Cold laser therapy or low level laser therapy (LLLT) is an alternative form of non-invasive, painless treatment for a wide range of conditions, including providing pain relief from musculoskeletal conditions and decreasing inflammation in affected areas. It can speed up the body’s healing process, helping scars or bruises from surgery or trauma to heal faster and better.
Cold laser therapy (LLLT) differs to other laser therapies by being ‘low level’ to stimulate healing. Other stronger lasers can be designed for surgical use or for destroying tumors.
Research has shown that cold laser therapy also known as low level laser therapy can even help to manage the symptoms of some brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and autism. More information can be read below.
Many people are surprised to hear that laser therapy is not as new as it sounds! In actual fact, it was first used (and continued since then) in 1967 by Professor Andre Mester. Since then, there has been over 2000 clinical studies published about cold laser therapy. The overall results from these studies demonstrates that cold laser therapy is a reliable, efficient method for pain relief.
Cold laser therapy (LLLT) Clinical Evidence
- Neck pain and back pain – the Lancet Medical Journal demonstrated that both acute and chronic neck pain were reduced with laser. Saayman did a study in 2011 that showed laser WITH chiropractic was even more effective for recovery.
- Arthritis of various joints including the knee, shoulder, hips, elbows – a study in the journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery demonstrated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that low level laser therapy was effective in not only decreasing pain symptoms for arthritis, but also in increasing blood flow and healing.
- Achilles tendonitis – a study in 2008 published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that chronic Achilles tendonitis recovered far quicker (4 weeks versus 12 weeks) in patients who underwent both laser and exercises, compared to patients who only underwent the exercises.
- Plantar fasciitis – a 2010 study in Laser in Medical Science demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in pain levels for plantar fasciitis patients who underwent low level laser therapy compared to those who did not have it.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – a 2007 study demonstrated that low level laser therapy was effective in treating mild-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome, especially in reducing pain levels and sensory abnormalities.
- Sciatica, leg pain, trapped nerve, disc herniation – a study published in the journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery demonstrated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that patients who underwent cold laser therapy had a significant improvement over those who only took anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Inflammation of joint, muscle or tendon
- Wound healing, scar healing, bruising, oedema (swelling) – a 2004 study in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery showed a significant decrease in swelling when RICE techniques and cold laser were combined together.
- Skin healing including eczema, ulcers, burns, rashes
- Parkinson’s – a 2009 study published in Molecular Neurodegeneration showed that low level laser therapy was effective in increasing axonal transport (neuro transmissions) for the dopamine neurogenic cells in the brain. With time, it is believed that this can lead to improved neuronal function for Parkinson’s patients.
- Cerebral palsy and muscle spasm – a study in Japan by Asagai, Y et al. demonstrated that cold laser therapy was a reliable and painless way to decrease muscle spasm and hypertonicity in the limbs of patients with cerebral palsy.
- Autism – a 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroinflammation found that focal inflammation of the brain could be one of the major causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cold laser is proven to be a safe and effective way of decreasing inflammation elsewhere in the body and could be effective for inflammation related autism. New studies are being done on it every day.