Laser Therapy and Treatment

Laser therapy has been increasingly used in rehabilitation as a non-surgical means of effectively treating a variety of pains and ailments, to speed up and improve normal healing processes, and as a proven method to reduce undesirable side effects.

Lasers have been shown to improve the repairs of tissues resulting from injuries such as muscle strains/sprains, ligament injuries, tendonitis, tendonosis, plantar fasciitis, post operative joint dysfunction, open wounds and bone injuries, such as fractures.

Collegiate Sports Medicine is pleased to offer this service to our clients through Certified Athletic Therapists, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Laser Technicians.

The theoretical ideals of “stimulate emission”, later to become knows as LASER, were first broached by Albert Einstein in 1917. However, it wasn’t until the 1940’s and 1950’s when Physicists began to find use of this concept and the race to build the first working laser started. The term LASER is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. (1)

On May 16, 1960 Theodore Maiman demonstrated the first working laser in Malibu, California at the Hughes Research Laboratories. (1) Only 8 short years later, while working on finding a new cancer treatment, Hungarian Clinician and Scientist, Professor Endre Mester at Semmelweis Medical university, discovered that red light accelerates the healing of surgical skin incisions. Thus, the practice of laser therapy was born. (4)

“Laser therapy is safe, effective, and painless therapy that uses the body’s own natural healing systems to relieve pain, increase joint mobility, increase tissue integrity and promote cell regeneration”

The light source is placed in contact with the skin allowing the photon energy to penetrate tissue, where it interacts with various intracellular biomolecules resulting in the restoration of normal cell function and enhancement of the body’s healing processes. (2,6)

Tissue damage arises only through thermal actions, our therapeutic laser is athermic, allowing for no appreciable heat transfer to the tissue. (6) Our lasers use three very safe and effective wavelengths (660, 830, and 870nm) stimulating cells causing measurable effects in calcium ion channels, the production of proteins, fibroblasts, lymphocytes and leukocytes. (3) It is the special combination of our MedX LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) and SLD (Superluminous Diode) that provides the balanced distribution of light energy needed to initiate these healing processes. The coherent, focused laser energy penetrates deeply to stimulate target tissue while the SLD delivers a non-coherent, broad beam producing evenly distributed visible red and infrared energy over a much larger area. (5,6)

Download our clinic’s e-brochure on Therapeutic Soft Tissue Laser

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What You Can Expect

To begin, there is an initial assessment performed by a Certified Athletic Therapist, Licensed Physiotherapist, or Registered Massage Therapist which will take around 45 minutes to complete. This includes a verbal Client History of the injury, a Visual Observation of the structures involved, and a Physical Assessment of the injury. This will result in recommendations on laser treatment time & frequency to ensure optimal healing. A Laser Technician will then perform the Laser Therapy sessions.

Typical Times for Treatments

15 min: Open sores/wounds, burns/scars and isolated minor sprains/strains

30 min: Low back pain, neck pain, headaches, planter fasciitis and tendon/ligament injuries

45 min: Rotator cuff tears, carpal tunnel syndrome & contusions

60 min: Extensive osteoarthritis and hip pain & some multiple injuries

Depending on the nature of the condition, treatments can be administered 2-3 times a week
Clients may book an initial assessment and laser treatment for the same appointment if time permits in the schedule.

Current Athletic TherapyPhysiotherapy and Massage Therapy clients will have already had an assessment completed and should discuss with their therapist if Laser Therapy is an option.

How Many Treatments Can You Expect?

Treatment numbers and times vary from person to person. Generally, conditions that are less than three weeks old (acute) can see results in 3 to 9 sessions. Conditions that are over three weeks old (chronic) may require anywhere from 6 to 25 sessions to resolve the condition. In cases where open sores are being treated, results can be almost immediate. It is important to note that the best treatment time and frequency needed to treat your specific condition will be recommended to you during your consultation. (5)

The variation in the number of treatments is often dependent on the severity of the disease/injury and it’s duration. The average number of treatments for all problems treated is 9.5. 30% of all individuals notice a significant improvement after 1-4 treatment sessions. For others, 10 or more treatments may be required in order to reduce symptoms and the need for analgesics. (7)

What is required at all times is patience on the part of both the therapist and client undergoing treatment.
Our objective is to treat your problem in as few treatments as possible. (7)

Does Laser Therapy Hurt?

