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What you need to know about Laser Therapy
- 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. As a result, LT is effective on open wounds and burns.
- Reduced Fibrous Tissue Formation. LT reduces the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.
- Anti-Inflammation. Laser light therapy has an anti-edemic effect as it causes vasodilation, but also because it activates the lymphatic drainage system (drains swollen areas). As a result, there is a reduction in swelling caused by bruising or inflammation.
- Anti-Pain (Analgesic). Laser therapy has a high 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 edema and less pain. Another pain blocking mechanism involves the production of high levels of pain killing chemicals such as endorphins and enkephlins from the brain and adrenal gland.
- 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. Additional benefits include acceleration of angiogenesis, which causes temporary vasodilatation, an increase in the diameter of blood vessels.
- Increased Metabolic Activity. Laser therapy creates higher outputs of specific enzymes, greater oxygen and food particle loads for blood cells.
- 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.
- Immunoregulation. Laser light has a direct effect on immunity status by stimulation of immunoglobines and lymphocytes. LT is absorbed by chromophones (molecule enzymes) that react to laser light. The enzyme flavomono-nucleotide is activated and starts the production of ATP (adenosine-tri-phosphate), which is the major carrier of cell energy and the energy source for all chemical reactions in the cells.
- Trigger Points and Acupuncture Points. Laser therapy stimulates muscle trigger points and acupuncture points on a non-invasive basis providing musculoskeletal pain relief.
What conditions can be successfully treated with Laser Therapy?
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Back and Neck Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Myofascical Trigger Points
- Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
- Sprains, Strains
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Chondromalacia Patellae
- Planter Fascitis
- Degenerative Joint Conditions
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Neurogenic Pain
- Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
- Post-traumatic Injury
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Chronic Non-Healing Wounds
- Venous Ulcers
- Amputee Stumps
- Diabetic Foot Ulcers
How does Laser Therapy Work?
The number of treatments required depends on the nature of the problemand the length of time the patient has been affected by it. Some problems are resolved with as little as one treatment. Chronic and/or deep-seated conditions may take as many as 10 treatments but most patients find relief much sooner. There are no known side effects from laser therapy. Though laser therapy is contraindicated for patients taking light sensitive drugs, use in areas injected by steroids within 7 days, and is not to be used over the Thyroid gland or in the eye. The laser works by creating vasodilatation, bringing in oxygen to the cells. It stimulates the lymphatic system, pulling edema and inflammation from the area. ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) production is stimulated in the cells helping them have the energy to function normally. The pain reflex is broken, offering immediate relief of pain. In other words, "it brings in the good stuff and gets rid of the bad stuff".
What is Laser or Light Therapy?
The word "LASER" is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser Therapy or "photobiomodulation", 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. What is its history? Credit for the development of laser theory is generally given to Albert Einstein. In his theory "Zur Quantum Theories der Strahlung", published in 1916, he first used the name stimulated emission.The effects of red light on cellular function have been known since 1880 however the clinical benefits were only discovered by accident during laser safety tests in 1967. In 1967, a few years after the first working laser was invented, Endre Mester in Semmelweis University Budapest, Hungary wanted to find out if laser light could cause cancer. He took some mice, shaved the hair off their backs, divided them into two groups and gave a laser treatment with a low-powered ruby laser to one group.They did not get cancer and to his surprise the shaved hair grew back more quickly on the treated group than the untreated group. That was how "laser biostimulation" was discovered.The first low-power lasers suitable for treating pain became available commercially in the late 1970's and ever since then, laser therapy has been widely utilized in Europe by physical therapists, nurses and doctors. Now, after FDA approval laser therapy is quickly gaining popularity in the USA. Has effectiveness been demonstrated scientifically? Yes. There are thousands of published studies demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of laser therapy. Among these, there are more than one hundred rigorously controlled, scientific studies that document the effectiveness of laser for many clinical conditions.