When you hear the word laser, you generally think of eye correction or internal surgery – or maybe Star Wars. But lasers are also used in physical therapy, often in conjunction with other types of therapy. They’re also a good alternative or addition to medication.
Laser therapy is different from light therapy in the concentration of light as well as the effectiveness of certain treatments. Laser therapy involves “coherent light” (no abrupt phase changes within the beam), and monochromatic (of one ‘color’). This all works through a process known as photobiomodulation. Photobiomodulation helps damaged cells return to normal, generally with repeated, small sessions. Light therapy has been successful in treating such symptoms as depression and peripheral neuropathy, a problem often associated with diabetics. Lasers, however, can go a little deeper. The laser has a focused beam of light with the ability to penetrate up to 5 centimeters, depending on which laser is used.
There is a general agreement among professionals that orthopedic conditions benefit from laser therapy. Laser therapy in physical therapy implements the use of an applicator that covers a larger treatment area as well as the depth of penetration. Laser therapy stimulates collagen synthesis, promoting healing. Many patients have found relief in their symptoms after a few short treatments designed for their specific needs.
Laser therapy can treat arthritic pain and stiffness; muscle and joint aches and pains and increase in local blood circulation. Laser therapy also stimulates ATP production, the energy source of all cells, as well as accelerating the inflammatory process, thereby accelerating wound healing. Additionally, there is an overall decrease in pain and swelling, partly due to increased lymphocyte activity helping to modulate the inflammatory process. This makes laser therapy beneficial for both acute and chronic pain.
Laser therapy is not considered a dangerous treatment. In fact, it is safer than many invasive treatments. However, not everyone or every symptom is a candidate for laser therapy. Laser therapy is not recommended for treatment of cancer, during pregnancy or over a hemorrhage, endocrine or thyroid gland. Nor is it used when a patient is taking photosensitizing medications. Protective eyewear must always be worn in any laser treatment.
There have been previous versions of the laser but professionals and clients both agreed that it did not deliver the necessary results. With the class IV laser (LiteCure Fxi Unit), therapists are findings better results and happier clients.
Some of the benefits of the class IV laser include:
- Compression which removes superficial absorbers and reaches targeted tissues
- Therapists can manually work tissue while delivering energy;
- The tighter beam of the class IV laser minimizes energy loss and
- A refractive index that minimizes light loss due to skins and lens composition similarity.
- This consistency allows therapists to deliver the same effective treatment with each session.
Hess Physical Therapy is proud to be one of the only offices offering this type of therapy in the area.Our therapists are well trained in delivering the best treatment to their patients with long-term successful results. The professionals at Hess are ready, willing and available for those wanting to get more information on this innovative product and the benefits it can offer their clients. Additionally, Hess offers individualized skilled PT services as well as workshops for a variety of ailments, including rotator cuff and shoulder; balance and dizziness; foot and ankle, knee pain as well as back pain and sciatica.
For more information on this and other treatments, or to see if laser therapy is right for you, contact any of our 3 offices or refer to our website www.hesspt.com for further contact information.