Cold Laser in Scottsdale

Overview

Cold laser therapy uses a handheld device about the size of a flashlight that emits low-level (power) laser to the body at a specific wavelength [1] in order to relieve pain or stimulate healing.

Wavelengths between 632 nm and 905 nm penetrate through the skin, and soft tissues deep enough (2-5 centimeters) to where the light can affect pain, inflammation and tissue repair. [2]

Cold laser therapy has other names including: photobiomodulation, low-level laser therapy, low-power laser therapy, and laser biostimulation.

Patients with muscle injuries like sprains and strains, aches, pains, or who are looking for accelerated wound healing would be candidates for cold laser therapy.

Cold Laser Therapy has roots the early 1900s but it wasn’t until 1967 where a surgical professor in Hungary, Endre Mester, was able to document the first therapeutic effects with laser therapy. [3]

Cold Laser Therapy

Why was treatment done?

Cold laser works by super charging the mitochondria in our bodies.    This makes it easier for our bodies to generate energy FASTER and for use in specific functions in healing.

Benefits of cold laser therapy include:

Accelerated tissue repair and cell growth. Little particles of light called photons are generated in cold laser therapy.    These photons flood the cells with energy so they can get nutrients faster and get rid of waste. When the cells found in tendons, ligaments and muscles are hit with cold laser therapy, damaged areas heal faster. [4]

Faster wound healing. Cold laser therapy stimulates fibroblasts [5] , keratinocytes [6] , endothelial cells [7] and lymphocytes [8] [9] . These cells are what make collagen which is very important in repairing damaged tissue.

Reducing of scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is a common source of pain. [4] Cold laser therapy can reduce the formation of scar tissue caused by tissue damage like cuts, scratches, burns or surgery. [4]

Reducing inflammation. Cold laser therapy can activate the lymphatic drainage system within a few hours or days [2] which results, in a reduction of swelling typically caused by bruising or inflammation. [4]

Decreased pain. Cold laser therapy blocks Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP) which are inflammatory markers sent to the brain.    By blocking these markers, cold laser therapy can reduce nerve sensitivity. [4] In addition, the reduction of swelling and edema will lower pain levels. [4]

Improved vascular activity. Cold laser therapy significantly increases new capillaries to form in damaged tissue. [4] More blood flow means that the healing process is sped up, wounds close more quickly and scar tissue is reduced. [4]

Improved nerve function. Cold laser therapy stimulates nerve signals which can help nerve cells reconnect in order to optimize muscle action and reduce nerve pain. [4]

Patients commonly seek cold laser therapy for:

Risks/Complications of treatment

Cold laser therapy is very safe and does not have any long-term side effects.    Since cold laser therapy uses a low-power light, treatments are painless.

Cold laser therapy isn’t for everyone. Your doctor might caution against cold laser therapy if:

How you prepare

You do not need to do anything special in order to prepare for cold laser therapy. There are no diet or medication restrictions before or after treatment.

What to expect/How is the treatments administered?

During cold laser therapy, the practitioner applies a laser device that outputs different wavelengths [2] and energy levels of light directly to the problematic area. The cells in the area absorb the light and energy and promotes healing.

Treatment in one region takes about 5-15 minutes.

Before the procedure

During the initial visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about your problem and do an exam.
The goals of the evaluation include:

  • Diagnosis of the problem
  • Identify anything that would be a contraindication to care
    Your chiropractor may also recommend additional tests such as X-rays or an MRI.
    Specific tests/procedures you may undergo

include:

  • Orthopedic testing
  • Reflex testing
  • Range of motion testing
  • Imaging studies such as x-ray
  • A general health exam

After the exam, your chiropractor will give you a diagnosis, discuss treatment options, answer any questions you may have, or refer you out to another healthcare provider.
The initial visit is the longest due to the need for examination. Subsequent visits are much shorter.

How you prepare

There is no special preparation needed before a chiropractic adjustment; however, attire can be important.
While you can be treated in a variety of different clothing styles, there are some general guidelines. If you are getting soft tissue work done, the area of treatment should be easily accessible.
General tips for what to wear include: Clothes that are loose fitting, Sneakers or flats, thin/stretchy fabric (leggings, yoga pants), sweatpants, gym shorts, shorts or pants.
If possible, try to avoid wearing: tight clothing, dresses or skirts, high heels, pantyhose or shape-wear, work boots, jewelry, a suit jacket or tie, tight belts, layered, bulky or delicate clothing.
After your first few visits, you will get an idea of good attire.
You will have to fill out intake paperwork and you’ll need to schedule an evaluation.

What to expect/How is the treatments administered?

During cold laser therapy, the practitioner applies a laser device that outputs different wavelengths [2] and energy levels of light directly to the problematic area. The cells in the area absorb the light and energy and promotes healing.

