If you have ever dealt with back or neck pain, you know that it can be debilitating. 76.2 million people in the United States have reported that they have suffered from pains that have lasted longer than 24 hours. Chronic pain actually affects more people in America than any other disease including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Luckily new low level laser technology, including advances in class III and class IV laser equipment, may be the answer to dealing chronic pain.
What is Low Level Laser Therapy?
On first thought many people think of lasers as science fiction staples, the technology behind compact discs and for novelty laser pointers. The truth is laser medicine has been used in intricate surgical procedures for years. Another branch of laser medicine, low level laser therapy is used in pain therapy. Rather than surgical lasers which can destroy tissue, low level lasers are used to treat pain by stimulating cell growth and repair. With low laser therapy there are two main types of lasers used, class III laser equipment and class IV laser equipment. Class III laser equipment have a power rating which does not exceed 500 mW and is used for general pain treatment. Class IV laser equipment has a maximum power rating of 7,500 mW, which causes deeper penetration into the tissue and is able to provide more coverage than lower level lasers.
How Does Low Level Laser Therapy Work?
Scientist have conflicting theories with how low laser therapy works to help assuage pain.
The main theories are that when the laser light or photons are absorbed into the skin they are able to effect the mitochondrial cells, the cells that are responsible for cellular repair. Another theory of how low level lasers work is that they are able to lower certain naturally occurring chemicals which have to do with inflammation in the body.
Using Low Level Laser Therapy for Pain Management
Generally, low level laser therapy can take several sessions of treatment. Depending on how severe the pain or the injury, most patients see a results after eight and up to thirty rounds of laser therapy. The most common types of conditions in which laser therapy are used:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic neck and back pain
- Joint disorders
Laser therapy is also able to facilitate cellular healing as well, such as in the case of of healing wounds, dental infections, regrowing hair, and regenerating bones material.
If you are curious about if laser therapy can work for you, consult with your doctor to see if it fits into your pain management treatment.