Cold Laser Therapy
Chronic pain is persistent pain that most people never get over entirely, and the answer to the question of what is the best form of pain management is different for each person who experiences it. The pain can come from illnesses such as cancer, neurologic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, spinal problems, or in the aftermath of a serious accident. Pain management may include surgery, pain medications, non-surgical procedures that require varying levels of anesthetics, physical therapy, and cold laser therapy.
What is Cold Laser Therapy Used For?
Cold laser therapy can be used to treat many different sources of pain including back pain, the pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, knee pain, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It works by stimulating various different cell types whether it’s muscles, nerves, cartilage, or ligaments. It is a form of therapy that has been used and studied since 1967, and has been the subject of thousands of clinical studies. Many of these studies were placebo based in order to assure that laser therapy could be respected as a viable pain relief option.
How is Laser Therapy Classified?
Medical laser treatments are classified into three different categories by the FDA.; Class 4 Surgical Lasers, Class 3B Non-Surgical Lasers, and Class 3A Low-Level Lasers. While surgical lasers cut and vaporize tissue, 3A and 3B lasers do not burn or cut, and are not intense enough to cause damage to cells. Class 3A lasers are used primarily for superficial wounds, since they don’t reach beyond the skin’s surface. Class 3B low level lasers reach further into deep tissue and can help with joint problems and the overall healing process.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Laser Therapy?
Perhaps the easiest benefit for cold laser therapy is that it is a non-invasive procedure. Often, lasers are used as an alternative to surgery because no incision is required, and patients are able to recover more quickly and the treatment results in little or no side effects. It also uses light to treat pain rather than medications which allows people to avoid pain medication if that is what they prefer.
The biggest disadvantage of the relying on cold lasers is that it takes time. In most cases many treatments are required before a patient feels significantly better. Treatment rounds can last anywhere from 8 days to a month. The treatments can be time consuming as well, since patients may have to repeat treatments as much as four times per week. There are also conditions in which cold laser therapy is not advised, such as when cancerous lesions are present. They also need to be kept away from the thyroid, and can’t be used by those who are pregnant. Special care needs to be taken to assure that the laser does not go near the eyes.
At Comprehensive Pain Specialists we take the pain of each of our patients very seriously. By taking the time to listen to and get to know patients, our doctors and other experts are able to work together. Our doctors come from many different backgrounds, but share a passion for pain management, and work to see that the right system and combination of treatment options are being used in order to help find the right mix to manage your pain.