Cold laser therapy is one among several treatment methods available today that aids in wound healing and effective pain management. Its benefits and uses, along with its disadvantages and contraindications are enlisted in the article below.
It is a treatment that involves the use of low-level laser light to help reduce pain and inflammation. Other names of cold therapy are low-level laser therapy (LLLT), low power laser therapy (LPLT), therapeutic laser, biostimulation laser, laser acupuncture and soft laser. In this treatment, laser lights of different wavelengths penetrate into the tissues in the area it is being treated. The use of this treatment method is still a controversial topic, so the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows its use only for experimental and investigation purposes.
The application of low intensity laser light over the affected area increases the speed, strength and quality of tissue repair and improves the blood supply in the treated areas. It helps generate healthy cells and tissues, thus aiding in fast wound healing and blood clot formation. It also works by stimulating nerve function and immune system by restoring any abnormal cellular function.
Being a relatively new method which was developed just 30 years ago, there are several reasons why this method of treatment is fast gaining popularity. As per several reviews, these are the main benefits in comparison to other standard methods of treatment.
- It is safe.
- It is non-toxic.
- It is non-invasive.
- It is easy to apply.
- It has minimal side effects.
- It reduces the need for surgery.
- It is highly effective with more than 90% efficacy.
- It is cost-effective, for both the patient and the practitioner.
- It is an alternative to analgesics and other medications.
There are no known side effects of this process, but it does have several disadvantages. These are some of the reasons why it is still considered only as an experimental treatment method:
- It does not provide full relief after first treatment.
- Old injuries may worsen, but they usually reduce after a few days.
- Patients have to repeatedly visit the practitioner, sometimes 3 to 4 times a week.
- It takes a long time, about 8 to 30 sessions, depending on the severity of the condition.
- Many health insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare, do not cover the expense of this therapy.
Apart from humans, this therapy is also used in veterinary treatments to treat several illnesses in horses and dogs. The two styles of this laser therapy, i. e., laser puncture and board coverage therapy, are used to increase blood flow and activate natural healing of the treated areas. There are three main stages of wound healing in this treatment: reducing inflammation, repairing tissue and remodeling.
Cold laser therapy is most commonly used for treating back pain, but apart from this, it can also be used for:
- Hair Growth
- Muscle Strain
- Ligament Injury
- Swelling Reduction
- Sports Injuries
- Nerve Regeneration
- Smoking Cessation
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Myofascial Pain
- Wound Healing
- Acute and Chronic Pain
- Joint Pain and Injuries
Even though this type of laser therapy is considered safe, there are certain health conditions, wherein it should not be used. Some of its known contraindications are:
- Cancerous lesions
- Thyroid gland disorders
- Immune suppressant drugs
- Direct irradiation of the eyes
Among many types of treatment methods available for pain relief and inflammation, this therapy has made considerable progress in a short span of time. Many people aspiring for weight loss, can choose this therapy as it is a sought-after treatment. It does not involve surgery and is relatively inexpensive. It works on a similar principle as acupuncture, i. e., by targeting pressure points. Though a viable treatment option for those who want to treat pain and inflammation without surgery and medication, it is always advisable to take this treatment under the supervision of an experienced practitioner.