Application of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy (Modern Physical Therapy)
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Application of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy (Modern Physical Therapy)

Introduction of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy – New and Advanced Laser Therapy Devices

Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy for Healing and Rehabilitation

The way of physiotherapy is changing with time. Earlier where Physiotherapy was done through physical exercises, now it is treating the patients with electrotherapy devices. Laser therapy in physiotherapy is among the new changes made to the physiotherapy. Laser devices are being used in medical field for procedures like surgeries from more than two decades. Laser treatment for physiotherapy includes laser device with much low intensity of laser beams. These devices are low powered battery operated devices which cannot produce enough energy to cut or burn muscles. Hence they are safe to use. They are so safe that you can suggest laser therapy at home with little instruction set for how to use the device.

Where the earlier methods were very slow and used to give results over months, new and advanced methods are much faster and they also heal the patient within few weeks. It is now imperative for physiotherapists to implement electrotherapy devices in physiotherapy. Laser therapy is mainly used for treatment of pain. It is implemented for healing. At a later stage of fracture treatment, laser therapy is also used for rehabilitation purposes.

Different Kinds of Laser Therapy Devices Used for Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

There are two types of laser therapy devices – Low Level Laser Therapy Device or Low Intensity Laser therapy Device and Infra-red laser therapy devices. Here is a brief description of both the types

Low Level Laser Therapy Devices – Also known as LLLT device is basically used for treatment of soft tissue injuries and skin diseases. This device promotes healing of the tissue with the help of low intensity laser beams. An electromagnetic beam of a size of a pencil with the wavelength of a single frequency is used in Low level laser therapy devices. There is no thermal effect of this device on human body. In fact there is a chemical effect which is called photobioactivation also known as photo chemical reaction. This chemical reaction takes place in blood cells. LLLT device stimulate its therapeutic effect on the body by producing free radicals. To produce radical the LLLT device applies enough energy applicable to initiate chemical change which disturb local electron orbits and disrupts molecular bonds. When the free radicals are produced at the cell membrane, they promote healing and pain relief by controlling the inflammatory response created inside the human body. A low level laser therapy device implements light energy of 600-1000 nm wavelength for tissue healing.

Infrared Laser Therapy Devices – This device is very similar to low level laser therapy device except that it implements infrared light instead of electromagnetic beam for treatment. It is known to scientists from decades that the ultraviolet and infrared lights can cause biological effects on human body. For instance they can kill the recalcitrant cells in the body or improve the flow of blood. Infrared laser therapy is newly developed and implemented in treatment of a number of illness and physical conditions like pain, inflammation and soft tissue injuries.

Uses of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy – Implementation of Devices

Laser therapy is implemented for a number of reasons. It heals tissues, provides pain relief and reduces inflammation. Generally laser therapy is used for soft tissue injuries. However, it can be used for treatment of serious illness problems like skin diseases. Here is a list of conditions treated with the help of laser therapy in physiotherapy

  • Chronic Lower Back Pain
  • Acute or Chronic Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Sprain injuries
  • Spinal Pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Sciatic Pain
  • Knee pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Serious Headaches
  • Minor Injuries
  • Inflammation
  • Aching
  • Skin Rejuvenation
  • Acupuncture
  • Wound Healing

Benefits of Implementation of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

Below are some of the major benefits of treatment from laser therapy devices. These benefits can be seen in the most of the cases.

  • Inflammation is minimized in the area of injury
  • Relief from severe pain in comparatively less time
  • Increased mobility of tissues as the heal
  • Blood flow is increased in the area affected
  • Flow of white blood cells are increased as well
  • Related tissues to the injured area becomes flexible

Negative Side of Laser Therapy

Sometimes a patient can face some side effect for laser therapy in physiotherapy. However, this condition is very rare. The following conditions can occur for one out of thousand cases. Here is a list of side effects faced from a laser treatment

  • Swelling of the treated area
  • Redness of the skin for some days after the treatment
  • Moderate irritation in the affected area
  • Skin burns
  • Scars in the area of treatment
  • Change in pigmentation of the skin color

Time Required for Treatment through Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

Time consumed for Laser therapy Treatment is different for different conditions. It really depends of the kind of injury, amount of pain and other factors. The minimum time required for laser therapy treatment in 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The maximum time can be 15-20 minutes depending on the severity of the condition. Here is a small time table chart for showing the treatment time for laser therapy in physiotherapy.

