Low Level Light Therapy (aka Cold Laser)

July 29th, 2011

Physicians of all backgrounds throughout time have recognized the healing power of light.  Things like the implementation of sun rooms in hospitals to personal light boxes have been used to effectively treat diseases from tuberculosis to depression.  New technologies have been developed over the years to harness the power of different wavelengths of light to achieve different therapeutic results.  Which brings us to Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT or ‘cold’ laser).

These lasers typically have an output wavelength of 600-1000 nanometers which places them towards the end of visible red light to invisible infrared light.  If you’re having trouble conceptualizing, it’s easy to just think of these as high powered laser pointers (which essentially they are).  The only difference is the wattage, which is the amount of energy that the light comes out with.  For comparisons sake a typical laser (not this) pointer outputs somewhere in the range of 5 milliwatts (mW), where as a typical therapeutic laser outputs at 1000 mW!

Light with these properties has the ability to penetrate tissues up to a depth of 3-5 cm and alters cellular production of inflammatory chemicals as well as promoting the disposal of metabolic waste products that cause pain.  This is achieved much in the same manner that sunlight stimulates the cellular production of vitamin D., which while interesting, is a very complex mechanism that most people would rather not spend their day reading about.

With the nearly infinite combination of laser wavelength and power combinations and differing ideas on ideal treatment times for any number of conditions it’s no surprise that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of LLLT.  In cases like these we are taught to rely on clinical judgment and experience.  Personally I have had a lot of success treating patients with cold laser with a variety of ailments.

So if you live in Denver and suffer from acute or chronic pain, or have questions on how cold laser can help make an appointment with a chiropractor like myself who is trained in the application of this versatle modality and get on the road to recovery!  If you live farther out then check out the ACA’s search page to find a chiropractor in your area.

Be well.