What is Laser Therapy?
Laser Therapy, or “photobiomodulation,” is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects. These effects include shortened healing duration, decrease in level of pain, increase in circulation, and decreased swelling. To most patients it feels like a flashlight illuminating their skin at close range. Laser Therapy has been widely used in Europe by physical therapists, nurses and doctors as far back as the 1970’s. Now, after FDA clearance in 2002, Laser Therapy is being used extensively in the United States.
What are some of the effects of Laser Therapy?
Each treatment of laser energy has the effect of increasing circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. As a result of this, an optimal healing environment is created that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the body tissue returns to normal, proper function is restored and pain is relieved.
In our office, we prefer to use the K-Laser brand laser. The K-Laser is a class IV laser, making it among the more powerful therapeutic lasers available for use today. This means that treatment times are greatly shortened and that therapeutic benefits can penetrate as deeply as may be needed. One of the many great features that our laser offers includes preset programs that result in more consistent and safe treatment outcomes.
Are there any side effects or associated risks of laser therapy?
For over 20 years, very few side effects have ever been reported. Occasionally some old injuries or pain syndromes may feel aggravated for a few days, as the healing response becomes more active following the treatment.
How long does a treatment session last?
A typical treatment program for an individual visit ranges from 3 to 9 minutes, depending on the size of the involved area.
How frequently should a patient be treated?
Acute conditions may require daily sessions, especially if they are accompanied by significant pain. Problems that are more chronic in nature, respond better when treatments are received 2 or 3 times a week, tapering off to once a week or once every other week, with improvement.
How many treatments does it take?
For some acute conditions, 1 to 6 treatments may be all that is required. For more chronic health problems, 10 to 15 (or more) treatments may be necessary. Conditions such as severe arthritis may respond best to ongoing periodic care and pain control.
How long before the results are felt?
You may feel improvement immediately after the first treatment in some cases. Other times you will not feel improvement until a number of treatments have been completed. This does not necessarily mean that the condition is not improving. Each treatment is cumulative and results often times are felt after 3 or 4 sessions.