Cold or soft laser therapy, otherwise called low level laser therapy (LLLT) is being utilized for an extending number of therapeutic and rehabilitative applications including pain management. Cold lasers work through more subtle tissue effects that can result in the reduction of both pain and inflammation.
Laser therapy works on the principle of inducing a biological response through energy transfer, in that the photonic energy delivered into the tissue by the laser balanced the natural forms inside that tissue, and those within the biological system of which that tissue is a part. The utilization of low levels of visible or near-infrared light for reducing pain, inflammation and edema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing tissue damage has been known for almost forty years since the development of lasers.
Low energy laser therapy has been shown- at appropriate dosimetry, wave length, duration, and site-specific application- to reduce tissue pain/ tenderness, normalize circulation patterns in tissue trauma, and increase collagen formation in wounds. Pain reduction or even potential nerve regeneration can occur through altering nerve membranes potentials and reducing inflammatory cytokines, which can be influential in pain management by reducing the heightened nociceptive load. Muscle soreness can be decreased, potentially allowing more comfortable adjustments and a faster return to activity. Edema reduction may also be achieved by a variety of mechanisms.
Laser therapy is utilized by physical therapists to treat a wide variety of acute and chronic musculoskeletal aches and pains. Lasers and LEDs are applied directly to respective areas (wounds, sites of injuries) or to various points on the body (acupuncture points, muscle-triggers points).
Patients often see immediate range of motion increases and pain reductions. Rehabilitation goals can usually be met more quickly, allowing patients the potential of less work-time loss and a faster return to activities of daily living.
Conditions treated with laser therapy: