Chiropractors are generally known for how they physically manipulate parts of your body to relieve pain. However, while physical manipulation and manual therapy are a big part of what chiropractors do, many of them have also started using laser therapy.
Laser therapy is a new and exciting method for treating pain and body aches, specifically of the neck and back. In addition to relieving pain, laser therapy can also reduce swelling and inflammation and increase mobility in previously stiff areas.
If you’re curious and want to know more about this new and innovative treatment, you’ve come to the right place. Laser therapy could be the answer to your pain-related problems, whether they’re acute or chronic in nature. Keep reading to find out if laser therapy is right for you!
What is Laser Therapy and How Does It Work?
Cold laser therapy, often referred to simply as laser therapy, is a non-invasive and highly effective treatment that’s often used to relieve pain. While laser therapy has been around for more than four decades, it’s been gaining in popularity in recent years, especially among chiropractors and physical therapists.
The goal of low-level laser treatment, another name for laser therapy, is to reduce pain and increase blood flow to a specific part of the body. It does this by using low-intensity light – a laser – that contains photons, which is energy in light form. These photons enter the body in a specific, targeted area and initiate the healing process. Here’s how it works.
- Cold laser therapy gets administered using a handheld device, typically no larger than a penlight or small flashlight.
- Your PT or chiropractor will point the device at the part of your body that’s injured or in pain and activate the laser.
- Photons traveling in the laser light enter your body.
- These photons start a chemical reaction deep within your damaged tissue that stimulates cells and mitochondria into action.
- The cells also start producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which plays an essential role in the healing process.
- Laser therapy also increases blood flow, another essential component of healing and pain relief.
A single cold laser therapy treatment can last up to 30 minutes but is often much shorter. In many cases, the healing process begins after just one minute of therapy.
Conditions That Laser Therapy Can Treat
Thanks to how effective laser therapy is, it’s used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms, including the following.
The most popular reason that medical professionals use cold laser therapy is to treat pain. Neck and back pain are extremely common among adults and children, and it often stems from an accident or condition that has caused damage to a specific part of your body. Cold laser therapy can activate ATP in the injured area, which starts the healing process and reduces pain.
Swelling and Inflammation
In addition to reducing pain, laser therapy is also extremely effective when it comes to reducing swelling and inflammation. Pain and inflammation often go hand in hand, and while ATP helps reduce pain, increased blood flow helps reduce swelling. By increasing blood flow and ATP production, laser therapy helps your body generate new tissue to replace the old, damaged tissue, which reduces swelling and inflammation.
By reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow and ATP, laser therapy helps cuts and wounds heal faster than they otherwise would. Laser therapy also increases collagen production, another essential component of the wound-healing process.
Neuropathy is a painful condition of the feet that stems from nerve damage, often as a result of chemo and radiation. New studies are emerging which indicate that cold laser therapy can help treat this painful condition. It does this by stimulating the area around your spinal nerve fibers, thereby increasing blood flow to them. As your nerve fibers experience increased blood flow, they begin to heal, which reduces the painful, tingling sensation that’s typical of neuropathy.
One of the biggest side effects of inflammatory diseases and conditions is joint stiffness. Arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and many other conditions cause nearly unbearable joint pain and stiffness. By increasing blood flow to the affected areas, laser therapy reduces this stiffness, which also helps relieve pain and discomfort.
In the same way that cold laser therapy is a relatively new treatment for neuropathy, it’s also a new treatment for seizures and epilepsy. Additionally, laser therapy can also help treat Bell’s Palsy by repairing the damaged facial nerves that are causing paralysis to one side of the face.
If you have one of these symptoms or conditions, you should consider cold laser therapy.
Are There Risks Involved With Laser Therapy?
The great thing about cold laser therapy is that it’s a non-invasive, low-risk treatment. It doesn’t require any type of surgery or injections and can be performed quickly and easily. The laser that your medical practitioner uses is specifically designed and calibrated to penetrate into the muscle tissue but not to cause any harm. Here are the only potential risks currently associated with laser therapy.
- There isn’t a guarantee that treatment will be effective, and you may require more than one session.
- People who have tattoos shouldn’t receive cold laser therapy in an area where they have a tattoo because it could heat up the ink.
- Medications can make your skin more sensitive to the laser, resulting in a painful burn.
Does Laser Therapy Hurt?
In general, unless you have tattoos or are on medications that increase skin sensitivity, laser therapy is a painless treatment. You won’t feel the laser on or inside your skin as it’s perpetrating the healing process. However, because of the potential risks involved, you should only receive cold laser therapy from a licensed and experienced healthcare provider.
Is Cold Laser Therapy Right for Me?
Despite the minimal risks involved with cold laser therapy, it’s one of the best treatments for neck and back pain. Laser therapy is especially effective at targeting specific painful trigger points.
If you think that cold laser therapy can help you, contact us at Stanlick Chiropractic of Northern Kentucky. We’re one of the industry leaders when it comes to laser therapy. Whether you’re experiencing pain, swelling, inflammation, or discomfort because of an injury or condition, we’re the cold laser therapy specialists for you.