In some individuals, laser therapy works “miracles”, while in others, there is little to no improvement. However, for the majority, laser therapy does improve the quality of life by decreasing the level of pain and helping with the healing process.
Is it painful? Is it safe?
In elementary school, we learned about photosynthesis, where plants change light energy into changed to chemical energy. The energy from the sun’s light is absorbed by proteins inside little organelles in the leaf cells called chloroplasts. One of many chemicals produced is ATP. ATP is the “energy currency” in all cells, including animal cells. This energy is used by the plant cells to promote sugar production and plant growth. In animal cells, it is the energy utilized for a multitude of functions including cell growth, hormone production, and cell metabolism.
Laser therapy, “photobiomodulation” works through a similar process. “Photo” referring to light. “Bio” referring to life processes. The light emitted by the laser stimulates similar chemical and biological effects in animal cells and tissues. The cells absorb the light photons through specialized structures in the mitochondria and cell membranes called chromophores. Changes occur within the cell membranes, and a cascade of physiological changes follows, including the production of ATP, the release of nitric oxide, beta-endorphins, and serotonins. These chemicals affect many types of cells, such as macrophages, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and nerve cells, reducing pain and stimulating the healing process of tissues.
How Does it Work?
It is not painful. It is extremely safe. If improperly used, there are two possible hazards. One involves the burning of tissues, and the other involves damage to the eyes. Our clinic uses a Class 3B laser, a cold laser. Cold lasers do not produce excessive levels of heat. Even when misused, it takes extremely prolonged contact to burn the patient. Class 4 lasers do create significant amounts of heat in short periods of time, increasing the danger of tissue damage. Eye damage occurs if the laser beam is projected directly into the eyes for a lengthy period. Even small over the counter laser pointer beams can damage your eyes.
What types of medical conditions respond to laser therapy?
Pain management and tissue healing are the primary reasons for laser therapy. Any medical condition that has pain involvement can benefit from laser therapy. They include post-surgical care, strained ligaments, muscle trauma, disc pain, and joint pain. Medical conditions such as burns, delayed wound healing, skin infections, and ear infections benefit from the tissue healing properties of laser therapy. Many clinicians avoid using laser treatment in the area of tumors or cancer sites.
How often? How many treatments?
Similar to acupuncture treatments, the effects of laser therapy are cumulative. The more often the treatments, the longer the effects. The particular medical ailment or injury determines the frequency and amount of treatments. The most common protocol involves treatment sessions three times a week with a minimum of three to four weeks, a total of nine to twelve treatments. If there is no improvement observed at the end of the initial treatment protocol, we will discontinue the laser therapy, For the best outcome, laser therapy used in conjunction with other pain management or tissue healing modalities gives the best results.
How much does it cost?
The cost of treatment is dependent upon the time spent for the laser therapy. The larger the surface area, the more severe the medical condition, the longer the laser therapy sessions, and the higher the cost. We provide an estimate of the treatment at the initial consultation.