Cold Laser Therapy: treating chronic pain and soft tissue injuries
Cold Laser Therapy also known as low level laser therapy is expanding the options for treating chronic pain and soft tissue injuries. Today we are going to talk about everything Cold Laser Therapy. This safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment option opens up a whole new way to treat pain and heal soft tissue injuries caused by many conditions from arthritis to sports injuries and more.
Throughout history, the focus of pain management has largely been on pharmaceuticals. When pain is chronic it becomes a precarious balancing act between maintaining the quality of life and avoiding addictions. The current opioid crisis is a clear indication that innovations in pain treatment are long overdue.
Cold Laser Therapy (LLLT) reduces pain by speeding up your body’s natural healing potential. It’s almost like you’re healing at the speed of light! At Synergy Wellness Chiropractic & Physical Therapy here in New York City, we offer the newest cold laser technology to help you.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about low level laser technology is because it changed my life! I used Cold Laser Therapy (low level laser therapy) to rehabilitate my own partially torn Achilles tendon. It worked so well that I was able to do another triathlon less than a year after the injury!
What is non-invasive (Low Level laser) Cold Laser Therapy?
So first, what is Cold Laser Therapy? There are a lot of different terms that are floating around out there. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), deep tissue laser, photo bio modulation (PBM), these are all terms that are used to refer to Cold Laser Therapy.
Laser light is unique however, in that it is monochromatic, coherent, and collimated. These traits make it well suited for many medical applications. Low-Level Laser light is compressed light of a wavelength from the cold, or red, part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.
It is also different from natural light in that it is one precise color; it is coherent (it travels in a straight line), monochromatic (a single wavelength), and polarized (it concentrates its beam in a defined location or spot). These properties allow laser light to penetrate the surface of the skin with no heating effect, no damage to the skin, and no known side effects.
It is crucial that your doctor has the proper training and knows how to use cold lasers. It’s not just about shining the light where it hurts. There are specific wavelengths that target different soft tissue, at different depths, and in different areas. Each has different therapeutic effects. A proper diagnosis is required to know what tissues to target, and with what wavelength, is optimal for that tissue as well as the dose time. A muscle spasm or trigger point, for example, would not get the same wavelength as repairing a partially torn Achilles tendon or a rotator cuff muscle.
How does Cold Laser Therapy work?
When there is an attack on or damage to tissue one of the responses of your body is to create inflammation as a way to protect an injured area. Unfortunately, this also can restrict blood flow which also reduces oxygen to the damaged area. In the short-term, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal but if the inflammation goes on too long it can cause even more problems, including prolonged pain. Reducing inflammation is one of the things Cold Laser Therapy is really good at. It helps the body get out of its own way, allowing better circulation as well as giving it extra energy to do the job.
Studies show that LLLT increases ATP production in the mitochondria of the cell. Since more energy is now available, the cells may utilize this fuel to function or operate more efficiently. Cold lasers supply this energy to the cells in the form of non-thermal photons of light. Light is transmitted through the skin’s layers and under the fat tissue at all wavelengths in the visible range. Light waves in the near-infrared ranges penetrate the deepest of all light waves of the visible spectrum.
When low-level laser light waves penetrate deeply into the skin, they optimize the immune responses of our blood. This has both anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. It is a scientific fact that light transmitted to the blood has positive effects throughout the body, supplying vital oxygen and energy to every cell. Basically, this specific laser light gives energy to the body’s cells which the cells then convert into chemical energy to promote natural healing and pain relief. In short, Cold Laser Therapy decreases inflammation and accelerates the body’s own natural healing process.
Cold Laser Therapy equipment
While there are many light-emitting products on the market today claiming to be lasers, they don’t meet the scientifically defined attributes for being an actual laser. For example, products that use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they are more commonly known, do produce light. However, the light is not intense, providing very little energy and is non-coherent, similar to light produced by ordinary household light bulbs. These devices are not lasers, a misconception caused in large part by product marketing. Also, unlike high power lasers that produce heat and destroy tissue, real low energy lasers use non-thermal laser light to affect the cellular energy of the underlying tissue stimulating function at the cellular level.
Cold Laser Therapy equipment, knowledge, and skill are all important to get the best results. I’ve been using cold lasers in practice since 2011. It has transformed the way Synergy Wellness in New York City treats nerve and soft tissue injuries. As cold laser technology improves, so does the research. As an active member of Laser Therapy University, I stay on top of the latest research and protocols and utilize the best Cold Laser Therapy equipment on the market.
