Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is commonly used for temporary relief of pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and neck pain. LLLT has also been shown to be effective in wound healing. With LLLT, there is no heat, no sound, and no vibration. A combination of monochromatic light and laser radiation is used. Generally, the therapy is performed by medical professionals or, in some cases, a physician.
LLLT is increasingly recognized by mainstream medicine and therefore has the potential to provide relief to millions of pain patients and others with unhealed wounds. The procedure is painless and takes about 10 minutes. Twice-weekly treatments are recommended, depending on the patient’s individual needs. For patients with chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, neck pain, or other inflammation-related pain, laser therapy can significantly improve their quality of life.
Low-level laser therapy is thought to increase serotonin and endorphin levels and improve blood flow, which may be particularly beneficial for diabetics whose wounds are slow to heal. In arthritis patients, it has been shown to improve lymphatic flow, which often leads to a reduction in swelling. People with rheumatoid arthritis know that it is a chronic inflammation that increases pain and contributes to permanent joint damage.
LLLT has been shown to be effective for postoperative pain. In a double-blind study, surgical patients who received six to eight minutes of laser therapy reported mild to moderate pain. Patients who did not receive LLLT reported moderate to severe pain. Additional studies are underway to further demonstrate the effectiveness of laser therapy.
LLLT can be referred to as laser acupuncture when the laser is applied to pressure points. It is also known as cold laser therapy or low-level laser therapy. The use of LLLT is increasingly accepted by mainstream medicine. Some, but by no means all, health insurance companies reimburse this therapy, and the treatment has a CPT (current procedural terminology) code for billing purposes. Insurance companies that do not cover the treatment state that it is still experimental.
The treatment is safe and painless. People with pain, especially chronic pain, are looking for some form of relief. Pain patients have nothing to lose but their pain if they try LLLT.
There are several products available, and all can be unequal. Research can be very helpful in deciding on a particular product. If a product is FDA (U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration) approved, it is a better choice than a non-FDA approved product.
Many chronic conditions such as arthritis, lymphedema, neck pain and neuralgia often do not respond to conventional medical treatments. Each of these conditions affects the quality of daily life. Living with chronic pain can lead to further emotional problems for sufferers. Why not try low-level laser therapy when other treatments have not worked? Doctors and physical therapists can help patients make the decision that’s right for them.