June 15, 2017

Healing Laser Therapy

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Have you heard about the latest advance in pain relief?  It is called Class IV high power cold laser therapy.  Let’s take a look at the history of light therapy, what laser therapy is, what physiologic changes occur, what conditions benefit from its use and its safety and effectiveness.

Laser is an acronym.  It stands for Light Amplified by Stimulated Light Emission of Radiation.  It was theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, invented by Theodore Maiman in 1960.  In 1967 Endre Mester discovered the bio stimulatory properties of laser light.

Therapeutic lasers are used for the stimulation of cell function.  Their biological effect is photo chemical not thermal, as is the case with surgical lasers.  A class IV laser delivers therapeutic doses of light to large areas in a short period of time.  These wave lengths of light that are used are not new.  Initially, bulbs producing the therapeutic wave lengths were used, but they were of lower power, about 5 milliwatts, and treatment times were measured in hours.  High power lasers have up to 15 watts of power and treatment times are measured in minutes.

What does laser light therapy do to your body? Research shows it speeds healing by 300 to 1000 percent!  How?  It increases cellular metabolism by increasing ATP production (ATP is energy for the cells), it increases the reproduction of cells that build immunity, and it reduces inflammation of injured tissues and bruising.  Laser increases the release of endorphins, our natural pain killers; and it suppresses PGE2 production by damaged tissue, which causes pain.  In plain English, it kills pain, reduces swelling, increases blood supply and speeds healing of open skin wounds and deep tissue injuries.

The target of laser treatment is not a particular disease, but it is to stimulate the appropriate cells that spur on the body’s natural repair mechanisms.  Increasing oxygen to cells is the name of the game.  
There are more than 2500 studies worldwide and over 100 double blind studies showing effectiveness for many conditions.  There is a very clear picture in research of where light is absorbed in cells and which processes these interactions catalyze (help along.)

So how can you benefit?  The conditions that respond to laser therapy are vast.  The list includes chronic neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries, plantar fasciitis, disc herniation, strains/sprains, muscle spasms, any tendonitis or bursitis, osteoarthritis, TMJ pain, tennis elbow, open wounds and many more conditions.  I have used the laser on each of the conditions listed with very good results in most cases.  Does it cure everything?  Nope, but it sure speeds healing along with proper overall care.

One more thing I should comment on is the LED lights sold on TV, and used by some practitioners.  They are virtually worthless.  They have no penetrating power and are not effective at all.  Be sure to look for a class IV laser for best results.