Introduction of laser therapy
In laser therapy, laser is used to generate photochemical response in damaged tissue for reduction of pain, inflammation and to accelerate tissue healing and recovery.
Laser therapy is used in wide range of conditions, it is used in acute as well as chronic conditions. It increases the oxygenation of tissue and helps to speed up tissue healing.
Physical characteristics of laser
There are three main characteristics of laser.
- Monochromaticity ( single coloured )
- Collimation ( Parallel, no divergence )
- Coherence ( Troughs and peaks are all same in space and time )
Types of lasers
- Ruby laser – Emission of red light at wavelength of 694.3 nm.
- He-Ne (Helium-Neon) laser – Emits red light at a wavelength of 633 nm.
- Infrared lasers – Emits infrared radiation at a wavelength of 830 nm.
- Super luminous Diodes – Monochromatic, collimated but not coherent. It is not a strict laser.
Classification of lasers
There different types of lasers are divided into different classes as per their power and effects.
- Class 1 – Low power lasers less then 0.5 mW.
- Class 2 – 1 mW output.
- Class 3 – Mid power laser
- 3A – power output upto 5 mW.
- 3B – power output upto 500 mW.
- Class 4 and 5 – Power output more then 500 mW.
Benefits of laser therapy
Wound healing – Laser is very much helpful in wound healing process, here it accelerate all three phases of wound healing.
Example – Surgical wound, pressure ulcers.
Arthritic conditions – Benefits of laser therapy seen in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and atherogenic pain. It helps in reduction of pain and improve the function.
Example – Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.
Musculoskeletal disorders – It is used in treatment of soft tissues. Helps in reduction of pain and improve health in chronic joint disorders such as spine disorders, patellofemoral pain and osteoarthritis.
Example – lateral epicondylitis, myofascial pain.
Pain relief – Effectiveness of Laser therapy in pain relief is very much helpful, low level laser therapy is useful in production of analgesic effect.
Example – Myofascial trigger points, carpal tunnel syndrome.
Edema relief – It is not primerly used for edema relief but according to a study it is finded that relief from edema is also one effect of laser therapy.
Example – Edema in knee joint following ACL injury.
Nerve injury – Benefits of laser therapy in nerve injuries are increasing in nerve conduction velocity and also the promotion of nerve regeneration.
Example – Peripheral nerve injuries.
Benefits of class 4 laser
- Increases body blood circulation
- Increases collagen formation
- Increases B and T lymphocytes count
- Reduces inflammation and swelling
- Enhance wound healing process
- Kills pathogens without affecting healthy cells around affected tissue
- Activates and enhance the white blood cells activity.
Contraindications and precautions of laser therapy
There are some contraindications ( should not use laser therapy in following conditions) and precautions ( should use this therapy with care in following conditions)
- Should not use in patients with active or suspected carcinoma (cancer).
- Should not use this therapy atleast for 6 month after radiotherapy.
- Should not use this therapy in bleeding areas (areas of hemorrhage).
- Should not applied over endocrine glands (It may alter the functions of system)
- It should not be given directly over pregnant uterus.
- Patients who uses pacemaker should be avoided.
- Patients with anaesthetic skin should not be treated.
- Patients who uses steroids or photosensitive drugs should not be treated with laser therapy.
- Epiphyseal lines in children
- Confused or disoriented patients
- Areas of decreased sensation
- Infected tissues
- Vagus nerve or cardiac region in patients with heart diseases.
This is short and simple discussion about what is laser therapy – benefits, types, uses, side effects, contraindications and precautions.
If you find any doubt in any topic then please feel free to contact us. If you are interested in this field or want to know more about Physiotherapy then please read all our physiotherapy related articles, we mention almost everything related to physical therapy.