Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Therapy

 


What is Laser Therapy and how does it work?

The term L.A.S.E.R means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  Laser therapy is a therapeutic treatment that uses light energy (photons) to decrease swelling, pain, inflammation, and promote healing.  During emission, photons penetrate deeply into damaged cells stimulating activities.  The energy produced promotes cell repair, the release of anti-inflammatory agents, and the transmission of pain relieving signals.  We use a Cutting Edge Class IV Cold Laser at our integrative practice.

What is the difference between hot and cold lasers?

A hot laser is one that is used in surgery. The laser emits wavelengths that are powerful enough to cut and burn skin or tissues.  

A cold laser is typically used for rehabilitative therapies. The laser emits wavelengths that decrease pain and inflammation.  Cold lasers can be used over joints, skin surface, and along muscle bellies with minimal heat produced.  There are, however, stronger Class IV cold lasers that if held in one position for a period of time can induce burns.  The laser we chose and currently use in our integrative practice does NOT pose such a risk.   

What are the most common indications for therapY?

The most common Laser Therapy indications are for general pain and inflammatory relief and muscle spasm/tension.  We typically treat cruciate ligament disease,  intervertebral disc disease, degenerative joint disease or arthritic conditions, and muscular strains/sprains.

What are the benefits?

  • No known side effects
  • Painless and Non-Invasive
  • Drug-free
  • Rapid relief of pain
  • Strong anti-inflammatory effect
  • Timely healing of sprains & strains
  • Rapid resolution of swollen areas
  • Rapid repair of superficial injuries, such as wounds and ulcers

What can I expect during a treatment?

Laser Therapy is a painless treatment that lasts a few minutes.  The laser head is placed over the areas of concern and typically makes direct contact with the skin surface unless wounds are being treated.  Some human patients have stated they feel a comfortable warm sensation in the area being treated while other patients usually don’t feel the laser. There is no pain, heat, redness or swelling during or after treatment.

What can I expect after the treatment?

Most patients experience positive results in 2-4 treatments, with the average course of treatment being 7 to 10 loading sessions. Maintenance sessions follow and are scheduled every 2-4 weeks or as needed.  Acute conditions usually subside quickly, typically within one phase of treatments, and chronic conditions can be controlled with regular maintenance treatments. The effects of Laser Therapy are cumulative; therefore, expect to see improvement as you proceed through your treatment plan. It is critical that once you start, you complete the course of treatments recommended by your doctor or symptoms are likely to reoccur.

How many treatments are usually needed to get results?

Results can often be seen after the first treatment. Most conditions have protocols that range from 6-10 treatments. The treatments are cumulative and are delivered 2-3 times per week for 2-3 weeks.

What are some of the contraindications for therapy lasers?

  • Class IV lasers (used in our practice) can potentially be harmful to the retina, though accidental retinal damage is unlikely. Patient, practitioner, and owner must wear laser safety eyewear appropriate for the wavelength.
  • Do not use laser therapy over a pregnant uterus. It may be used on the pregnant patient as an adjunct to the other modalities.
  • The laser should not be used over the thyroid gland.
  • Laser therapy is contraindicated for patients on certain drugs.  Make sure to discuss which drugs or supplements your pet is taking prior to treatment.