When a client receives laser therapy, they may feel a warm or throbbing sensation but usually no pain. The light from the laser is drawing blood up to the surface of the skin to enhance healing. Any swelling or inflammation usually subsides after the treatment is over.

Ways Laser Therapy Can Stimulate Your Healing

Tissue Repair & Rapid Cell Growth

Laser light causes photoactivation of cells changing the homeostatic balance of the cells and accelerates tissue healing by accelerating cellular reproduction and growth

Anti-Inflammatory Action

Causes vasodilation and activates the lymphatic system to draining swelling from injury site

Reduced Scar Tissue Formation

Stimulates fibroblasts to lay down collagen and increases the normal fibroblastic repair process thus decreasing the formation of scar tissue. Surface scars such as from cuts, post operative procedures, burns, etc. will whiten and heal at a much faster rate if treated with laser than those left to heal without treatment and are less likely to bind down to deeper layers of tissue.

Wound Healing

Increases fibroblasts (laying down of more collagen), speeds up angiogenesis (increased Blood Vessel diameter) causing temporary vasodilation, speeds up reabsorption of haematoma (swelling)

Increased Metabolic Activity

Stimulates higher production of serotonin, calcium ion channels, RNA & DNA at the cellular level, proteins, fibroblasts, lymphocytes and leukocytes. Also increases oxygen loads for blood cells, therefore a greater production of nutrition for the cells.

Stimulated Nerve Function

Restores normal nerve function by stimulating the sodium-potassium pump allowing for normal nerve signal firing. Decreases scar tissue therefore lessening nerve entrapment to allow for normal gliding.

Anti-Pain

By stimulating lymphatic drainage vasodilation thus decreasing swelling there is an increase in the reabsorption of pain-causing products. Regulates the sodium-potassium pump and removes the transmission of pain signals from the affected area.

Trigger Points & Acupressure Points

Non-invasively stimulates points providing muscular-skeletal pain relief:

  • The immune response is stimulated
  • Lymphatic drainage is improved
  • Production of growth hormone is increased
  • The histamine response is positively altered

Common Conditions Treated

General

  • Repetitive Stress Injury
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Tears
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Temporo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction

 

Inflammatory

  • Tendonitis
  • Myositis
  • Synovitis
  • Bursitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Injuries

  • Ligament & Tendon Tears
  • Fractures with Associate Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Facet Joint Syndrome
  • Bulging/Herniated Discs
  • Contusions
  • Subluxations

Degenerative

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Discogenic & Vertebrogenic Radiculopathy
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Calcifications (Ex. bone spurs)

Other Applications

  • Wound Healing
  • Dermal Ulcers
    • Venous Stasis
    • Artherosclerotic
    • Contact
    • Diabetic
    • Traumatic
  • Burns
    • Thermal
    • Chemical
  • Lymphedema (acute & chronic)
  • Dermatology
    • Herpes Zoster (shingles)
    • Eczemas
    • Psoriasis
  • Gout/Arthritis
  • Neuropathies (diabetic, etc.)
  • Scar Albation

REFERENCES

  1. American Physical Society Sites. Theodore Maiman. Retrieved January 4, 2011 fromhttp://www.aps.org/programs/outreach/history/historicsites/maiman.cfm.
  2. Baxter, G. David & Diamantopoulos, Costas. (1994).Therapeutic lasers: theory andpractice. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences.
  3. Health Point Laser Clinic. Thermal v. Low-Level (cold Laser). Retrieved June 22, 2010 from http://healthpointlaser.com/thermal-vs-cold-laser.
  4. Mester, E., Spry, T., Sender, N., Tita, J. Effect of laser ray on wound healing. The American Journal of Surgery. 1971; 122: 523-535.
  5. Theralase. Laser Applications. Retrieved July 27, 2008 from http://www.theralase.com/sub.php?lasertherapy=4.
  6. Theralase. What is cold laser therapy? Retrieved July 27, 2008 from http://www.theralase.com/sub.php?lasertherapy=8
  7. Tuner, J. & Hode, L. (2002). Laser therapy: clinical practice and scientific background.Grangesber, Sweden: Prima Books.