Dr. Martin's notes

Wednesday January 25, 2017

Low level Lasers

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Who Invented Laser and How Does It Work?

First theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, and invented by Theodore Maiman in 1960, the laser has become one of the most beneficial inventions used in modern society.  In 1967, Dr. Endre Mester, a professor of surgery in Hungary, performed a revolutionary series of experiments that first documented the healing effect of lasers. Therapy lasers have been used and researched in Europe for over 30 years. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first low level Class III laser (LLLT) in 2002 and the first Class IV therapy laser in 2003. The most significant clinical and therapeutic difference between Class IV lasers and Class III is the Class IV can produce a primary biostimulative effect on deeper tissues while also producing substantial secondary and tertiary effects.

Laser therapy aims to photo-biostimulate chemically damaged cells. This therapy actually excites the kinetic energy within cells by transmitting healing energy known as photons. The skin absorbs these photons via a photo-chemical effect, not photo-thermal; therefore it does not cause heat damage to the tissues.  Once photons reach the cells of the body, they promote a cascade of cellular activities. It can ignite the production of enzymes, stimulate mitochondria, increase vasodilation and lymphatic drainage, ATP synthesis, and elevate collagen formation substances to prevent the formation of scar tissues. This is a critical step in reducing long term disabling chronic myofascial pain syndromes and joint hypermobility.  Other formative cells are also positively influenced. One of the laser therapy’s many immune enhancing effects is an increase in the number of macrophages.

Therapeutic Benefits of Cold Laser Therapy

Reduces the excitability of nervous tissue –
Cold laser light speeds up nerve cell processes, which may decrease numbness associated with certain conditions. The photons of light energy enter the body as negative ions. The body responds to the negative ions by sending positive ions like calcium, magnesium, and other minerals to go the area being treated. These positive ions are essential to the nerves thereby relieving pain.
i.e. Arthritis, soft tissue injuries, sports injuries and tendonitis

Rapid cell growth–
Cold Laser Therapy accelerates cell reproduction for faster wound healing.
i.e. Sports injuries, and repetitive movement injuries

Faster Wound Healing –
Cold Laser Therapy stimulates fibroblast development and accelerates collagen synthesis in damaged tissues. Collagen is the essential protein used to repair damaged tissue. It is the substance that holds cells together and has a high degree of elasticity. (i.e. Soft tissue injuries, sports injuries, and overuse injuries)

Increases metabolic activity –
Cold Laser Therapy causes higher outputs of specific enzymes, increased oxygen and food through the cell membranes causing greater mitochondrial production of ATP (energy). Increased ATP production allows cells to accept nutrients faster and get rid of waste products faster resulting in faster and better wound healing.
(i.e. Soft tissue injuries, sports injuries, arthritis and overuse injuries)

Reduced fibrous tissue formation –
Cold Laser Therapy reduces formation of scar tissue. By increasing collagen production less scar tissue is formed at the damaged site. Scar tissue has little elasticity.
(i.e. Sports injuries, soft tissue injuries, and repetitive movement strains and overuse injuries)

Anti-inflammatory action –
Cold Laser Therapy helps to reduce swelling to offer enhanced joint mobility following injury.
(i.e. Sports injuries, soft tissue injuries, arthritis and tendonitis)

Increased lymphatic system activity –

Edema, which is the swelling or natural splinting process of the body, has two basic components. The first is the liquid part, which can be evacuated by the blood system. The second is comprised of proteins, which have to be evacuated by the lymphatic system. Research has shown that the lymph vessel diameter and the flow of the lymph system can be doubled with the use of laser therapy. The venous diameter and the arterial diameters can also be increased. This means that both parts of edema (liquid and protein) can be evacuated at a much faster rate to relieve swelling and thus reducing pain as well. (i.e. Sport injuries, soft tissue injuries, and overuse injuries)

Increased phagocytosis –

Cold Laser stimulates the cleaning up cells damaged by injury or degenerative conditions. This clean up must take place before healing can occur. (i.e. Sports injuries, soft tissue injuries, arthritis, tendonitis, and shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle injuries)

Low lever laser therapy is not harmful. Cold lasers that are used for tissue stimulation have insufficient strength to damage cells. 30 years of clinical use have shown no adverse effects.