highly beneficial effect on nerve cells which block pain transmitted by these cells to the brain and which decreases nerve sensitivity. Also, due to less inflammation, there is less pain.
Accelerated Tissue Repair and Cell Growth
Photons of light from lasers penetrate deeply into tissue and accelerate cellular reproduction and growth. The laser light increases the energy available to the cell so that the cell can take on nutrients faster and get rid of waste products. As a result of exposure to laser light, the cells of tendons, ligaments and muscles are repaired faster.
Faster Wound Healing
Laser light stimulates fibroblast development [fibroblasts are the building blocks of collagen, which is predominant in wound healing] in damaged tissue. Collagen is the essential protein required to replace old tissue or to repair tissue injuries.
Reduced Fibrous Tissue Formation
Laser Therapy reduces the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.
Laser light therapy has anti-inflammatory properties as it causes both vasodilation and stimulation of the lymphatic drainage system to help reduce swelling.
Improved Vascular Activity
Laser light will significantly increase the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue that speeds up the healing process, closes wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.
Improved Nerve Function
Slow recovery of nerve functions in damaged tissue can result in numbness and impaired limbs. Laser light will speed up the process of nerve cell reconnection and increase the amplitude of action potentials to optimize muscle action.
Laser therapy stimulates muscle trigger points on a non-invasive basis providing musculoskeletal pain relief.
Will It Interfere With My Medications?
No, Laser Therapy does not interfere with your medications. However, your medications may interfere with the Laser Therapy treatment. It has been shown that steroid medication, such as corticosteroid injections, reduces the positive effects of Laser Therapy. It is therefore very important that you inform your Laser Therapy practitioner if you are being treated with steroid-based medications.
Does It Hurt? What Does A Treatment Feel Like?
No, Laser Therapy does not hurt. It actually feels quite good and there is a sense of warmth over the area that is being treated.
How Can I Learn More About Laser Therapy?
Ask your doctor! A steadily growing number of health care practitioners are offering Laser Therapy to their patients. If your doctor does not offer Laser Therapy and believes that it could help your specific health condition, they should be able to refer you to a doctor who does.
Laser Therapy For Neck Pain: Good News
A recent review of studies concludes that low-level Laser Therapy is immediately effective (as little as one treatment visit) for acute neck pain and effective up to 22 weeks following multiple treatments for chronic neck pain. The study reviewed 16 previous studies and found Laser Therapy to be effective overall, with results comparing "favorably with other widely used therapies, and especially with pharmacological [drug] interventions, for which evidence is sparse and side-effects are common". Good news considering neck pain is one of the more common and disabling conditions, accounting for diminished quality of life and substantial use of OTC medications.
How Many Treatments Will Be Required? How Long Does Each Treatment Take?
The number of treatments required depends on the nature of the problem and the length of time the patient has been affected by it. It is not uncommon to see significant improvement in just one session. Chronic problems and/or deep-seated conditions may take as many as 10 treatments. If there is no improvement after six sessions, we would most likely discontinue further treatment. A typical treatment will take from 5-10 minutes.
How Do I Prepare For Laser Therapy Treatment?
Since laser light does not pass through clothing, Laser Therapy must be delivered directly to the skin. Wear clothing that can easily reveal the treatment area or you may need to change into a gown at your chiropractor's office.