What is laser therapy and how does it work? Laser is both visible and infrared light that stimulates the body or tissues to do what they naturally do, but faster and more efficiently.
Therapy occurs when light energy reaches target tissues (skin, muscle, bone, etc.) and results in decreased inflammation, decreased pain and accelerated healing. Laser therapy is used to treat a wide variety of conditions including: post-surgical, acute inflammation or chronic disease states.
Laser therapy triggers 3 main effects:
1. Blood circulation- improves capillary micro-circulation and improves blood perfusion to tissues.
2. Oxygenation- Stimulates oxygen release from the blood into tissues and improves oxygenation therapy of target tissues.
3. Metabolic stimulation- Improves cell cycle efficiency and increases tissue energy levels for healing.
Laser therapy can be used in many circumstances which can include: Chronic Pain Management (arthritis, spondylosis, general pain), Acute Pain Management (strains, sprains, acute trauma, fractures), Wound Healing (lacerations, burns, punctures, incisions), Infections (otitis, stomatitis, sinusitis, anal sacculitis, cystitis, pododermatitis) and Post Surgical (incisions, dental extractions, orthopedic or soft tissue surgeries).
How to control inflammation through laser therapy:
The inflammatory process is a defense mechanism employed by the body to prevent greater injury or infection The result of this process can be negative when there is too much inflammation that allows acute inflammation or recurrent inflammation to become a chronic problem. Acute inflammation causes vasoconstriction, followed by vasodilation and results in hypoxia to the tissues. Laser therapy increases blood flow, allows for cellular stimulation, and improved oxygenation to the tissues to promote healing. Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic pain.
Chronic pain can lead to increased stress and increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, catecholamines and other hormones. This then leads to release of cytokines and growth factors that can further increase the inflammatory process and increase stimulation of nerve endings resulting in more pain. Laser theapy helps to control many of the mechanisms through which pain is produced causing an analgesic effect. Laser therapy promtes relaese of beta-endorphins which inhibit substance-P (a pain signal / neurotransmitter in the inflammatory process), as well as increasing serotonin and acetylcholine which are beneficial neurotransmitters in the body.
How often do we use or need laser therapy?
For acute inflammation (such as minor surgery, incisions), a single treatment is sufficient. For more major surgeries (such as orthopedic surgeries), 3 consecutive treatments every couple days is suggested. For wound management or chronic infections (such as a traumatic wound, chronic otitis or stomatitis), 3 to 6 consecutive treatments may be recommended every every 3 to 7 days depending on the case. For chronic arthritis or chronic pain (hip dysplasia, spondylosis, general arthritis, etc.) a minimum of 6 consecutive treatments once weekly is advised