Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy use in physical rehabilitation is becoming increasingly popular and more widely accepted as its results become appreciated.
Lasers are divided into three categories class II, class III and class IV. The class III laser is most commonly used in rehabilitation. In 2002, the first class III laser was approved by the FDA. The class III laser is more commonly referred to as a cold laser as it does not have the heating effects that the class IV lasers produce and therefore, negates the risk of burns.
Laser therapy is currently being used to treat a large number of musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, tendinitis, sprains, strains, and neck and low back pain.
The cold laser emits photons that penetrate the body’s tissues to a depth of about 5 cm, which stimulates cellular changes and promotes healing of the injured or damaged tissue. Treatment time will depend upon the size and depth of the area being treated and usually ranges from five to ten minutes.
A significant advantage of cold laser therapy is that there are relatively few side effects. Due to the increase in some cellular activity there may be some minor discomfort at the treatment site within 24 hours, which can be easily managed by using some ice over the tender area.
It is important to note that the laser is usually not used alone, but as an adjunct to other skilled procedures that include, but are not limited to, hands on manual therapy and exercises. The laser has been an invaluable tool in my clinic and has enabled me to assist patients to return to their recreational and regular daily activities.