What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a laser? I definitely think of a laser beam cutting through metal.
So, why is a laser used for physiotherapy treatments? The fact is that low level lasers, or Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), are a useful treatment in rehabilitation settings and have been used since the 1960s.1
Low level laser is considered a cold laser as it does not heat up the tissue, which means you should not feel a warming sensation.
Actually, you won’t feel anything during the laser treatments other than the laser head touching your skin. It seems odd that the laser has any effect at all considering that it does not feel like anything is happening during the treatment.
How does it work?
You’re probably wondering, how does this work? Is there really a benefit to this treatment in your rehabilitation? Light is used to go through the skin into the body’s tissues. At certain wavelengths the laser light promotes wound healing by:
• Reducing inflammation2
• Increasing tissue building2
• Reduce scarring2
• Reduce cell death3
• Reduce pain4
• Increase functional abilities1
Is it right for your injury?
Low level lasers are beneficial for a wide range of acute and chronic injuries. Physiotherapists often use this modality for treatments to improve your recovery process and reduce the pain you are experiencing. Injuries that benefit from Low Level Laser include, but are not limited to:
• Muscle or ligament tears
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Thoracic pain
• Low back pain
• Neck pain
• Neurological disorders
• Wound healing
Ask your physiotherapist if low level lasers or Low Level Light Therapy is right for you!
Author: Lorelle Warr
1. Chung H., Dai, T., Sharma, SK., Huang Y., Carroll JD., Hamblin MR. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012; 40(2): 516-533. Doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0454-7.
2. Silveira PCL., Silva LA., Freitas TP., Latini A., Pinho RA. Effects of low-power laser irradiation (LPLI) at different wavelengths and doses on oxidative stress and fibrogenesis parameters in an animal model of wound healing. Lasers Med Sci. 2011; 26: 125-131. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-010-0839-0.
3. Bjordal JM., Lopes-Martins RAB, Joensen J., Couppe C., Ljunggren AE., Stergioulas A., Johnson MI. A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of low level laser therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskelet Di. 2008; 9(75): 1-15. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1186/1471-2474-9-75.
4. Gupta A., Dai T., Hamblin MR. Effect of red and near-infrared wavelengths on low-level laser (light) therapy-induced healing of partial-thickness dermal abrasion in mice. Lasers Med Sci. 2014; 29: 257-265. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1319-0.