OC Sports & Rehab

Benefits of Cold Laser Therapy

At OC Sports & Rehab, we often utilize a modality known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) as part of treatment sessions for our patients. LLLT, also known as “cold laser” therapy is beneficial for many injuries and conditions, including post-operative incisions/scars, and inflammatory conditions such as plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. LLLT works on the cellular and tissular level to improve would healing and reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.

It is known as a “cold laser” because the power densities used are lower than those needed to produce heating of tissue, thus patients typically report feeling little to no sensation from the laser during the treatment. However, there are many parameters that must be taken into account to be an effective therapeutic modality, including wavelength, power density, pulse structure, and timing of the applied light. A less than optimal choice of parameters can result in reduced effectiveness of the treatment.

How is Cold Laser Therapy Used?

Lasers are typically used in the form of a light-emitting diode (LED) because they are much more cost effective for clinical use. Typically, a diode emitting light with wavelengths in the red, nearing infrared portion of the electromagnetic scale are used. When the light hits the tissues within the body, the majority of the light is absorbed by the tissue. At the most basic level, LLLT works by creating a photochemical reaction in the cell. When the light photons are absorbed by the treated cells, an electron can be come excited and jump from a low-energy orbit to a high-energy orbit. The energy it stores by doing so can be used by the system to perform a variety of cellular tasks. These cellular tasks on overdrive are what make LLLT a therapeutic modality.

Immune cells seem to very particularly affected by LLLT. Mast cells, which play a crucial role in the movement of leukocytes, are of noticeable importance in inflammation. Certain wavelengths of light can be used to trigger mast cell degranulation, which stimulates the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from the cells, which further increases infiltration of the tissues by leukocytes. LLLT also enhances the proliferation of fibroblasts and increases production of basic fibroblast growth factor. Lymphocytes also become activated and increasingly proliferate. Epithelial cells become more motile, which allows for for sounds to close more quickly. Finally, the ability of macrophages to act as phagocytes is also enhanced under the application of LLLT.

In short, low-level laser therapy can be a wonderful clinical tool to help treat a wide array of injuries & conditions. When used properly, it can be incredibly therapeutic and beneficial for patients. Having a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that allow it to be a useful modality is crucial for clinicians, as being able to answer patients’ questions regarding its function is an important component of being an helpful provider. If you or someone you know is suffering from a condition that may benefit from the use of LLLT, schedule an appointment with us today. And for more information on the various modalities we utilize in our clinic, be sure to read about them under the patient services tab on our website!

Contact OC Sports & Rehab to schedule your Cold Laser Therapy Session!