Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Therapy
Q. What is LLLT Laser Therapy?
A. The laser is the latest and most advanced of our light sources. The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Strictly speaking, therefore, lasers are light amplifiers if the radiation produced is within the visible range, or radiation amplifiers if the radiation produced is within the infrared or the ultra-violet ranges.
The laser is a light source that generates extremely pure light. Pure light means light that has a single wavelength, not a whole spectrum.
There are hundreds of different types of lasers. They can be manufactured as high power and low level lasers. Laser light can be of any color, or it can be invisible. The laser beam can be made small and parallel, or divergent.
Q. What is a Medical Laser?
A. There are many different types of medical lasers. Their are two main groups: High Power Lasers (aka Hot Lasers): they are used to cut, coagulate and evaporate tissues. These lasers are often called surgical lasers because they can replace the scalpel of the surgeon.
Low Level Lasers (aka Cold Lasers): they can be used for the stimulation of cell function. They are also called bio-stimulating lasers or Low Intensity Lasers. Their biological effect is not thermal, as is the case with surgical lasers.
Q. How do LLLT lasers work?
A. The pure light of the lasers causes photochemical reactions in the cells. Laser light photons are absorbed by antenna pigments (chromophores) within the cells then Induces increased production of cellular energy (ATP) which leads to normalization of cell function, pain relief and healing. The effect of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is especially striking in areas of the body where cells are under stress; it sometimes borders on the miraculous.
More specifically Laser therapy:
Increased cellular energy (ATP) and protein synthesis which promotes:
1) Growth factor response within cells
2) Improved cell proliferation (reproduction)
3) Change in cell membrane permeability to calcium up-take
Increased endorphin and serotonin release which promotes:
1) Pain relief
2) Suppression of nociceptor action
Increased levels of lymphocyte activity and photomodulation of blood which:
1) Strengthens the immune system response
Q. Is LLLT Laser better than ultrasound and other physiotherapies?
Yes. Laser therapy is the most well researched
medical physiological modality available in clinical practice. Laser therapy acts directly at the cellular level to enhance the function of the cells. However, not all lasers are created equal. Lasers need appropriate wavelength and power to treat certain conditions.
Q. Why is LLLT Laser therapy not as commonly used in the United States as in Europe?
A. Time and money are the two main reasons. Many of the older lasers were of low power which resulted in treatment times as long as 30-45 minutes per session. Newer technology and higher powered lasers like the FDA approved Apollo Laser we use produces considerable emitting power that allows treatment times of only 1-4 minutes. The cost of lasers are very high and therefore is difficult for many doctors and therapists to purchase.
Q. What conditions do LLLT lasers help?
Many. Painful conditions are symptoms caused by underlying damage and compromised function of tissues. LLLT lasers act directly on the cells of the injured / damaged tissue to promote healing. Therefore, LLLT is a helpful tool used to treat the underlying cause of many common injuries / conditions
Q. What does a laser treatment feel like?
A. As LLLT laser does not produce heat and the light acts directly on the cells of the injured tissue, there is usually no sensation during treatments.
Q. How long do laser treatment sessions take?
A. With higer powered lasers like the Apollo laser, treatments range between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. Treatments are prescribed in "doses" of energy in Joules. Treatment doses range from beween 50 to 300 Joules. The Apollo laser produces 97 Joules per minute which allows significant therapeutic effects in a very short time. Many of the older lasers only produced 5-6 Joules per minute which made treatment times 15-45 minutes. This is beneficial when combining the benefits of other treatment tools during a session to minimize symptoms and maximize good healing.
Q. How often and how many laser sessions are usually needed?
A. Although, relief of pain can occur shortly after treatment, it is more beneficial to undergo a course of treatment. Usually 6 treatments over a 3 week period can promote significant beneficial effects to injuries / conditions. However, we usually recommend pairing laser therapy with other treatment strategies and home exercises to speed up the healing process.
Q. Are LLLT laser treatments safe?
A. Laser Therapy is very safe. The FDA has classified LLLT laser devices as "non-significant risk medical risk device". They pose no health risk to the patient provided that the protective eyewear is worn.
Q. How much does laser therapy sessions cost?
A. The fee for laser therapy sessions is approximately $40 and is payable by some insurance companies. Time of service discount are available for cash paying patients without health insurance.