The Most Powerful of its Kind
Are you skeptical of light therapy as a treatment modality? Your confusion is understandable—there have been mixed messages and unrealized claims about various medical light therapy devices. A look at the research will help you better understand light therapy.
Power and density
The FDA regulates lasers for medical use. Unlike surgical medical lasers, which use precisely focused light to treat or remove tissue, therapy lasers do not focus light and do not harm tissue. Therapy lasers typically have a lower power density or irradiance (i.e., the power is spread out over a larger area). The FDA designates these lasers as biostimulation lasers. FDA approved the first Class 4 laser (greater than 0.5 watts) for the relief of minor muscle and joint pain. The higher powered lasers make it possible to not only apply the benefits of photobiomodulation superficially but also to treat a greatly expanded range of conditions by delivering a clinically effective dose to target areas below the skin (e.g., hamstring muscles).
5 Things You Need to Know about Laser Therapy
Clinicians are using laser therapy more often than ever before to help reduce pain and inflammation related to many common conditions.
Thousands of doctors and patients have experienced the power of laser therapy and are familiar with its therapeutic effects, but for those who aren’t, here are 5 things everyone should know about it:
1 – It Reduces Pain and Inflammation Without Side Effects
Laser therapy uses a process called photobiomodulation. Photons enter the tissue and interact with the cytochrome c complex within mitochondria. This interaction triggers a biological cascade of events that leads to an increase in cellular metabolism and a decrease in both pain and inflammation.
Unlike medications, laser therapy reduces pain without undesirable side effects.
It is also important to point out that patients report long-lasting pain relief. While the number of treatments required may vary depending on the acuity of the condition, many patients experience lasting relief after only a couple treatments.
2 – Can Be Used For Acute and Chronic Conditions
When treating acute conditions with laser therapy, it is particularly effective when it is administered as soon as possible following injury (assuming there is no active hemorrhaging). The faster the inflammation is reduced and the healing process can begin, the better. In the case of acute injury, laser therapy helps restore the body to normal function quicker.
With chronic conditions, laser therapy is used most often to help combat persistent pain and inflammation. The new LightForce EXP 25-watt laser is being used by clinicians to quickly reduce inflammation in patients suffering from chronic pain. This therapy laser is especially well-suited for treating chronic conditions because it enables clinicians to treat a wider area of interest while still delivering therapeutically relevant dosages.
3 – Treatments Can Be Customized For Each Situation
Lasers that have larger power ranges offer versatile treatment options. A laser that can be set to operate from 0.5 W all the way up to 25 W, allows the clinician flexibility to treat low and slow or at maximum output.
The availability of multiple treatment heads offers additional flexibility for the clinician. The LightForce Empower™ Delivery System, for example, features 5 different treatment heads, each designed to facilitate optimal delivery in different scenarios. It is important to have several delivery options to ensure the delivery method is appropriately matched to the situation. For instance, when treating over bony prominences, an off-contact treatment method is advisable. However, when treating deep-tissue structures, such as a hamstring, an on-contact massage ball attachment is best to reduce reflection and scattering, and also encourage deeper penetration by displacing excess fluids. Different sized treatment heads can also be advantageous for administering treatments that require varying levels of precision.
Advanced software is another tool that helps with treatment customization. Influence Technology™ allows clinicians to build custom treatments by selecting body region, condition, and specific patient characteristics. Touchscreens and intuitive selection processes make delivering the right dose easy. For even more customization, clinicians can also formulate their own protocols by entering a couple key components with LightForce’s newest software feature, Perfect Protocol™.
4 – Treatments Feel Good
One common question related to laser therapy is, “What does it feel like?” Depending on the laser, it can create little to no sensation or it can create a gentle, soothing warmth. Many patients receiving LightForce Laser Therapy treatments report enjoying the experience, especially when a massage-ball treatment head is used to deliver what is often referred to as a “laser massage.”
Patients receiving treatments with higher-power lasers also frequently report a rapid decrease in pain. For someone suffering from chronic pain, this effect can be particularly pronounced.
