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What is lllt laser therapy?

What is lllt laser therapy?

lllt laser therapy

What is lllt laser therapy-What is lllt laser therapy?-lllt laser therapy is a painless, rapid treatment which relieves pain and promotes wound healing. It has been studied by prestigious organizations such as NASA and Harvard Medical School.
What Conditions May Be Helped With lllt laser therapy?
Low level laser treatment may help relieve the following conditions:

Back pain
Neck pain
Arthritis
Whiplash injuries
Pain involving any joint
Residual pain from fractures
Sprains and strains
Sports injuries
Some conditions which involve joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage
Speed up the healing of soft tissue wounds
Wounds including ulcers caused by poor circulation, diabetes, or pressure
Some radiation burns and mouth sores caused by chemotherapy

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lllt laser therapy

LLLT (lllt laser therapy) is the application of red and near infra-red light over injuries or lesions to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give relief for both acute and chronic pain. First developed in 1967, it is now commonly referred to as LLLT.

LLLT is used to: increase the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair; resolve inflammation and relieve pain (analgesia).

The red and near infrared light (600nm-1000nm) commonly used in LLLT can be produced by laser or high intensity LEDs. The intensity of LLLT lasers and LED’s is not high like a surgical laser. There is no heating effect.

The effects of LLLT are photochemical (like photosynthesis in plants). When the correct intensity and treatment times are used, red and near infrared light reduces oxidative stress and increases ATP. This improves cell metabolism and reduce inflammation. These effects can be enhanced with pulses however when analgesia is required there is a second mechanism which works best when a strong continuous beam is applied.

LLLT devices are typically delivering 10mW – 500mW (0.01 -> 0.01 Watts). The power density typically ranges from 0.005W/Cm² -> 5 W/Cm².

LLLT is popularly used for soft tissue injuries, joint conditions, neuropathic pain, non-healing leg and pressure ulcers.

NEWS The Lancet publishes landmark review of LLLT for neck pain read more and listen to interview here
Introduction to LLLT Video

Introduction to LLLT and dose response by Prof. Michael Hamblin, Wellman Centre for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School
Source: International Dose Response Society

Download ‘LLLT dose review (PDF)’
This paper from Harvard Medical School reviews the LLLT mechanisms and the biphasic dose response. It summarises the molecular and cellular mechanisms of LLLT, gives a scientific explanation for the biphasic dose response (why a low dose has a stimulatory effect and why a high dose inhibits). Low power densities tend to get better healing and anti-inflammatory effects where higher power densities are more likely to inhibit (which may be useful if you just want an analgesic effect). I have to disclose an interest in this paper because I am a co-author. James Carroll CEO THOR Photomedicine.

How lllt laser therapy work?

Why lllt laser therapy?-lllt laser therapy—also called low-level or near-infrared laser therapy—uses low-level light energy to treat a wide array of conditions, ranging from sprains, tendinitis, back pain, and arthritis to temporomandibular disorder (chronic jaw pain), carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and leg ulcers. Used by some physical therapists, physiatrists, chiropractors, and occupational therapists, it is different from conventional “hot” laser surgery. The FDA has cleared more than two dozen cold laser devices, including some sold on the Internet for home use, for the temporary relief of pain, which means only that they are safe, not necessarily that they are effective. The therapy is noninvasive and painless; no serious side effects have been reported.

It’s not clear how lllt laser therapy might work, but it may have anti-inflammatory effects, help repair connective and other tissues, and release pain-relieving endorphins.

Overall, though, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions because many of the studies have been small, short in duration, and not well-controlled. Plus, there are differences in the devices and how the treatment is delivered in terms of dosage, wavelength, duration, where on the body it is applied, and technique. Cold lasers may work for one condition but not another, and only in some people—and their effect may depend on the degree of injury.

Though lllt laser therapy may provide some temporary relief for some types of pain, it may not affect the underlying ailment or be any more effective than other types of heat delivery,in their coverage policies, both Cigna and Aetna note that there’s little or no conclusive evidence that lllt laser therapy is effective for anything. Even in research suggesting some promise for the therapy in treating conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic neck or back pain, and diabetic ulcers, the evidence has been limited and conflicting, and it’s hard to know how much any apparent benefit is due to a placebo effect.

