Cold Laser Therapy .... Pain Management

Once the light energy passes through the layers of skin and reaches the target area, it is absorbed and interacts with the light sensitive elements in the cell. This process can be compared to photosynthesis in plants - sunlight is absorbed by plants, which is then converted to usable energy so that the plant can grow.

When cells absorb this light energy, it initiates a series of events in the cell that is theorized to eventually result in normalizing damaged or injured tissue, a reduction in pain, inflammation, edema and an overall reduction in healing time by increasing intracellular metabolism.

Cold laser therapy can stimulate all cell types including muscle, ligament, cartilage, nerves, etc., so a number of conditions can be treated by cold laser therapy. Some of conditions that may typically be treated by cold laser therapy include:

1. Arthritis pain
2. Back pain
3. Carpal tunnel syndrome
4. Fibromyalgia pain
5. Knee pain
6. Neck pain
7. Tendonitis

                    

Effectiveness of Cold Laser Therapy

For years, physicians have been using cold laser therapy on patients who are seeking effective, alternative methods for pain relief. Since 1967 there have been over 2,500 clinical studies published worldwide. Many of these studies are double-blinded, placebo-controlled and have demonstrated cold laser therapy to be a proven method for pain relief.

However, many of these studies were done with small groups, so further larger studies need to be completed. For example, one issue that needs to be studied further is that there does not appear to be a uniform standard regarding the dose and number of treatments.

Cold laser therapy is a newer procedure with several advantages and disadvantages. This article outlines some of the advantages, risks, and contraindications for cold laser therapy.

Potential Cold Laser Therapy Advantages

Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that it does not require a surgical incision. This means that there is no prolonged recovery time. Laser therapy also does not involve taking any medications, and many patients prefer to avoid taking medications. Studies have so far found that cold laser therapy does not have serious side effects when used properly by a doctor.

Contraindications

Cold laser therapy should not be used over any suspicious cancerous lesions, or carcinoma, over the thyroid, on pregnant patients, and there should not be direct irradiation of the eyes, as the laser can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Pregnant women are recommended not to undergo the procedure, since its effects on unborn children are not yet known. The doctor and the patient should use protective eyeglasses so that there is no direct eye exposure.

Summary

Cold laser therapy is one option among a variety of treatment approaches that can potentially provide pain relief or pain reduction, especially for patients seeking a treatment without the use of surgery or drugs. It can be used alone or in combination with a number of other therapies.

it is considered a viable treatment option for those seeking an alternative to invasive treatment. Cold laser therapy is yet another method in the set of tools to help assist in pain relief, and it is considered a reasonable treatment option for certain types of pain by most health care professionals.

Cold Laser (Low Level Light Therapy) offers hope with little or no risk compared to the therapies and drugs that are already suggested to you for pain management.


     

In USA, the FDA cleared cold laser devices for the treatment of a variety of pain related musculoskeletal and arthritis conditions and for the acceleration of wound healing. Cold Laser therapy is being used by governmental agencies such as NASA for treating medical conditions in space applications. The US Olympic training facilities have released statements of endorsement of laser therapy for athletes. The growing acceptance of laser therapy in mainstream medicine is an indication of the medical efficacy of this treatment modality. It is not only a viable option, but often a superior treatment option.

The effects of laser therapy

  • Reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes that create swelling, redness, pain and heat.
  • Stimulates nerve regeneration, muscle relaxation
  • The cells in the human body need electrons to communicate with each other. Laser light delivers the required electrons directly to the cells and enhances their ability to produce ATP (energy)
  • Laser therapy causes the release of healing enzymes and the production of endorphins, which are natural pain killers.
  • Enhances lymphatic drainage, which increases circulation and speeds healing.
  • Releases tight muscles (both smooth and striated) that create chronic pain, joint problems, and decreased mobility.
  • Speeds bone repair by stimulating fibroblastic and osteoblastic proliferation.
  • Enhanced fibroblast formation and collagen synthesis with improved tissue strength values
  • Neovascularisation of lymphatic and blood vessels as well as vasodilatation, improved microcirculation and lymphatic drainage helps in resorption of oedema.
  • Larger quantity of granulation tissue and accelerated epithelisation.
  • Increased activity of osteoblasts promotes the formation of callus.
  • Regulation of muscle tissue including myocardium.
  • Enhancement of peripheral nerve re-growth.
  • Prevention of nerve degeneration and regeneration of peripheral axons after injury.
  • Measurable changes in the potential of nerve cell membranes lead to its hyperpolarization as a good analgesic mechanism.
  • Changes in transmitter concentration at the neuron synapses.
  • Accumulation of 5-OH-indoleacetate (serotonin metabolite)
  • Relaxation of muscles induced by the neuromuscular unit (ATP increase).
  • Activation of proliferation of immune cells including macrophages.
  • Immune suppressive effect by reduced antigen perception of the T-lymphocytes (increased acceptance of a transplant).