Low level laser therapy
LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is the application of low-level pulsed laser radiation with visible red light and static magnetic fields to help reduce pain levels and encourage recovery and repair [1-3]. LLLT is known as photobiology, or bio-stimulation (cold laser therapy). The effects of LLLT are biochemical – Human tissue absorbs light energy and this triggers modification of cell metabolic processes. LLLT works without heating, sound, vibration or damage to tissue. It is completely non-invasive and painless, and doesn’t require any medication, oils or other preparation.
LLLT can be used by qualified physiotherapists to treat a broad spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions and diseases including: joint, tendon, ligament and nerve pain, painful scars, and some wounds [4-8] . LLLT stimulates the body’s own pain relief, healing and repairing at cellular level, accelerating connective tissue repair through stimulation of cell action potential and proliferation of fibroblasts, keratinocytes, lymphocytes and endothelial cells. It actuates the formation of new blood vessels and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent [9-11] .
LLLT is beneficial for:
- inflammation and swelling
- ligament sprains
- muscle strains
- tennis elbow
- neck pain
- lower back pain
- knee pain
- pain associated with muscle spasms
During treatment the laser probe is gently pressed against the area to be treated, and the unit is activated. Although you’ll feel the laser device touching your skin, the procedure is completely painless and non-invasive. There will be no sound and you’ll feel no vibration or warmth or temperature changes. Each treatment typically takes only a few minutes.
For safety during use of the laser unit, to protect the eyes from damage, both the patient and the person operating the unit wear special safety goggles. Side effects are rare. Occasionally, a transient ‘flare-up’ may result, but this will settle down in a day or two. After LLLT you should notice a gradual improvement in symptoms. The treatment is most effective when done each week, over 3-4 weeks.
In summary the scientific background is sound enough to say that LLLT is both safe and effective in the following:
- Reduction of inflammation and swelling
- Accelerating tissue regeneration and repair
- Stimulating the immune system
1 Moshkovska, T. and Mayberry, J., 2005. It is time to test low level laser therapy in Great Britain. Postgraduate medical journal, 81(957), pp.436-441.
2 Mussttaf, R.A., Jenkins, D.F. And Jha, A.N., 2019. Assessing The Impact Of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) On Biological Systems: A Review. International Journal Of Radiation Biology, 95(2), Pp.120-143.
3 Stausholm, M.B., Naterstad, I.F., Joensen, J., Lopes-Martins, R.Á.B., Sæbø, H., Lund, H., Fersum, K.V. And Bjordal, J.M., 2019. Efficacy Of Low-Level Laser Therapy On Pain And Disability In Knee Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trials. BMJ Open, 9(10), P.E031142.
4 Cotler, H.B., Chow, R.T., Hamblin, M.R. and Carroll, J., 2015. The use of low level laser therapy (LLLT) for musculoskeletal pain. MOJ orthopaedics & rheumatology, 2(5).
5 Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery, 32(1), 41–52.
7 e Lima, J.G.M., de Andrade, M.F.C. and Bergmann, A., 2014. Low-level laser therapy in secondary lymphedema after breast cancer: systematic review. Lasers in medical science, 29(3), pp.1289-1295
6 Kamani, E., (2021). End Of Amputation In Diabetic Healing Wounds With The Help Of LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy). Journal Of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, 1(3), P.14.
8 Madani, A., Ahrari, F., Fallahrastegar, A. And Daghestani, N., 2020. A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing The Efficacy Of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) And Laser Acupuncture Therapy (LAT) In Patients With Temporomandibular Disorders. Lasers In Medical Science, 35(1), Pp.181-192Baxter, G.D., Liu, L., Petrich, S., Gisselman, A.S.,
9 Chapple, C., Anders, J.J. And Tumilty, S., 2017. Low Level Laser Therapy (Photobiomodulation Therapy) For Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema: A Systematic Review. BMC Cancer, 17(1), Pp.1-13.
10 Avci, P., Nyame, T.T., Gupta, G.K., Sadasivam, M. and Hamblin, M.R., 2013. Low‐level laser therapy for fat layer reduction: a comprehensive review. Lasers in surgery and medicine, 45(6), pp.349-357.
11 Ibrahim, A.M., Borhan, W.H., Abdelrahman, S.A. And Asham, H.N., 2017. Gallium Arsenide Low Level Laser Therapy As An Adjunctive Modality In Treatment Of Cellulite After Liposuction. Int J Physiother Res, 5(4), Pp.2187-93.