Laser Pain Therapy: Myth and Reality
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about laser pain therapy. We get it! For starters, the technology is a little hard to grasp, and almost seems more like science fiction than a real medical device. Second, there are a lot of different medical lasers out there—some for cutting and surgery, some for pain, some for restoring skin, some for cauterizing wounds. Lasers of varying wavelengths, powers, pulse rates, etc. can have very different effects, and it can be hard to keep them all straight!
Here are some common myths about pain laser therapy, and the corresponding truth.
Laser therapy can’t possibly work, can it?
We sympathize with your skepticism, but it really does! Certain wavelengths and frequencies of light contain photon energy that can be absorbed directly by human cells and converted into useful biomechanical energy. When that light energy is focused and directed by a therapeutic laser, it can reduce inflammation, edema, and pain, as well as accelerate tissue healing and regeneration.
The more powerful the laser, the better.
Not necessarily. Different powers (not to mention wavelengths, pulse rates, and other attributes) have different kinds of effects on the body. For example, the MLS laser we have in our office uses two separate, synchronized beams. The lower power laser is great for fighting inflammation and edema, while the higher power laser is perfect for decreasing pain. It all depends on what you need.
Laser therapy is painful and can cut or damage skin.
Not if you’re using the correct laser! Some medical lasers are used for cutting or ablating tissue—for example, removing a wart or reshaping the cornea of the eye. That’s not what we’re talking about here. A modern therapeutic laser like the one we have in our office will not damage your skin or tissue in any way, and there should be no pain or discomfort during the process. No anesthesia is necessary.
Laser therapy is only a temporary solution for pain.
Analgesic effects of the laser therapy might wear off a bit, but the tissue healing and regeneration is certainly permanent. Moreover, the effects of laser therapy are cumulative, so a treatment course of 5-6 sessions spaced out over a couple of weeks will provide continuous improvement in your symptoms and tissue health.
Laser therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve sick of dealing with chronic pain and swelling and have already tried other treatments without success, laser therapy could be your big break. To learn more, set up an appointment at the Kansas Foot Center by calling (866) 222-5177 today.