Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been used for over 40 years to reduce inflammation & oedema, induce pain relief and to promote healing in a variety of musculoskeletal and medical conditions. Low Level Laser Therapy, sometimes known as Low Level Light Therapy or Photobiomodulation, is a type of low intensity light therapy.
How does it work?
LLLT uses the application of light via certain wavelengths to penetrate the skin and soft tissue to produce a photochemical reaction at a cellular level. This laser light is absorbed by the cells, which is then converted into energy to help with cell repair, reduce inflammation and accelerate tissue regeneration. LLLT does not emit heat, sound or vibration. Treatment is often conducted by placing the laser head in direct contact with the skin, directly over the area needing treatment or injury or lymph nodes.
Benefits of laser
Reduced oedema or swelling
Improved blood circulation
Reduced post injury or surgery recovery time
Laser is a completely safe and non-invasive technique that can be used in conjunction with other treatment methods such as physiotherapy or massage etc. It is a quick acting, evidence based drug free treatment method.
Four areas LLLT can be applied:
The site of the injury
Promotes healing, modelling and reduces inflammation
The lymph nodes
Reduces oedema and inflammation
Induces pain relief
The muscle trigger point
Reduces tenderness and relax contracted muscle fibres
What can it be used for?
Lymphoedema and swelling
Musculoskeletal conditions e.g. sciatica, plantar fasciitis,
neck or back pain, muscle sprains or strains, bursitis
Axillary Web Syndrome/Cording
How frequently should it be used?
The time and frequency of the treatment will depend on the type of injury and its severity. Treatment can range from one short treatment session lasting a few minutes up to many several treatments of longer duration.
Some patients may notice an improvement in their symptoms straight away. LLLT also has a cumulative effect with many patients noticing their condition improving with each session.
Is it safe to use?
LLLT has few side effects and is well tolerated by a variety of clients including elderly and palliative.
Since LLLT uses light rather than heat to treat the condition, it does not cause burns, nor does it raise the temperature of the skin.
When is laser not appropriate?
It is recommended that LLLT beams should not be aimed into the eyes.
LLLT should not be used directly over the site of active cancer unless the patient is undergoing cancer treatment e.g. chemotherapy/radiotherapy. It may however be considered in assisting terminally ill cancer patients with palliative/symptom relief.
LLLT should not be used directly over a developing fetus. LLLT however is safe to use over other areas of the body.
LLLT may trigger a seizure in photosensitive, epileptic patients. Care should be taken when treating patients with an epileptic background.
What evidence is there for the use of laser?
LLLT has been shown to be beneficial for many conditions by providing pain relief, accelerating the body's ability to heal itself, reducing inflammation and oedema and also reducing scarring and fibrosis.
Here is a list of some clinical trials and research papers proving the effectiveness of LLLT:
At Equilibrium Physiotherapy we have two RianCorp LTU-904 Portable Laser Therapy Units. These units are backed by clinical trials (see above). The LTU-904 is the ONLY laser device cleared by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lymphoedema treatment. The LTU models are Class 1 lasers and therefore there are no eye-safe requirements for patients and clinicians. The LTU-904 is registered with the Australian Therapeutic Goods and Administration and meets all required standards.
Here is video showing the use of laser after breast cancer surgery, as taken from the Riancorp website
Our physiotherapists are trained to recognise, assess and treat patients that are suffering from vertigo from a vestibular origin such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuronitis/labyrinthitis and following acoustic neuroma resection.