5 – Treatments Are Fast
With LightForce lasers, treatments are quick, usually 5-10 minutes depending on the size, depth, and acuteness of the condition being treated. High-power lasers are able to deliver a lot of energy in a small amount of time, so therapeutic dosages are achieved quickly. For people with packed schedules, patients and clinicians alike, fast and effective treatments are a must.
What Can Laser Therapy Treat?
Due to the drug-free, non-invasive nature of laser therapy it is often used as a powerful adjunct to existing treatment protocols. It can be used before, during, or after surgical procedures, alongside pharmacological management of certain conditions, and in conjunction with rehabilitation programs. Since laser therapy has a broad spectrum of physiological effects, mainly surrounding the reduction of pain and inflammation and increasing the speed of healing, it is a versatile tool as part of a multimodal approach to treating MANY common conditions in human medicine.
Common Conditions That Benefit from Laser Therapy
- Acute Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Geriatric Conditions
- Orthopedic Disorders
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Post Surgical Pain Relief
- Rotator Cuff
- Sports Medicine
- Sprains & Strains
- And More…
What Does Laser Do?
- GENERAL: The laser effects metabolism at the cellular level. It helps injured cells/ tissue heal quicker by enabling oxidative phosphorylation to be restored at mitochondria.
- More specific: Light receptor in the mitochondria (called a chromophore) accepts light and this impacts inner mitochondrial membrane at cytochrome-C Oxidase. Once activated, cells can produce more ATP, which helps restore normal cell metabolism.
- PAIN: It has unique analgesic abilities that can help decrease pain TODAY.
- Inflammation: decreases around the nerve which promotes long term relief.
- Increases factors that impact pain perception: Dopamine, Beta-endorphin, Nitric Oxide, Ach.
- Decreases inflammatory factors: Bradykinin, Prostaglandins (PGE-2), COX-2.
- Analgesia: afferent conduction rate of C and A-delta fibers slowed.
- Primary reason you can change pain levels during initial treatment.
- Can benefit both Chronic and Acute pain.
- Inflammation: decreases around the nerve which promotes long term relief.
- JOINTS: acts at synovium to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Good for swollen joints, OA. Safe over total joints/ metal implants.
- TISSUE HEALING: helps increase fibroblastic, osteoblastic, tenocyte activity.
- Promotes lay down of new collagen.
- Fibroblastic activity increases and number of fibroblasts is increased.
- Microcirculation and neovascularization both increase. Promotes tissue healing.
- Increases macrophage activity.
- Faster healing defends against chronic dysfunction.
Why should I (the patient) add it to my POC?
- It will help get patient out of pain quickly. Reduce need for meds.
- Will help reduce swelling and promote BETTER tissue healing.
- These factors will restore function faster.
- These factors are why professional and college teams are using laser.
- Will likely reduce POC visits: save on Co-pays, additional tests, and time off work.
- Will enable treatment sessions to be progressed faster/ more diverse 2 pain reduction.
Why should I buy a package (group of laser treatments)?
- Since laser hastens the healing process, it is best applied throughout the inflammatory, proliferative, and even the remodeling stages of healing to keep the cells stimulated.
- Days 1-10: focus is on pain relief and restoring normal ROM (2-3 x week)
- Days 11-30: continued pain relief with focus on resolving inflammation and promoting collagen lay down. (2 x week until pain-free, and transition to 1 x week)
- Day 30-60: Justification to use for soft tissue injuries during remodeling. (1 x week)
- Diagnosis subsets that might require additional visits (10+):
- Chronic pain/ Fibromyalgia: may require multiple treatments to help with nerve healing/ pain blocking as function is promoted with therapy.
- OA: may need periodic treatment after acute pain is treated to calm the synovium when gets inflamed. Type of maintenance therapy to avoid surgery, meds, injections.
- DOMS: helps with reducing muscle pain from exercise. Runners and high-level athletes may want treatment before/ after events to address muscle pain periodically.
- CHRONIC INJURIES: often require more treatments due to changes that need to take place at dysfunctional tissue. Examples: tendinosis, diabetic neuropathy, plantar fasciitis.
Contact Reddy Care today to see how Laser Therapy can help you recover!