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Laser Therapy


What is laser therapy? How does it differ from red light LED therapy?

Laser therapy is the use of a laser to promote cell growth. Its frequency promotes the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within cells. High amounts of ATP give cells more energy to multiply quickly and speed healing. Laser is especially recommended for tendon and ligament tears, but will also work for muscle or other tissue damage. Each session lasts 5-15 minutes and involves the placement of a handheld device on the injured area. Most patients feel warmth during the treatment. Multiple sessions at frequent intervals are recommended to maximize benefit.

Laser therapy projects a large amount of light energy in a small amount of tissue. The small treatment area is best for healing local problems (4"x6" area) like sprains/strains, plantar fasciaitis, headaches, jaw pain, and fractures. The high power allows deep penetration of light energy and is therefore best suited to more severe problems and/or problems that are located deep within the body like tendonopathies, neuropathies, chronic regional pain syndrome, bowel pain, and menstural pain.

Red light LED therapy has a large treatment area with a smaller amount of power. Thus, it is best for treating the whole body on a frequent basis. Because of its lower power level, it is also better suited for problems that are more superficial level, like skin lesions, wrinkles, cellulite, circulatory problems, and muscle recovery from workout. Because it works on the whole body, frequent red light therapy is also helpful for promoting overall wellness and preventing disease.

What types of conditions are appropriate for laser therapy?

Any acute or chronic pain or injuries can be helped with laser, including, but not limited to:

  • Arthritis (all types)
  • Disc herniation
  • Bruises
  • Hematomas
  • Tendonitis
  • Neck pain
  • Temporomandibular (TMJ) pain and arthrosis (arthritis)
  • Shoulder/rotator cuff injuries
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Bursitis
  • Elbow pain and injuries
  • Wrist pain and injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hand pain and injuries
  • Lumbar pain, sprain, and strain
  • Hip pain
  • Sciatica
  • Knee pain and sprain
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Heel spur
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Foot pain

How Laser Therapy Works

Are there any side effects or risks associated with treatment? Are there patients who should not receive laser treatment?

Few side effects have been reported over 20 years of use. Very rarely, a rash or blister may form at the treatment site which resolves in a few days. Occasionally, pain may temporarily increase or old injuries may become sensitive in response to the accelerated tissue growth and healing. New pains usually resolve within a few days after each treatment and will become less pronounced with continuing treatments.

Laser therapy is not appropriate for patients with fever, hemorrhages, or cancer or those who are pregnant. Steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the effectiveness of cold laser therapy. Common NSAIDs include: "Generic (Brand name)"

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox)
  • Asprin (Bayer, Ascriptin, Ecotrin)
  • Celecocoxib+Sulindac (Celebrex)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)
  • Oxaprozin + Salsalate+ Diflunisal (Daypro)
  • Indomethacin + Etodolac (Indocin)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren)
  • Naproxen + Nabumetone + Ketrorolac Tromethamine (Naprosyn)
  • Naproxen+Esomeprazole (Vimovo)

Does laser treatment hurt? What does it feel like?

Usually, patients feel warmth at the treatment site.

How often to I need to receive laser treatment?

Because effects of laser treatments are cumulative (effects of each treatment grow larger as the total  number of treatments increases), laser therapy is optimally performed in rapid succession. Patients typically get the most benefit coming daily or by combining multiple treatments into a single visit. Patients can still benefit greatly from less frequent treatment (1-3x/week) but results are not as fast, may have shorter duration, or may leave the patient more prone to re-injure the area between treatments.

What type of laser does Holistic Pain Solutions use? Is it cleared by the FDA?

Holistic Pain Solutions uses a class 4 (most powerful class) laser, the Aspen Pinnacle 30 Watt System and the Advanced Medical Devices 60W system. These systems allow for continuous wavelength therapy, allowing them to create the highest amount of therapeutic effect in a single session. They can transmit up to 9000 joules of energy in as little as 5 minutes, allowing for brief treatments with maximum results. Both lasers also have pulsation features which can vary the depth of laser penetration to repair damage in deeper or shallower layers tissues. This systems also include a library of custom programs for different types of injuries and tissue degeneration, so all problems receive the optimal level of power.

Both lasers are cleared by the FDA for "temporary relief of pain associated with arthritis, muscle pain and increasing microcirculation".

How many treatments do I need before I start seeing results?

Most patients notice significant improvement after the first session. Rarely, some patients do not notice a change until 4-5 treatments. Treatment effects are (and subsequent relief) are cumulative.

How long does each laser treatment take?

Most laser treatments take 15 minutes per 4"x6" area being treated. Larger areas may require multiple treatment sessions.

Can I combine laser with other therapies?

Yes. Laser provides a helpful enhancement to all therapies provided by Holistic Pain Solutions. It also improves the effects of other therapies like chiropractic and massage.

How many treatments do I need total?

Acute conditions often resolve with approximately 5 treatments. Chronic conditions may need 10-15 treatments to resolve and may require ongoing bi-weekly or monthly sessions to manage pain.

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