Hotter than Cold Laser, this Class 4 Laser speeds up healing while reducing pain!
We chose our LightForce® FXi laser because of it’s power output and their reputation in the sports medicine field. Variable power output we can adjust from 15 watts down to 0.5 Watts allows us to adjust output for treating various areas of the body. Lesser powered lasers take longer to reach a targeted treatment dosage. Our laser is backed by research and the same model is found in athletic training rooms across the world.
Most of our clients love the laser, I have not yet met a person who did not like their treatment. One question we get often is “How does it actually work?”.
Laser therapy is a relatively new technique to treating both chronic and acute pain. Acute pain is pain that has started in the last 48 hours, this type of pain is usually accompanied with swelling, heat, and muscle spasms. Chronic pain is pain that someone has had for over a month in duration. This type of pain is followed by muscle compensation, decreased blood supply and overactive or underactive nerves. The laser helps these two types of pain in very different ways, while simultaneously decreasing pain and speeding up the healing process.
When describing acute pain, we usually think of a suddenly painful back, neck, hip or shoulder. Think of falling on the ice and landing on your wrist! Or a new muscle strain/sprain (twisted ankle), or recent trauma to the area like in a car accident.
In the acute phase of healing the body tries to protect itself by causing swelling, redness, heat, blood flow and muscle spasm. While this reaction is good, sometimes it is exaggerated and increases pain. In this instance our laser therapy is a wonderful tool to help reduce this inflammation by decreasing swelling and thus the pain in the area. How this occurs is the light affects photo receptors in the mitochondria (the energy producer of the cell) to increase the function of the tissue and induce healing. (Photobiomodulation) This process increases ATP (the energy source) of the cell, leading to an increase in formation of new blood vessels and increasing the speed at which the tissues in the area can regenerate. In other words, this works like dropping a piece of food on the sidewalk, if you wait just a short amount of time an entire colony of ants is surrounding the food. They are picking it up and moving it to a safe place to get rid of while also cleaning the sidewalk. The laser brings attention to the area and helps the body know to bring little worker cells to heal and clear the area.
Chronic pain on the other hand is usually described as pain that you have had for a while. It can be pain that you still have after time from an accident, or it can occur from performing daily activities repeatedly in an incorrect manner. For instance, sitting and working at your desk for hours without proper desk mechanics and posture can cause neck and arm pain. How laser helps this sort of condition is to stimulate an inflammatory response helping to bring fresh blood to the area while also down regulating the nerve response to the brain to decrease pain. An analogy for this would be if you have a squeaky door in your home that doesn’t close right and is annoying, if you put WD-40 on it as well as new screws so the door is held properly it can function as it should without noise.
Laser is a wonderful modality to use for both chronic and acute pain syndromes. It feels comfortable and is a relaxing treatment to receive. As always though, before performing laser there are some contraindications so seek a health care professional’s opinion before use. Both of our doctors here at Back on Track Chiropractic and Acupuncture have laser training and can help you determine if this is a correct direction for your health.
Want to learn more? Check out Lightforce’s official WEBSITE for informational videos and animations.
Cotler, Howard B et al. “The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain.” MOJ orthopedics & rheumatology vol. 2,5 (2015): 00068. doi:10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00068
Prouza, O., J. Jeníček, and M. Procházka. “Class 4. non-invasive laser therapy in clinical rehabilitation.” Rehabil. fyz. Lék 20.2 (2013): 113-119.