Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is one of the many forms/names of this treatment. I’ve discussed this therapy before. The reality is that this modality uses light in a similar way that ultrasound uses sound. It also produces similar results though by different means. Some advantages of LLLT over ultrasound are that it can be used on open wounds, treatment time is reduced, it doesn’t require a conductive gel, and isn’t going to hurt with a broken bone.
LLLT is essentially just light at a particular wavelength directed into your body with a hand held “wand.” It’s usually done with lasers or LEDs, hence the name. You should feel nothing during treatment. Advertisers fight about lasers vs LEDs and what particular wavelength is best or how many Joules to use. Some day research will perfect it. Every modality goes through improvements, and I look forward to that day with this one. So far research has discovered it to be beneficial in chronic joint pain, soft tissue injuries (sprains/strains), reducing inflamation and wound healing.
There are many biochemical changes that go on with LLLT and the truth is that they are not all understood. It’s easy to see how light can effect change in cells. Photosynthesis happens around us everyday. LLLT does not cause photosynthesis in humans, but it is a good analogy. Our cells use the light energy of a particular wavelength to make changes that produce positive treatment results.
There are risks with LLLT just as there are with waking up in the morning. There have been no side effects found in the 30+ years existence of this therapy, but if you are using a high powered laser you should protect your eyes and don’t look into it. With our treatment we use LEDs so, we won’t shoot your eye out accidentally. LLLT has not been found to cause cancer. Because it improves growth however, if you use it on a cancer… well you get the idea. Don’t treat cancer with LLLT.
People have been asking lately about laser therapy, so I thought I’d explain it a little and sneak in a quick condition at the same time.
De Quervain’s is the name for tenosynovitis of the thumb extender and abductor muscles. Which is to say the tendons that move your thumb hurt at the wrist because inflammation isn’t allowing them to move properly. It is more common in women, but anyone doing repetitive motions with their thumb such as typing, cashiering, mechanics, etc. is susceptible. If you have it you may notice a “squeaky thumb,” pain when moving your thumb and decreased grip strength. In my experience this condition doesn’t usually go away on it’s own. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome it just keeps coming back unless you receive proper care.
Many things are done for treatment of this condition. Chiropractic manipulation and massage of the area are beneficial as well as reducing use. You’ll likely need to talk with your employer about decreasing or changing your duties for a time while you heal. There are also many electrical modalities that are beneficial for de Quervain’s.
That’s where the Cold Laser comes in. Cold Laser is called many names but it is all the same thing, particular light waves that have been found to increase cellular metabolism. In essence when exposed to these wavelengths of light your cells heal faster, and hurt less. That’s a good thing.
It’s an odd sort of treatment because you normally don’t feel anything at the time. Kind of like magic with good research behind it. We just put this wand with a laser or LEDs on the injured area and hold it there for a few moments with the light on. The reason I bring Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) up with this condition is the relief time. Generally speaking my patients are able to notice effects of LLLT within the first day, but I had a patient with de Quervain’s who claimed instantaneous relief with LLLT. It was amazing to me and worth reporting to you.
So, if you have pain at your wrist from thumb movement visit your chiropractor and ask them about Cold Laser Treatment.