LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), is also known as photobiomodulation and cold laser therapy. This form of non-invasive therapy stimulates the body’s cellular metabolism and helps to improve tissue repair, reduce pain and inflammation wherever the beam is applied. It can be used as a therapy by itself or as an adjunct to other methods. Treatments take only a few minutes and can be applied two or more times a week.
The word L.A.S.E.R. is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. This concept was first introduced by Albert Einstein, but it was not until the early 1960’s that Lasers were used as a method of therapy. It has been shown through research that Laser Therapy can be used to treat many indications producing benefits such as:
- Improved Circulation, brought about by widening of capillaries and arteries
- Reduction in Swelling, the result of improved lymphatic system drainage
- Release of the body’s own pain killing chemicals, for extended pain relief
- Stimulation of collagen production, an important aspect in wound healing
For the last 4 decades, scientists and doctors around the world, especially in Europe, have been using Laser Therapy to treat different conditions related to soft tissue problems.
What Does Laser Therapy Do?
By sending a Low Level Laser Light through treatment applicators, cellular function is normalized and this results in faster wound healing and pain reduction. In essence, Laser Therapy works in harmony with the body’s own healing and pain relieving mechanisms.
Accelerated Tissue Repair
Photons of light from a laser penetrate deeply into tissue and power the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule that is a major carrier of energy from one reaction site to another in all living cells. Increases in ATP as a result of laser light increases the energy available to the cell so that the cell can take in nutrients faster and get rid of waste products. In straight forward terms, the cells of tendons, ligaments and muscles are repaired faster as a result of exposure to laser light. How much faster? A good rule of thumb is that the time for healing is reduced by approximately 70% it would normally take with all other factors remaining the same. i.e. rest, feed, training, etc.
Collagen is the essential protein required for the repair of tissue injuries. Fibroblasts are responsible for the production of collagen and when they are stimulated by laser light, they increase collagen production. Therefore, when using laser light, wounds are healed very rapidly. There is also less scar tissue formed when laser light is applied to an area that has been traumatized.
Laser light has a highly beneficial effect on nerve cells which block pain transmitted by these cells to the brain. Studies have shown that laser light increases the activity of the ATP dependent Sodium Potassium (NA-K) pumps. Greater activity means a greater potential difference across the cell membrane, that scientific talk for making it hard for an irritated nerve fiber that is very sensitive to create a signal to your brain. Hence you feel less pain. A less understood pain blocking mechanism involves the production of high levels ofchemicals such as endorphins and enkephelins from the brain, adrenal gland and other areas as a result of exposure to laser light.
Everyone wants to reduce swelling (also known as edema) after an injury. The problem is that the veins can only transport some of the components of edema seen after an injury. The lymphatic system takes away the majority of the destroyed tissue after an injury. Various studies performed in the 80s showed that laser light helps to increase the size of the lymphatic ducts in the area of exposure and rapidly removing the protein waste.
Formation of New Capillaries and Increased Blood Flow
Many types of treatments will increase blood flow. It has been shown that laser light does this extremely well, there is no question about that point. But, what is not commonly recognized is that laser light will significantly increase the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue. It is the formation of new capillaries that speeds up the healing process, closes wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.
What are the Contra-Indications to Laser Therapy?
One of the greatest risks of laser therapy is damage to the eyes. Cold-laser therapy treatments should always be conducted with proper safety glasses worn by both the patient and the practitioner. Other potential risks include:
- No treatment over suspect tumors or cancer cells
- No treatment over the thyroid
- No treatment over the fontanelle of infants
- No treatment if the patient is using photo-sensitive or immuno-suppressant drugs.
- No treatment over the pregnant uterus. It may be used on the pregnant woman as an adjunct to the other modalities being used for the treatment of back pain or other complaints.
- No treatment Over Sympathetic Ganglia, The Vagus Nerves & Cardiac Region In Patients With Heart Disease
These potential risks are a conservative precaution and have not been completely proven. Special exceptions are already being discovered including the use of laser-therapy to help with macular degeneration.
If you would like to find out if Laser Therapy is right for your condition, Call the Clinic Now
CAUTION: The above is only a guide and should not be used as a substitute for being evaluated by a regulated health care professional that has experience in managing whiplash associated disorders. If you have any questions about your condition, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. If you feel that this is a medical emergency, please visit your closest hospital emergency department.