Bottom line: If you have tendinitis or other musculoskeletal pain, work with a physical therapist, who may use lllt laser therapy among other treatments. Some health insurance policies cover it when it’s provided by a health-care professional for certain ailments. Whether it adds much to the benefits of traditional physical therapy—ice, heat, exercise, and massage, for example—is unclear. Lastly, don’t count on getting the same benefit from self-treatment as you might from having it done by an experienced, trained professional. Home devices, which can cost hundreds of dollars and are often touted as a cure for nearly everything, may not have the power to do much of anything.

The effects of lllt laser therapy are photochemical(cold), not thermal. During treatment of the tissue with the 635nm laser, an interaction between cells and photons takes place: a photochemical reaction. Photons from the laser affect the tissue at the cellular level. The cold laser enters the tissue, alters cell membrane permeability, and at the cellular level is absorbed in the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the “powerhouse” of cells and make ATP which is needed for the life enhancement process of every cell which facilitates:The effects of lllt laser therapy are photochemical(cold), not thermal. During treatment of the tissue with the 635nm laser, an interaction between cells and photons takes place: a photochemical reaction. Photons from the laser affect the tissue at the cellular level. The cold laser enters the tissue, alters cell membrane permeability, and at the cellular level is absorbed in the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the “powerhouse” of cells and make ATP which is needed for the life enhancement process of every cell which facilitates:

– rapid cell growth. The laser accelerates cellular reproduction and growth.
– faster wound healing. The laser stimulates fibroblast development in the damaged tissue. The reduction in recovery time is an important consideration
– increased metabolic activity. Helps the body increase output of specific enzymes, greater oxygen to blood cells and more effective immune reponse are induced by laser
– reduced fibrous tissue formation. The laser reduces formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts, scratches, burns, or following surgery
– anti-inflammatory action. The laser reduces swelling caused by bruising or inflammtion of joints to give improved joint mobility.
– increased vascular activity. The laser stimulates lymph and blood circulation, to allow the affected tissue to have the best possible circulation
– stimulate nerve function. Slow recovery of nerve function in damaged tissue can result in “dead” limb or numb areas. Laser will speed the process of nerve cell reconnection to bring the numb area back to life. Laser also increases the amplitude of action potentials to optimize muscle action.

lllt laser therapy

Who need Is lllt laser therapy Right for You? Who should NOT get lllt laser therapy?

Any provider should go over the benefits, risks, and alternatives to lllt laser therapy. Informed consent should always be obtained prior to treatment. The provider should be knowledgeable of these, and assess a person’s health, contraindications and appropriateness of treatment prior to treating.

lllt laser therapy should be used with caution in pregnancy and only by an experienced practitioner. Research studies are inconclusive as to fetal effects. The laser can safely be used on parts of the body, and risk should be assessed on an individual basis.
lllt laser therapy should not be used directly after other phototherapies such as sun bathing, cosmetic procedures that use light therapy, cancer treatment or on areas of skin treated with products to increase photosensitivity.
lllt laser therapy should not be used on fractures prior to proper stabilization or reduction of fracture. Laser can safely be used after a fracture has been stabilized via open (surgical) or closed reduction.
Laser should not be used over areas of tattooed skin as the ink may increase heat production or affect the art work.
lllt laser therapy should never be placed over the thyroid located in the neck, as this can cause a thyroid storm, a condition of over-production of thyroid hormone.
Laser should never be targeted on the eye, and appropriate measures should be taken to avoid exposure.
lllt laser therapy should not be used for a period of time after certain intra-articular (joint) injections.

If you are curious about lllt laser therapy to help with a condition, my best advice would be to schedule a consultation with a provider. lllt laser therapy may be an option alone, or in combination with other modalities such as chiropractic, essential oils, infrared heat therapy with a BioMat, nutritional modification, etc. I rarely use lllt laser therapy alone to treat patients, but other providers may treat differently. I have had to tell individuals that I didn’t think laser would be appropriate for their condition due to inaccurate diagnosis, scope of practice, or due to the severity of their condition other interventions were more appropriate. An appropriate diagnosis is important when deciding lllt laser therapy.


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