Cold Laser Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and is thought to help accelerate the healing process. It can be used on patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions in order to help eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms and increase functionality.
How Cold Lasers Work
Dr. Fuhrmann utilizes a state of the art cold laser device. The laser is placed directly over the injured area for 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated and the dose provided by the cold laser unit. During this time, the non-thermal photons of light that are emitted from the laser pass through the skins layers (the dermis, epidermis, and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin). This light has the ability to penetrate 2 to 5 centimeters below the skin at 90mw and 830 nm.
Once the light energy passes through the layers of skin and reaches the target area, it is absorbed and interacts with the light sensitive elements in the cell. This process can be compared to photosynthesis in plants – sunlight is absorbed by plants, which is then converted to usable energy so that the plant can grow. When cells absorb this light energy, it initiates a series of events in the cell that is theorized to eventually result in normalizing damaged or injured tissue, a reduction in pain, inflammation, edema and an overall reduction in healing time by increasing intracellular metabolism Cold laser therapy is one option among a variety of treatment approaches that can potentially provide pain relief or pain reduction, especially for patients seeking a treatment without the use of surgery or drugs.
It can be used alone or in combination with a number of other therapies.
While it is still a relatively new treatment option and there is incomplete information about its optimal treatment protocol, it is considered a viable treatment option for those seeking an alternative to invasive treatment. Cold laser therapy is yet another method in the set of tools to help assist in pain relief, and it is considered a reasonable treatment option for certain types of pain by most health care professionals.
Cold laser therapy can stimulate all cell types including muscle, ligament, cartilage, nerves, etc., so a number of conditions can be treated by cold laser therapy. Some of conditions that may typically be treated by cold laser therapy include:
- Arthritis Pain
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fibromyalgia Pain
- Knee Pain
- Neck Pain
- Muscle and Joint Pain
- Stiffness associated with Arthritis
- Pain associated with Muscle Spasms
- Hand Pain and Wrist Pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Neck Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Wound Healing
Potential Cold Laser Therapy Advantages
- Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that it does not require a surgical incision. This means that there is no prolonged recovery time.
- Laser therapy also does not involve taking any medications, and many patients prefer to avoid taking medications.
- Studies have so far found that cold laser therapy does not have serious side effects when used properly by a doctor.
Potential Cold Laser Therapy Disadvantages
- Patients do not typically get full relief or resolution from their pain symptoms after the first treatment.
- It takes a series of treatments, usually 8 to 30, depending on the severity and duration of the condition.
- Patients often have to return for treatments at least 2 to 4 times per week.
- Old injuries may be aggravated for a few days after treatments, but for most patients this sensation is short term, lasting for a couple of days.
- Cold laser therapy should not be used over any suspicious cancerous lesions, or carcinoma, over the thyroid, on pregnant patients, and there should not be direct irradiation of the eyes, as the laser can cause permanent damage to the eyes.
- Pregnant women are recommended not to undergo the procedure, since its effects on unborn children are not yet known.