"What is LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY?" or "What is COLD LASER THERAPY?"
The word LASER, an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, is the name of a device projecting intense radiation of the visible, ultraviolet, or infrared portions of the light spectrum. The laser instrument produces a very thin beam of light in which high energies are concentrated. The laser light, when reduced in its energy output to a low level, may be utilized for tissue healing and repair, unblocking clogged arteries, eradicating infections, and other therapeutic purposes.
For bringing about health enhancement, the application of these amazing beams of light is called "Low Level Laser Therapy" or "Cold Laser Therapy."1 We will use the terms "Low Level Laser Therapy", Cold Laser Therapy" and "LLLT" interchangably, as they all refer to the same thing. We will also include the newly coined international term "Laser PhotoTherapy" and it's abbreviation "LPT" to mean the same as "LLLT" as well. Dr. Austin's LLLT protocol: Dr. Austin makes it a point to typically use two or three different laser devices (of Austin Family Chiropractic's six main laser devices) on each patient during each LLLT treatment. *No one laser device can cure every condition, contrary to what many laser manufacturers claim. Therefore, Dr. Austin has assembled an arsenal of many different low level laser therapy devices depending on the individual needs of each particular patient.
Here are a couple of typical scenarios:
The patient has an acute neck injury. Therefore Dr. Austin would first use AFC's LLLT device that is best for quickly reducing inflammmation. Secondly, he would use AFC's LLLT device that's best for reducing muscle spasms. And lastly, he would finish up with AFC's LLLT device that's best for treating joint, bone and nerve issues.
The patient has a chronic arthritic knee or shoulder joint. Dr. Austin would first use AFC's LLLT device that is best for quickly reducing inflammmation. Then he would utilize AFC's LLLT device that's best for treating joint and bone issues. Finally, Dr. Austin would with wrap up the treatment with one of AFC's deepest penetrating super-pulsed LLLT devices that reaches deeper into the arthritic joint in question.
Obviously, those clinic's that only own a single LLLT device are usually stuck with using the same device (ie, same wavelength and power level) on every single patient no matter what the main complaint is. Unfortunately, that type of treatment approach is going to lower their success rate.
For that reason, Austin Family Chiropractic utilizes LLLT devices in the: 500's (visible green light), 600's (visible red light) lasers, 800's (near infrared light) lasers & 900's (near infrared light) lasers. Thus we utilize many different wavelengths. We also use cold laser devices with different power outputs, ranging from a constant 5 mW (milliWatts), to 50 mW, to 500 mW to our clinic's five newest super-pulsed technology LLLT devices that boast peak power levels of 15 & 25 Watts respectively. These last two devices deliver 'average power output' in the safe range of 500 mW or less, but with the ability to penetrate deeper into joints.
Hot vs. Cold Lasers Surgical lasers are the most common type of lasers in the medical field today. They are used to destroy, cut and cauterize tissue. These are referred to as "HOT" Lasers for reasons that should be obvious. Hot Lasers have a heat-producing effect and a power output of either equal to or greater than 1 Watt. Constant wave lasers with a power output of 500 milliWatts or less or superpulsed lasers with an average power output of 500 milliWatts or less are referred to as "Low Level" or "Cold" Lasers because they do not have a thermal effect on tissue. The lasers that we use at AFC to stimulate biological function have an output ranging from 5 to 50 to 500 milliWatts, depending on the target tissue or involved area that needs treated (skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves, etc).
Cold Laser Therapy Treatment Time is dependant on the severity of the injury. The usual treatment time is between 30 seconds to 5 minutes per area, point, joint, muscle or location treated, with a usual total LLLT office visit lasting approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The Physiological Repair Effects of LLLT The physiological repair effects of low level laser therapy are achieved by the light's reenergizing (or repolarizing) of injured and malfunctioning cell membranes. LLLT also increases the intracellular energy output by more than 150 percent. The extra energy becomes a repair and restoration mechanism so that the damaged cell begins to thrive once again.
Advantageous actions of low level laser therapy take place in all organs and tissues of the human body, by creating more normalized cellular functioning once again. These beneficial actions of LLLT include: A reduction of pain by the body's production of endorphins (natural pain killers); The reduction of inflammation; The halting of a tissue's influx of fluids; The disappearance of swelling, redness, and heat; The reduction and elimination of pain; An elevation of lymphatic drainage; An increase of blood circulation; An increased flow of healing enzymes into a traumatized area; The measureable showing of up to 75 percent increase in enzymes; The reduction of spasms in tight muscles (both smooth and striated) which had been creating chronic pain, joint stiffness, and decreased mobility; The speeding up of bone repair; Quickly increases Range of Motion; Increases the once-damaged tissues ability to handle additional stress.
More than 1,700 published pieces have appeared in the medical literature, pointing to the effectiveness of LLLT.
1) Tuner, J. & Hode, L. Low Level Laser Therapy: Clinical Practice and Scientific Background. (Grangesberg, Sweden AB: Prima Books, 1999), p. 21.
2) Oezdemir, F; Birtane, M; Kokino, S. "The clinical efficacy of low-power laser therapy on pain and function in cervical osteoarthritis." Clinical Rheumatology 20(3):181-184, 2001.
3) Naeser, M.A.; Hahn, K.A.; Lieberman, B.E.; Branco, K.F. "Carpal tunnel syndrome pain treated with low-level laser and microamperes transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: A comparative study." Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 83(7):978-988, July 2002.
For more info about Cold Laser Therapy, check out Dr. Todd Austin's very own online video blog at: http://ColdLaser.TV .