Anderson Family Chiropractic now offers Cold Laser Therapy! This article details how this type of therapy works and what types of conditions have been successfully treated in the past. If you’re interested or think that Cold Laser Therapy might be an option for you, give the clinic a call or have a chat to one of our friendly chiropractors.
Low Level Laser Therapy is a low intensity light therapy that may also be referred to as Photobiomodulation (PBM) or Cold Laser Therapy. This form of therapy applies a directed beam of light at a very specific wavelength to promote healing and reduce pain. The effect of the laser on the body is photochemical not thermal, meaning that the laser generates a response in the body using light rather than heat.
The light produced by the laser triggers changes within the targeted cells and the process can be likened to that of photosynthesis in plants, where the photons are absorbed by cellular photoreceptors. The process causes chemical changes to occur and promotes healing in these cells.
Evidence shows that low level laser therapy has been used for over forty years to reduce inflammation and swelling, relieve pain, and promote healing in a range of musculoskeletal pathologies, such as:
· Acute Conditions, such as sprains and strains, post-surgical pain, whiplash injuries, muscular back pain, cervical or lumbar radiculopathy, tendinitis, nerve pain
· Chronic Conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, frozen shoulder, neck and back pain, epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinopathy, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, and chronic regional pain syndrome
· Dental conditions producing pain such as orthodontic procedures and dentine hypersensitivity.
· Neuropathic pain conditions can also be treated such as post herpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, and diabetic neuropathy.
According to the more than 4000 studies on PubMed (a public access search engine containing trusted medical journal articles) it can be concluded that low level laser therapy has a positive effect on acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and has no known side effects of treatment. It has a long history and strong basic science evidence, which supports its use in pain management.
Evidence to support the use of LLLT:
1. Chiropractic manipulative therapy and low-level laser therapy in the management of cervical facet dysfunction: a randomized controlled study.
- The aim of this study was to determine the short-term effect of chiropractic joint manipulation therapy (CMT) and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on pain and range of motion in the management of cervical facet dysfunction. All 3 groups showed improvement in the primary and secondary outcomes. A combination of CMT and LLLT was more effective than either of the 2 on their own. Both therapies are indicated as potentially beneficial treatments for cervical facet dysfunction.
2. Comparison of the effect of laser and magnetic therapy for pain level and the range of motion of the spine of people with osteoarthritis lower back
- The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of LLLT and pulsating magnetic field therapy in combating pain and increase range of motion of the spine of people with degenerative spine disease of the lower back. Both laser and magnet therapy reduces pain and improves mobility of the spine of people with degenerative spine disease of the lower back. Comparison of the effectiveness of both methods showed a greater analgesic effect of laser treatment.
3. Use of electroanalgesia and laser therapies as alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management.
- This clinical commentary reviews the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature supporting the use of laser therapies for treating acute pain, cervical (neck) pain, low back pain, persistent post-surgical pain after spine surgery, major joint replacements, and abdominal surgery as well as other common chronic pain syndromes (for example, myofascial pain, peripheral neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease/osteoarthritis, and migraine headaches).
- According to the results of this study, it would appear that laser therapy is safer and more cost-effective for managing chronic pain than the long-term use of opioid analgesics.
4. Clinical and functional evaluation of patients with acute low back pain and radiculopathy treated with different energy doses of low level laser therapy.
- The main clinical phenomena in acute low back pain (LBP) with radiculopathy are pain and neurological disorders. Highly significant improvements were noted in all patients after receiving LLLT with respect to pain levels and functional outcomes. Therapy was effective in relieving low back and leg pain without side effects.
Cotler, H. B., Chow, R. T., Hamblin, M. R., & Carroll, J. (2015). The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain. MOJ orthopedics & rheumatology, 2(5), 00068. doi:10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00068
Saayman, L., Hay, C., & Abrahamse, H. (2011). Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy and Low-Level Laser Therapy in the Management of Cervical Facet Dysfunction: A Randomized Controlled Study. Journal Of Manipulative And Physiological Therapeutics, 34(3), 153-163. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.02.010
Rudolfsson, T., Björklund, M., & Djupsjöbacka, M. (2012). Range of motion in the upper and lower cervical spine in people with chronic neck pain. Manual Therapy, 17(1), 53-59. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2011.08.007
White, P. F., Elvir Lazo, O. L., Galeas, L., & Cao, X. (2017). Use of electroanalgesia and laser therapies as alternatives to opioids for acute and chronic pain management. F1000Research,
6, 2161. doi:10.12688/f1000research.12324.1
Jovicic, M., Konstantinovic, L., Lazovic, M., & Jovicic, V. (2012). Clinical and functional evaluation of patients with acute low back pain and radiculopathy treated with different energy doses of low level laser therapy. Vojnosanitetski Pregled, 69(8), 656-662. doi: 10.2298/vsp1208656j