Cold Laser Therapy

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  • 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]

Trusted Source

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

Peer-reviewed journal

Non-biased journal

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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]

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MedCrave Online Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology

Peer-reviewed journal

Written by experts

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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]

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Academic textbook

Backed by various research articles

Written for professionals

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  • What does cold laser therapy do?

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]

K-Laser USA

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Faster wound healing.

Cold laser therapy stimulates fibroblasts,
[5]

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Photomedicine and Laser Surgery

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keratinocytes,
[6]

Trusted Source

Lasers in Medical Science

Peer-reviewed journal

Internationally recognized journal

Leading journal in the field

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endothelial cells
[7]

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Journal of Baghdad College of Dentistry

Peer-reviewed journal

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and lymphocytes.
[8]

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Lasers in surgery and medicine

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[9]

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Lasers in surgery and medicine

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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]

K-Laser USA

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Cold laser therapy can reduce the formation of scar tissue caused by tissue damage like cuts, scratches, burns or surgery.
[4]

K-Laser USA

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Reducing inflammation.

Cold laser therapy can activate the lymphatic drainage system within a few hours or days
[2]

Trusted Source

MedCrave Online Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology

Peer-reviewed journal

Written by experts

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which results, in a reduction of swelling typically caused by bruising or inflammation.
[4]

K-Laser USA

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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]

K-Laser USA

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In addition, the reduction of swelling and edema will lower pain levels.
[4]

K-Laser USA

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Improved vascular activity.

Cold laser therapy significantly increases new capillaries to form in damaged tissue.
[4]

K-Laser USA

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More blood flow means that the healing process is sped up, wounds close more quickly and scar tissue is reduced.
[4]

K-Laser USA

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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]

K-Laser USA

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Patients commonly seek cold laser therapy for:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    [10]

    Trusted Source

    Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Leading journal in the field

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  • Osteoarthritis
    [11]

    Trusted Source

    BMJ Open

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Multi-disciplinary journal

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  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

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  • Fibromyalgia pain

  • Knee pain

  • Neck pain
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
  • Tendonitis
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [13]

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    Photomedicine and Laser Surgery

    Peer-reviewed journal

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  • Muscle and joint pain
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
  • Stiffness associated with arthritis
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
  • Pain associated with muscle spasms
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
  • Lower back pain
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
  • Improving Wound healing
    [1]

    Trusted Source

    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Go to source
    [12]

    Trusted Source

    Journal of athletic training

    Peer-reviewed journal

    Respected United States Organization

    Go to source
Cold Laser Therapy

Call for an Appointment

480-585-5577

or Request an Appointment Online

Call for an Appointment

480-585-5577

or Request an Appointment Online

  • Risk factors

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, but cold laser therapy isn’t for everyone.

Your doctor might caution against cold laser therapy if:

  • You have epilepsy
    [14]

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    North American Association for Laser Therapy.

    Respected International Organization

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  • Are pregnant
    [14]

    Trusted Source

    North American Association for Laser Therapy.

    Respected International Organization

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  • You have certain types of cancers
    [14]

    Trusted Source

    North American Association for Laser Therapy.

    Respected International Organization

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  • 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.

  • before the procedure

During the initial visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about your problem and do an 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.

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
  • What happens during a cold laser treatment?

During cold laser therapy, the practitioner applies a laser device that outputs different wavelengths
[2]

Trusted Source

MedCrave Online Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology

Peer-reviewed journal

Written by experts

Go to source
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 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]

Trusted Source

Academic textbook

Backed by various research articles

Written for professionals

Go to source
and chronic injuries are treated 2 times a week, then 1-2 times a week.
[3]

Trusted Source

Academic textbook

Backed by various research articles

Written for professionals

Go to source


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

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

K-Laser USA

Manufacturer’s website

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

Trusted Source

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

Peer-reviewed journal

Non-profit journal

Go to source


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

In order to back up the information in our articles, Arizona Chiropractic & Holistic Health Center exclusively cites high-quality sources such as peer-reviewed research. We strive to provide accurate, dependable, and trustworthy content based on the best evidence avaliable.

  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. (2011). Light and Laser Therapy: Clinical Procedures. Independent Publisher. ISBN13 978-0998391007
  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://jbcd.uobaghdad.edu.iq/index.php/jbcd/article/view/454
  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. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15496990/
  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