The healing potential and mechanism of action of low level laser therapy: a brief overview
October 8, 2012 The chiropractic profession has always been in the habit of setting new standards for natural approaches to patients health, not following them. Low level laser therapy fits extremely well into the chiropractic model of using various safe, effective, and natural methods to help our patients achieve their optimum function.
A key feature of low level laser therapy that aids well for chiropractors and other natural medicine practitioners is low level laser therapys proven ability to help decrease pain and speed the healing of tissue. A study from the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy of 61 patients presenting with chronic low-back pain concluded that low level laser therapy combined with exercise was more effective long term than exercise alone. The amazing thing about this study is that the patients who had laser therapy were still experiencing significant pain relief 6 weeks after therapy was provided (1).
Decreasing pain is a great benefit for our patients; however, pain is a symptom, and as chiropractors, we pride ourselves at addressing the cause of our patients complaints. It is thought that the low level laser stimulates the targeted cells to increase mitochondrial production of ATP, which speeds healing through increased cellular efficiency and energy (2). In summary, if the mitochondria in your cells are little power plants, low level laser therapy helps increase the output of the power plant. In a paper on PubMed from Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, the authors observed accelerated healing of cutaneous wounds and burns, as well as increased action potential of crushed sciatic nerves on the rats that received low level laser therapy (3). In another study from Laser in Surgery in Medicine, a low level laser was looked at from a microscopic level, and the authors concluded that, 5 J/cm [632.8 nm low level laser] stimulates mitochondrial activity, which leads to normalization of cell function and ultimately stimulates cell proliferation and migration of wonded fibroblasts to accelerate wound closure. (4)
Increasing our patients cellular efficiency and, in turn, healing ability through use of low level laser therapy marriages perfectly with chiropractic care, which aims to do the same through restoring proper posture, biomechanics, and neurological function. If you are considering purchasing a laser, I recommend assessing each company before making a decision, as lasers are a relatively expensive addition to your practice. If you are considering low level laser therapy for a current complaint or just want to try it, I encourage you to do so, because after seeing and feeling the effects, you will start to realize that low level laser is here to stay.
- Sean Miller, DC
At Andolina Chiropractic & Rehab of Woodbridge, we utilize chiropractic cold or low level laser therapy with much success. If you have questions or would like to be treated with laser therapy, contact your Woodbridge Chiropractor at 703-490-8383 or schedule online at www.AndolinaChiropracticRehab.com!