Condition to be Treated Total Time Required
Mild injury 30 Seconds – 2 minutes
Soft Tissue Pain 30 Seconds – 2 minutes
Wound Healing 30 Seconds – 2 minutes
Neck Pain 2 minutes – 5 minutes
Inflammation 2 minutes – 5 minutes
Knee Pain 2 minutes – 5 minutes
Muscle Spasm 5 minutes – 10 minutes
Sprain 5 minutes – 10 minutes
Arthritis > 10 minutes
Chronic Lower back Pain > 10 minutes

Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy – Passing of Laser Rays through Tissues

Laser beams are just like X-rays. The alpha, beta and gamma rays can infiltrate the skin. Similarly laser electromagnetic beams and infrared lights can also pass the layers of our skin and reach inner tissues. However, laser beams of low intensity are not harmful like the X-rays. It is this property of Laser beams which enables them for treatment in physiotherapy. When laser beams enter the skin they reach the deepest tissues. However, the most damaged or injured tissues start receiving from the healing property of laser light. When laser rays pass through our human body they increase the blood flow and presence of white blood cells. This property heals injuries faster ad reduce the pain. The inflammation is reduced due to the photo chemical effects of laser beam.

Preparation for Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

Laser therapy affects the flow of blood in the body. That is why it is necessary that your blood flow is trouble free. The patients who are taking laser therapy are advised to avoid any medication that may affect blood clotting. Some medicines are used to thin the blood. It is a must to avoid such medication a few days before the laser therapy. Consulting the physician before cutting on the such a medicine is a must.

Laser devices

Where to Avoid Therapy or Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

Laser therapy is a very safe therapy procedure. No harmful event has been reported since the use of laser therapy devices. However, there are some cases where it might not be advisable to take the risk. These are sensitive patients who may fall for some unforeseen side effects. Following cases must be avoided by the therapist for providing laser therapy.

  • Laser therapy must be avoided with a pregnant woman especially near the womb
  • Near the chest area of a heart patient (especially when the patient has a pacemaker device)
  • Laser therapy must be avoided strictly over a burned skin as it may increase the pain
  • Patients with very high blood pressure as one of the functions of laser therapy is to increase the blood flow
  • With mentally retarded patients as they may fail to report any unwanted advances due to the laser treatment

Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy – A Word of Caution

Laser therapy is much used by the therapists for healing pain and treatment of injuries. It also frees the patient from the cycle of drugs taken other wise to heal from pain. But, too much of anything can be bad. Laser therapy is also one of those good things. Too much of the treatment can be harmful for the patient. Thus, the therapist must strictly follow the guidelines given for treatment. After all it is laser beams which we are sending inside the body. It is beneficial only if a controlled amount of rays enter the body. It might take a few extra weeks for treatment, but in any case the time for device application should not exceed the given criteria.

Outcome of Implementation of Laser Therapy in Physiotherapy

Laser therapy is a comparatively new field of treatment. There is not enough data to suggest the outcomes of laser therapy in physiotherapy. However, researches are going on. Daily new and safe experiments are being carried on the patients to see the results. So far there has not been any bad incident reported. No harm has been caused by the use of laser therapy over the patients. By the data we have till now, we can say with confidence that laser therapy is beneficial for the patient. The patients heal much faster compare to the old exercises of physiotherapy. The need for drugs is also reduced to a great extent after the use of laser therapy. Laser therapy is a scientific approach for treatment which is known to the medical community from decades. It is as safe as older methods.