Low-Level Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is a medical breakthrough therapeutic device with unparalleled applications and treatment outcomes. The Laser works by converting light into biochemical energy, resulting in normal cell function, which causes symptoms (PAIN) to disappear.
The primary biological action of laser results from stimulation of cellular transport mechanisms in the mitochondria, cell membranes and epithelial tissues. This action causes the release of vasodilating chemicals, the stimulation of DNA and RNA (Building blocks) synthesis, an increase in enzyme production, an increase of superoxide dismutase activity, normalisation of tissue pH, and increased ATP production.
The increase of vasodilatation (blood supply) and improved microcirculation will increase the supply of cellular nutrition promoting tissue repair and remodeling (which means you heal faster). Significant reduction in edema (swelling) is also noted.
How is the treatment done?
The laser is placed in contact with the skin allowing the healing energy to penetrate tissue, where it interacts with various intracellular bio-molecules resulting in the restoration of normal cell function. This also enhances the body’s natural healing processes. In essence, light energy is converted into biochemical energy. The result; normal cell functions are restored. The process results in a disappearance of symptoms and increases the speed at which your body heals. Other effects; the immune system response is stimulated, lymphatic drainage is improved, production of growth hormone is increased, & the body’s natural healing process are enhanced. The beneficial physiological changes noted above are the result in tissue regeneration and cellular stimulation. You will notice that I focus on reduction and elimination of pain by using the one of the most powerful therapy lasers available to help my patients.
How did it all start?
LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) has been utilized in medical fields in Europe and Asia for more than 30 years with several thousand published clinical papers. LLLT in physiotherapy has been found to accelerate wound healing and reduce pain, possibly by stimulating oxidative phosphorylation in mitochrondria and modulating inflammatory responses. By influencing the biological function of a variety of cell types, it is able to exert a range of several beneficial effects upon inflammation and healing. There is evidence that 940 nm light can trigger mast cell degranulation. Mast cells are distributed preferentially about the microvascular endothelium in skin, oral mucosa and dental pulp. Because mast cells play a pivotal role in controlling leukocyte traffic, modulation of mast cell functions by LLLT can be of considerable importance in the treatment of sites of inflammation in the oral cavity. For fibroblasts, increased proliferation, maturation and locomotion have been noted, as well as transformation to myofibroblasts, reduced productionof pro-inflammation prostaglandin E2 and increased production of basic fibroblast growth factor. LLLT effects on macrophages include phagocytosis, secretion of fibroblast growth factors and fibrin resorption. Lymphocytes become activated and proliferate more quickly. There is increased motility in epithelial cells. For endothelium, there is increased granulation tissue and relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. For neural tissue we have reduced synthesis of inflammatory mediators, and axonal growth with maturation and regeneration. The above listed effects are a function of various wavelengths, dosage and method of application among other parameters such as pulse characteristics, distance to tissue and speed of movement.
What research has found....
Photo-activation of inactive enzymes present in painful muscle tissue
Muscle cell dysfunction is induced by reactive oxygen atoms, or molecules containing oxygen that can either produce free radicals or are chemically activated by them. ROS are cleared from cells (e.g. muscle cells) by the action of catalase, glutathione (GSH) peroxidase or superoxide dismutase (SOD). According to experimental work by Bolognani and Volpi, low levels of laser energy can reactivate enzymes and affect enzymatic activities in tissue.
Increased production of cellular ATP in dysfunctional muscle tissue
The interaction of myosin and actin in muscle requires ATP and its absence may contribute to painful dysfunction. According to Karu, a possible cellular response to laser is an increase in ATP production. An increase in ATP may contribute to improved cell function and relief of pain.
Direct action on the nerve fibers
In an animal study by Kudoh et al, it was suggested that changes of Na-K-AtPase activity in LLLT treated peripheral neural tissue are associated with the pain attenuation process.
Blood Flow Enhancement
Blow flow increase has been reported to help with tissue repair and healing.
Bolognani L & Volpi N. Low Power Laser-Enzyme Interaction. Laser Applications in Medicine and Surgery. Proceedings of the 3rd World Congress International Society for Low Power Laser Applications in Medicine. Monduzzi Editore1992; 213-222.
Karu T Mechanisms of Low-Power Laser Light Action on Cellular Level. Lasers in Medicine and Dentistry, 2000, Publisher: Vitagraf, Editor Z Sumunovic, 15BN 953-6059-30-4, p 108-110.
Kudoh C., Inomata K., Okayima K., Motegi M. & Oshiro T. Low Level Laser Therapy Pain Attenuation Mechanism. Laser Therapy. 1989; (1)1: 3-6.
Kubota, J, and Oshiro, T. The effects of diode laser LLLT on flap survival: measurement of flap microcirculation with laser speckle flowmetry. Laser Ther. 1996; (8): 241–246.
Kubota, J. Effects of Diode Laser Therapy on Blood Flow in Axial Pattern Flaps in the Rat Model. Lasers Med Sci. 2002;17(3):146-53
Frequently Asked Questions
What does laser therapy have over other forms of therapy?
It does not require the use of drugs or surgery, there are less side effects or risks, and it is quick and convenient. Studies have shown that it is equal to or more effective than other forms of physical therapy. Pain relief is often immediate.
Does it hurt? What does the treatment feel like?
There is little or no sensation during treatment. Occasionally one feels mild, soothing warmth. There is no pain associated during laser application. Laser treatment is relaxing and some people even fall asleep. On the other hand, it sometimes occurs that pain can increase or temporarily worsen 12-24 hours after a teatment session. This is because the laser light starts the healing process. This type of pain is particularly likely to arise when the health problems are chronic in their nature. It usually subsides after a few days but can, in rare cases, last longer. This is a normal reaction if it occurs, and will subside.
How long does the treatment take?
The typical course of treatment is 10-minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated. Acute conditions may be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant pain. More chronic problems respond better when treatments are received 2 to 3 times a week. Treatment plans are determined on an individual basis.
How many treatments does it take?
This depends on the nature of the condition being treated. For some acute conditions, 2 to 6 treatments may be sufficient. More chronic conditions may require 6-10 sessions. Conditions such as severe arthritis may require ongoing periodic care to control pain.
How long before results are felt?
You may feel improvement in your condition (usually pain reduction) after the very first treatment. Not everyone responds to laser therapy and results cannot be guaranteed. Each treatment is cumulative and results are often felt after 2 to 4 sessions. Treatments just take a few minutes, however the therapeutic effect continues to sooth and heal long after you leave our office.
Are the results long lasting?
Therapeutic Laser Therapy is about healing. It's not about masking or covering up a condition. When you feel better from this therapy... it's because you are better. Therefore results have been found to be quite long lasting.
Can it be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment?
Yes, laser therapy is even more effective when combined with other forms of therapy, including physiotherapy, massage, soft tissue mobilisation and following surgery.
Is it a cold laser treatment?
NO! Our laser is a Class-4 Deep Tissue Laser with much deeper penetrating power. No cold laser on the market today can come close to the fast-acting therapeutic effects of our Class-4 device. Chronic pain relief and hard-to-fix cases are my specialty. I have many patient's who have tried cold laser therapy with no success and with just ONE Class IV heat laser treatment they start feeling better. All lasers are not the same.
How do I know if laser therapy is right for me?
I will evaluate your condition and perform a complete laser therapy examination to determine if you are a candidate for this procedure.
Can laser therapy be used over medical implants or over metal?
Yes, laser therapy is a light treatment. No heating is involved with the surgical or metal implants. It can be used safely with no side effects. It is extremely effective for post-operative wound healing. Many hip and knee replacement patients see me for care.