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Low Level Laser Therapy

                     

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of phototherapy which applies low power red and near infra-red light to injuries or lesions to facilitate healing, reduce inflammation, and give relief for both acute and chronic pain. It is photochemical (cold), not thermal.  Having been widely used for decades and the subject of over 2,000 published articles worldwide, LLLT has become established as:

  • Safe
  • Effective 
  • Beneficial for a multitude of health concerns
  • and Providing documented physiologic benefits

 

Safe

Low level lasers received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classification of 3A, which shows the FDA has determined they pose a “non-significant risk” factor.  This is consistent with findings by agencies throughout the world, as NO STUDY HAS EVER REPORTED ANY NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS.  It should be noted that lasers used to cut tissue require 1,000 milliwatts(mW) of heat and the beginning of any ‘danger zone’ is around 500mW.  The device used for LLLT at Northeast Natural Medicine, LLC is less than 5mW and therefore unable to produce enough heat to cause any tissue damage. 

 

Effective

After a review of successful clinical trials by various applicants in the industry, LLLT has been shown to be effective enough to receive FDA approval for several health concerns including acute and chronic muscle and joint pain of the neck, back and shoulder while increasing range of motion, hand and wrist pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, wound healing, and male pattern hair loss.  Favorable systemic reviews in prestigious peer-review journals have also appeared in recent years; for example, BMJ Sports Medicine Journal found “strong evidence” to support LLLT for pain management in frozen shoulder in 2010 and a review in The Lancet the previous year concluded that, among people with chronic neck pain, “LLLT  reduces pain immediately after treatment … and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment …”.  Other organizations supporting LLLT include The International Association for the Study of Pain, American Physical Therapy Association, and The World Health Organization.

 

Beneficial for a multitude of health concerns

Though LLLT has FDA approval for muscle and joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, wound healing and male pattern hair loss, there are hundreds of studies showing improvements for many other health concerns.  Research showing significant gains from LLLT has been conducted for many ailments and includes:


Cardiovascular:

  • Decreasing total limb volume and extracellular fluid volume in patients with lymphedema induced by cancer therapy
  • Increasing regional cerebral blood flow, cerebral function, and active brain cells in patients with brain infarctions

Dermatological:

  • Stimulating human scalp hair growth in alopecia and hair loss
  • Wound healing of non-healing ulcers (diabetic, radiation-induced, stasis, venous)
  • Wound healing of superficial and acute wounds

Gastrointestinal:

  • Increasing thickness of gastric mucosa and improved gastric acid production while having decreased gastric mucosal inflammation in chronic atrophic gastritis
  • Improving liver function and structure in liver cirrhosis
  • Prevention and treatment of mucositis induced by cancer therapy

Musculoskeletal:

  • Improving recovery time from Achilles tendinopathy
  • Reducing of edema in ankle sprains
  • Enhancing bone repair at the cell and tissue levels
  • Improving grip strength, increased ranges of motion and decreased pain in carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Suppressing muscle spasm in cerebral palsy
  • Delaying onset of muscle fatigue and exhaustion
  • Significant decrease in pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness and tender point numbness in a single-blinded placebo-controlled trial for patients with fibromyalgia from 2002
  • Improving  pain and mobility shown in two-thirds of the fibromyalgia patients from a 1997 study of 846 people, reported in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery
  • Significant improvement in clinical symptoms still documented at 6 month follow-up to treatment in a 2010 study among fibromyalgia patients, demonstrating short-term and long-term effectiveness of treatment
  • Improving patient perception and improved lifting ability in medial and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Decreasing pain and increased range of motion in rheumatoid arthritis

Neurological:

  • Accelerating clinical recovery from Achilles tendinopathy
  • Invigorating neuroprotective signaling pathways by regulating microglial phagocytosis and down-regulating pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, which are pathological changes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Improving memory and diminishing fear in an animal study from 2012 conducted by researchers studying Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment
  • Improving nerve conduction and motor function after axon degeneration and nerve damage
  • A 2012 study concluding that “LLLT could be an effective therapeutic modality in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy in that it is able to modify pain, foot skin micro-circulation and some electrophysiological parameters of peripheral nerve function”
  • Regenerating crushed peripheral nerves when applied directly over the spinal cord
  • Reducing sensory nerve impairment post-dental surgery
  • Improving acoustics in sensorineural hearing loss
  • Improving neuronal metabolism, prevention of neuronal degradation, and improving spinal cord function and repair in deformed and tethered spinal cords
  • Significant improvements in spinal cord conductivity in severe spinal cord and cauda equina injured patients
  • Decreasing loudness and duration in tinnitus and ringing in the ear
  • Neuroprotection, reduction of inflammation, and stimulation of neurogenesis in traumatic brain injury

Pain relief in:

  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Acute pain
  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Medial and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Post-operative pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Respiratory:

·         Improved external respiration function and lowered histamine levels in bronchial asthma

 

Providing documented physiologic benefits

The sizable amount of research performed using LLLT has uncovered many beneficial effects the light therapy has on cells and cellular function.  Below the following documented observations made by scientists and physiologists,  please review the ‘Questions and Answers’ section, which presents some of the theories suggested for the underlying mechanisms of action for LLLT.