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.
Hamblin MR, Demidova TN. “Mechanisms of low level light therapy.” Proc. of SPIE Photonics.2006; 6140: 614001-01-12. doi: 10.1117/12.646294
Kingsley JD, Demchak T, Mathis R. “Low-level laser therapy as a treatment for chronic pain.” Frontiers in Physiology. 2014; 5(306): 1-3. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00306
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