Joint Pain and Cold Laser Therapy
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a fast growing field of medicine recognized by every major industrialized nation in the world, offering painless, non-invasive and highly effective drug-free solutions. Able to treat a plethora of neural muscular skeletal conditions such as: increased healing in chronic wounds, improvements in sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, pain reduction in arthritis and neuropathies, amelioration of damage after heart attacks, strokes or nerve injury and alleviation of chronic inflammation and toxicity.
One of the most common applications for cold laser therapy is to treat joint and knee pain. Our joints especially our knees sustain considerable pressure and force throughout our lives, particularly during sport or regular day-to-day activities. Knees are particularly susceptible to damage and chronic pain as we age.
Joint and knee pain is commonly caused by a range of inflammatory conditions including:
- Mild arthritis in the knee joint
- Ligament strains and sprains from injury
Knee pain can severely limit your mobility and ability to perform normal activities - from walking, weight-bearing or standing to exercise and sport. Typically, common treatments for joint pain (that did not require surgery) were anti-inflammatory medication, rest or using ice to help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Low level laser therapy is becoming widely used to treat inflammatory knee pain because it is a non-invasive, comfortable treatment that goes to the source of the pain to promote healing, rather than simply masking the pain.
Cold laser therapy has been shown in studies (Hegedus et al 2009) to help improve joint movement and reduce the intensity of pain for patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.
Low level laser therapy works at the cellular level to promote healing of the damaged tissue. Light energy painlessly penetrates deep into the damaged tissue to reduce the inflammation that causes the pain. As the tissue in the knee heals, pain is eliminated.
Low Level Laser Therapy can be combined with other treatments such as stretching, strapping and rest, to result in improved mobility and relief from knee pain. Best of all, it reduces the need for anti-inflammatory medicine.
There are two forms of cold laser therapy.
- Continuous wave lasers are best for pain control. In order to acheive this you need to get the maximum power into the tissue to saturate the area with photons and trigger an inhibitory response. As long as there is no significant heating, you can't hurt the area and patients get the highest level of pain reduction. CW lasers are great because patients leave the office feeling better, instantly.
- Pulsed wave lasers are better for healing and reducing inflammation. In general pulsing the laser lowers the photon density since the laser is off some of the time. At the same time, pulsing can trigger a stronger reaction with the cells that is better for promoting long term healing. The goal is to stimulate the body. The downside here is healing a chronic problem can take weeks or months. The patients get some pain control and start to feel a difference the day after their treatment, however the main goal here is long term healing.
Our office offers both a continuous wave laser and a new MR4 Super Pulsed laser. If you are interested in finding out the benefits of cold laser for yourself, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.