Cold LASER LLLTPosted: December 6, 2011 | Author: onhc | Filed under: Blog | Comments Off on Cold LASER LLLT
As many as of you know, we spent the month of November “test driving” a low-level laser for musculoskeletal pain. The results we had, after treating a dozen people 5 times each, were outstanding. We were blown away to be honest. Many of these patients were combining acupuncture and low level laser, but trust me, we took on some very difficult cases to do this evaluation. Out of the dozen, two had a negligible response (including me!). The research shows that somewhere between 15 and 20% do not respond to low level laser treatment. Six out of the 12 had “remarkable” results. Remember, this is just 5 treatments. And the remaining 4 people had “good” results. Good enough that all 4 are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our purchased low level laser equipment to continue treatments. We had simply leased some equipment for evaluation purposes for the month of November.
Over the past few weeks I have done a tremendous amount of research regarding low level lasers. I have spent hours reviewing the literature, reading clinical trials and speaking to other physicians who use LLLT. I never thought I would know so much about what used to be known as cold laser therapy. After all, I use a radio, a telephone, and a computer and while I’m competent to use them, I can not explain how they work! When we began to see such impressive results, I began to look for answers to many questions I was having. I wanted to understand what was going on physiologically and biochemically to speed healing so dramatically, and I also wanted to understand the very discrepant literature and pricing on the various equipment available.
There are so many devices on the market all of which claim to be the best for one reason or another. The marketing information can be maddening as much of the information from one company is contradicted be the next. The price variance is staggering, and it becomes clear with diligent research that some of the added cost can come from non performance based variables. I want to be able to offer low level laser treatment that has a clinically proven track record, that is FDA approved, and that my patients can afford. It will be here by the week’s end!
The following is a synopsis of what I think will matter most to you- the basis of LLLT. How it works, is it effective, has it been studied in clinical trials, are there side effects, etc.
I. What is a low level laser (LLL)?
First of all, any laser is simply an amplification of light. High level lasers are an amplification of light which is thermal (heat producing) and is often used in surgery to “cut” or “ablate” tissue. Low level laser, however is an amplification of light from the low or cold end of the light spectrum (anywhere from visible red to near infra-red wavelengths).
II. What is low level laser therapy (LLLT)?
LLLT refers to applying a low level laser to tissue for the purpose of healing.
III. How does it work?
When the light penetrates the surface of the skin it travels deeper to the underlying tissues. The cells convert the light energy to chemical energy to promote healing and pain relief. Research shows us that LLLT:
1. increases production of natural endorphins which decreases pain.
2. decreases the production and release of inflammatory biochemicals.
3. enhances lymphatic drainage and increases circulation.
4. relaxes muscle fibers of both smooth muscle and striated muscle.
5. stimulates fibroblastic and osteoblastic activity which speeds bone repair.
6. produces antiviral activity (can be used effectively for herpes zoster (shingles)).
7. increases the production of ATP inside the mitochondria
8. stimulate nerve regeneration.
IV. What can LLLT treat?
LLLT has been clinically proven as an effective adjunct treatment for acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, sprain/strain, carpel tunnel, etc, acute and chronic wound healing, and smoking cessation. According to non-published clinical trials and anecdotal data, LLLT can be used for much more.
IV. Are there any adverse effects?
While the use of LLLT is fairly new in the U.S., Europe other countries have been using this therapy for over 25 years. There are over 1500 published studies on the use of LLLT. NOT ONE adverse effect of LLLT has been recorded. However, please note, some patients will experience a temporary, short-lived increase in pain. This temporary increase in pain that only some experience is due to an increase in circulation. When the circulation is increased in tissue that has been deprived of adequate oxygen for weeks or months, the toxic byproducts of metabolism are increased for a brief time. Drinking lots of water is always encouraged!
IV. Are these devises FDA approved?
Not all devises have been cleared by the FDA. The device we will have in our clinic is FDA approved, has been studied in several very large clinical trials. Feel free to ask us for any details.
V. Are there contraindications?
While there are no regulated contraindications LLLT will not be used in our clinic in the following situations for lack of long-term data:
1. over the abdomen of a pregnant woman
2. directly over a pacemaker
3. directly over a cancerous tumor (While the research clearly demonstrates that LLLT does not accelerate the growth of cancerous tumors, and in some cases, many reduce in size, we do not feel there has been enough research in this field to warrant taking risks with our patients).
PLEASE call us if you have questions regarding this information or you would like to know more. If you have concerns about your condition and the possible treatment with LLLT, we are happy to discuss it with you. As always, we really do have your health in mind.