Treatment in one region takes about 5-15 minutes.

After a treatment

In some cases, there may be a temporary increase in symptoms.    This is normal and does not indicate injury, it is a sign of healing.

Cold laser therapy is cumulative; so, each session builds upon the previous one.    Typically, acute injuries are treated 2- 3 times a week [3] and chronic injuries are treated 2 times a week, then 1-2 times a week. [3]

Most patients should be able to return to normal activities immediately after cold laser therapy and there are no special precautions after.

Results/treatment success rates

There have been over 2000 research studies done showing the various benefits of cold laser therapy. [4]

A systematic review and meta-analysis done in 2017 concluded that cold laser therapy is effective at reducing pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders. [15]

Cold laser therapy treatments are cumulative.    Patients typically start to see results in 10-30 treatments depending on condition and severity.

References

  1. Bjordal, J. M., Lopes-Martins, R. A., Joensen, J., Couppe, C., Ljunggren, A. E., Stergioulas, A., & Johnson, M. I. (2008). A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of Low Level Laser Therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-9-75

  2. B Cotler, H. (2015). The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain. MOJ Orthopedics & Rheumatology, 2(5). https://doi.org/10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00068

  3. Turchin, C. (2007). Light and Laser Therapy: Clinical Procedures (Third Edition). Curtis Turchin.

  4. K-LaserUSA. (2009). K-LaserUSA Training Manual and Treatment Atlas. Franklin, TN. K-LaserUSA, LLC.

  5. Frigo, L., Fávero, G. M., Lima, H. J. C., Maria, D. A., Bjordal, J. M., Joensen, J., Iversen, V. V., Marcos, R. L., Parizzoto, N. A., & Lopes-Martins, R. A. B. (2010). Low-Level Laser Irradiation (InGaAlP-660 nm) Increases Fibroblast Cell Proliferation and Reduces Cell Death in a Dose-Dependent Manner. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 28(S1), S-151. https://doi.org/10.1089/pho.2008.2475

  6. Basso, F. G., Oliveira, C. F., Kurachi, C., Hebling, J., & Costa, C. A. D. S. (2012). Biostimulatory effect of low-level laser therapy on keratinocytes in vitro. Lasers in Medical Science, 28(2), 367–374. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-012-1057-8

  7. Jaafar, M. K., & Al-Tamemi, E. I. (2014). Immunohistochemical Evaluation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Transforming Growth Factor - Beta on Osseointegration of CpTi Implant Radiated by Low Level Laser Therapy. Journal of Baghdad College of Dentistry, 26(2), 79–86. https://doi.org/10.12816/0015200

  8. Agaiby, A. D., Ghali, L. R., Wilson, R., & Dyson, M. (2000). Laser modulation of angiogenic factor production by T-lymphocytes. Lasers in surgery and medicine, 26(4), 357–363. https://doi.org/10.1002/(sici)1096-9101(2000)26:4<357::aid-lsm3>3.0.co;2-o

  9. Moore, P., Ridgway, T. D., Higbee, R. G., Howard, E. W., & Lucroy, M. D. (2005). Effect of wavelength on low-intensity laser irradiation-stimulated cell proliferation in vitro. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 36(1), 8–12. https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.20117

  10. Brosseau, L., Welch, V., Wells, G. A., de Bie, R., Gam, A., Harman, K., Morin, M., Shea, B., & Tugwell, P. (2005). Low level laser therapy (Classes I, II and III) for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010(7). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd002049.pub2

  11. Stausholm, M. B., Naterstad, I. F., Joensen, J., Lopes-Martins, R. L. B., Sæbø, H., Lund, H., Fersum, K. V., & Bjordal, J. M. (2019). Efficacy of low-level laser therapy on pain and disability in knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. BMJ Open, 9(10), e031142. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031142

  12. Hopkins, J. T., McLoda, T. A., Seegmiller, J. G., & David Baxter, G. (2004). Low-Level Laser Therapy Facilitates Superficial Wound Healing in Humans: A Triple-Blind, Sham-Controlled Study. Journal of athletic training, 39(3), 223–229.

  13. Tumilty, S., Munn, J., McDonough, S., Hurley, D. A., Basford, J. R., & Baxter, G. D. (2010). Low Level Laser Treatment of Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 28(1), 3–16. https://doi.org/10.1089/pho.2008.2470

  14. North American Association for Laser Therapy. (2010, June 4-6). Safety and Contraindications [Consensus Meeting]. 10th Annual Conference, West Palm Beach, Fl, United States.

  15. Clijsen, R., Brunner, A., Barbero, M., Clarys, P., & Taeymans, J. (2017). Effects of low-level laser therapy on pain in patients with musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 53(4). https://doi.org/10.23736/s1973-9087.17.04432-x

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