Using the latest technology
It doesn’t get any better than the portable MR5 ActivPro laser with detect-and-dose technology. It is the only laser of its type registered with the FDA. I can switch this laser from 25 watts to 50 watts at the press of a button. It’s a super pulse laser with options for different light spectrums and wavelengths measured in nanometers. On scan mode, this laser can actually detect areas of soft tissue inflammation and damage underneath the skin and give it the exact dose of photo bio modulation the tissue needs to speed up the healing process. Often I can find them manually but this laser speeds up that process as well. We have tested this feature and it’s amazing how accurate it is.
This is a powerful tool in the hands of an experienced doctor following proper clinician protocols, so you definitely want someone who knows what they are doing. An improper wavelength of laser light will not penetrate the tissue to reach the desired target area. However, a proper wavelength will speed healing and recovery time by 40 to 50%.
Proper knowledge and equipment are two very important reasons that you should seek a trustworthy professional for Cold Laser Therapy or low level laser therapy.
How effective is Cold Laser Therapy?
When properly applied, Cold Laser Therapy can speed the healing process and reduce recovery time by 40 to 50%. Check out this video to see how Cold Laser Therapy has helped one patient with her pain caused by a bad sky diving accident.
Benefits of Cold Laser Therapy
The Physiological Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy
- Improved metabolism
- An increase in cell metabolism
- Improved blood circulation and vasodilation
- Analgesic effect
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous effects
- Stimulation of wound healing
- Relieves acute and chronic pain
- Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
- Increases blood supply
- Stimulates the immune system
- Stimulates nerve function
- Develops collagen and muscle tissue
- Helps generate new and healthy cells and tissue
- Promotes faster wound healing and clot formation
- Reduces inflammation
How long does Cold Laser Therapy take?
There are several factors to consider when determining an overall treatment plan. Treatments can vary in time from 10-20 minutes depending on the condition. Research studies show that there may also be a dose-dependent response. It may be more useful to treat with lower doses at multiple intervals rather than a single time with a high dose.
How much does it cost?
Because the length of treatment is condition-specific and insurance coverage differs give us a call at Synergy Wellness at (212) 533-4900 or make an initial appointment to learn more and discuss treatment options specific to your needs.
Are there side effects?
There are over a thousand published studies and not one of them mentions any adverse side effects of Cold Laser Therapy. Low-Level Lasers are safe, non-toxic, and non-invasive. Some necessary common sense precautions need to be considered, such as avoiding pointing the laser directly into the eyes. As with almost all medical treatments, there are a few contraindications. Contraindications are the opposite of an indication. While an indication is a reason for giving a certain treatment a contraindication is a reason to withhold treatment. There are some conditions or areas that a cold laser should not be used directly over.
- The eyes
- The thyroid gland
- A developing fetus (there is currently not enough evidence to determine safety)
- Malignant tumors (there are times when it may be used in this situation but you should work closely with your doctor)
Can using Cold Laser Therapy help my condition?
Do you . . .
- Suffer pain from an old or new sports injury or accident?
- Experience repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Suffer from lower back pain?
- Take pain medications more than three times a week?
- Ever wake up in the night with pain?
- Suffer from migraine headaches?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Low-Level Laser therapy might be for you.
The most common conditions treated with Cold Laser Therapy (low level laser therapy) are acute and chronic pain due to soft tissue injury or repetitive use disorders, like carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and tendonitis among others. Deep tissue laser is perfect for healing these types of soft tissue injuries with enhanced wound healing and even cell regeneration. It can even be used for disc herniation and spinal stenosis and helps increase range of motion. This means there are a lot of conditions that this therapy can help with and reduce the pain.
- Chronic pain (including hip, leg, & knee, neck, back, ankle, foot, shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, or hand)
- Wound healing
- Migraine headaches
- Lower back pain
- Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- Soft tissue sprains and strains
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Soft tissue injuries
- Disc bulges and herniation
- Nerve irritation
- Spinal stenosis
- Torn meniscus in the knee
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ligament injuries
- Muscle bruising
- And more . . .
I think this technology is incredible and it can provide more than simple pain relief. In the video below you’ll meet one young patient who underwent brain surgery for her epilepsy and developed vertigo from that. The surgery didn’t even help with her epilepsy and the medication is also not working either. She couldn’t find any help until she tried Cold Laser Therapy and her story will warm your heart.
Cold Laser Therapy practitioners
New York City Chiropractor
At Synergy Wellness Chiropractic & Physical Therapy in New York City, Dr. David Kulla provides many effective treatments, including Cold Laser Therapy. Schedule an appointment for safe and effective chiropractic care today. (212) 533-4900